The first annual Montgomery Township Environmental Awards program has recognized three persons and three organizations for their outstanding sustainability accomplishments in 2021. The Township’s Environmental Commission developed these awards to recognize work protecting our air, water, natural landscape, as well as environmental outreach and education efforts in our community.
“This awards program brings recognition to the unsung heroes in town whose efforts help sustain a healthy environment for all of us. There is notable progress being achieved through the quiet, hard work of our residents, nonprofits, and businesses. Congratulations and keep it up!” said Environmental Commission Chairperson Mary Reece.
Montgomery Township was able to meet Silver Level Certification in the Sustainable Jersey program for the first time ever in 2021, having been a bronze certificate holder since 2009.
Montgomery Environmental Awards winners by category, with summary of their work, are:
Annabelle Wang (category: Water Resources) for her advocacy work in educating the public about clean water through articles that this high school student wrote for the Montgomery News, and a video she created for World Water Day.
Montgomery Friends of Open Space (category: Environmental Education) for their efforts in hosting educational events like ‘First Sundays in the Park’, and providing for educational displays/info at their weekly Farmers Market Saturday mornings at Village Shopper III, Skillman. Pictured (l to r) with their award are volunteer MFOS Board member & Volunteer Coordinator Amy Felsher, Farmer’s Market Manager Lorette Pruden, MFOS Bd. President Jack Roberts, and Bd. Member/Outreach Coordinator Leslie Brecknell.
Technician X (category: Healthy & Sustainable Business) for providing electronics and toner recycling, ensuring materials are disposed of properly (longtime Earth Day Fair partner). Pictured above, Technician X Owner Allison Rush.
Kevin Burkman (category: Landowner of the Year) for his work to plant and maintain a robust garden and landscaping with over 100 different native species in his yard, creating an oasis for pollinators and vigilantly protecting plants from the ever-present destructive browsing by deer.
Princeton Volkswagen Dealership (category: Climate Change and Clean Air) for installing a publicly-accessible electric vehicle charging station, which will also encourage other businesses to do so, thereby reducing EV “range anxiety” and increasing feasibility for vehicle owners. In 2019, transportation accounted for the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the “Inventory of US Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks”, and the US EPA estimates that the average passenger vehicle emits 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.
Donato Nieman (category: Municipal Advocate) for his work over the past 20+ years as Township Administrator to support forward-thinking environmental policies and municipal operating practices. Pictured above: Environmental Commission Chair Mary Reece congratulates Township Administrator Donato Nieman at the historic Mill Pond.
A formal awards ceremony recognizing each recipient took place on December 16. Montgomery Mayor Devra Keenan praised each award recipient for their outstanding work, as well as Ms. Reece and the Environmental Commission for launching this new program. Ms. Reece credited Frank Derby, a long time Environmental Commission/Sustainable Montgomery member, with envisioning the new awards. Mr. Derby is also a primary organizer of Montgomery’s Earth Day Recycling Fair each year.
Any resident can nominate an environmental champion for an award. Watch out for a 2022 nominations solicitation release by this summer. Nomination and judging criteria may be found on the Env. Awards page of the Montgomery Earth Day Fair website