Each year Sustainable Jersey presents awards in five categories: Sustainability Champion, Leadership, Creativity & Innovation, Collaboration, and Rookie of the Year. Award winners are selected from the municipalities that were certified or recertified in the designated award year.
Use the links below to navigate to see the award winners for the special award categories:
The Sustainability Champion award recognizes municipalities that have scored the most points in the Sustainable Jersey certification program in three population categories.
New for 2016! This award recognizes a newly certified municipality that overcame challenges by effectively leveraging a wide range of internal and external resources to achieve success.
This award recognizes an individual who is a driving force behind moving the Sustainable Jersey program forward at the local level and statewide.
This year Sustainable Jersey renamed the Leadership Award to recognize our friend Mayor Art Ondish; he was a true leader and an original member of the visionary mayors who founded the Sustainable Jersey program. Caroline Ehrlich, serves as treasurer on the Sustainable Jersey Board and is the chief of staff to Woodbridge Township Mayor John E. McCormac and executive director of the Woodbridge Township Redevelopment Agency. Caroline Ehrlich leads the Sustainable Jersey Certification Standards Committee, and she spearheaded efforts to designate Woodbridge Township a Sustainable Jersey community and was instrumental in creating the Greenable Woodbridge program. Under Caroline Ehrlich’s leadership, Woodbridge Township received a 3-STAR Community Rating for national leadership in sustainability—a designation that places Woodbridge among the top sustainable cities and communities in the nation. Woodbridge Township has received the Sustainable Jersey Sustainable Champion award seven times for achieving the most certification points and has been certified at the silver-level certification for seven years.
The Township of Ocean is striving for a greener future and improving the community's resiliency is a major focus. As a bayfront community, Ocean Township was affected by Superstorm Sandy with homes, infrastructure, and parks being damaged. The town adopted a 2015 Township of Ocean Floodplain Management Plan that identifies and assesses flood hazards within the Township of Ocean, establishes goals and objectives for floodplain management, and presents a series of actions designed to minimize flooding and migrate the impacts from flooding in the future. The township is committed to improving resiliency, implementing public outreach and educational events, offering convenient methods for recycling, protecting the environment and wildlife, while building healthier ways of travel with pedestrian walkways and bicycle paths.
Princeton has strong commitment and dedication to community education and outreach initiatives within their town. A variety of events, such as the Great Ideas Breakfasts, Sustainable Leadership Awards, and regular use of social media and website announcements keep residents informed and engaged in sustainability initiatives in the town.
Galloway Township is a role model for towns. It has been an early adopter in the Sustainable Jersey program, demonstrating commitment and leadership by developing innovative waste reduction programs, fostering collaboration with local organizations and neighboring towns, and providing inspiration, mentoring, support and leadership to advance sustainability.
Leadership of Mayor and Council in developing the State’s first Energy Master Plan for a municipal government, a Companion Animal Management Plan, energy related actions in their community and development section of the Sustainable Gloucester website. The Energy Master Plan (EMP), initiated in 2011, describes the current state of the Township's energy usage as well as short-term and a long-term plan on how to decrease its energy consumption and increase its clean energy production, overall reducing the Township's carbon footprint. In addition, the Township of Gloucester’s Mayor’s Sustainable Community task force was formed in 2012 in order to pioneer a Green Master Plan that will be followed over the next several years to make Gloucester Township a more sustainable living and working environment.
Hoboken showed great leadership and political will by implementing creative strategies to address critical mobility issues in Hoboken. Instead of increasing parking supply as community leaders have done for decades, the current administration is supporting more sustainable activities through the development of a laudable complete streets plan as well as programs to alleviate the parking crisis. By providing incentives for residents to surrender parking permits and offering alternatives in the form of “corner cars” for public use, Hoboken is encouraging and enabling sustainable transportation.
In addition to being the Co-Chair of the Mayors’ Committee for A Green Future, Pam Mount is a Councilwoman in Lawrence Township, has served as Mayor in 2001 and 2005, is a trustee in Sustainable Jersey, a volunteer on many community Boards, an active participant on several Sustainable Communities’ Working Groups Taskforces, and the owner of Terhune Orchards. She is active in many town concerns including land preservation, open space, environmental resource protection, affordable housing, business development, land use and redevelopment, transportation/traffic issues, and arts, cultural and historic activities. Pam founded the Lawrence Community Foundation and served as its Chair for three years in which she lead a conservation meeting that sparked so much interest that she and others have started a town-wide 'Sustainable Lawrence' effort using the "Natural Steps" process.
Maplewood has long been in the forefront of environmental initiatives, with its public jitney service provided to residents since the 1990s, its 2006 Climate Action Plan, a highly successful annual Green Day Fair that attracts thousands of people from throughout the region, and its LEED certified police and court building featuring solar panels. The Leadership Award recognizes the town’s exemplary programs as well as the tireless dedication of Fred Profeta, Jr. that served as a Sustainable Jersey Partner, Maplewood’s Deputy Mayor for the Environment, and the Chair of the New Jersey League of Municipalities Mayors Committee for a Green Future (MCGF).
This award recognizes a forward-thinking municipality that supports a culture of creativity and innovation as it implements new approaches to solving problems or develops community and social capital to pursue sustainability initiatives.
This year, Longport Borough enacted New Jersey’s first single-use bag fee ordinance. The 10-cent fee imposed on all single-use bags is not punitive in nature. The monies charged are kept by the businesses providing the bags, so it is not a tax. The additional fee’s true purpose is to raise awareness and encourage the public to bring a reusable bag.
New Brunswick is being recognized for its New Brunswick Clean City Block Captain program that engages neighborhoods through community involvement. All residents are encouraged to become Clean City Block Captains. Captains conduct mini clean-ups on their block and educate neighbors about the importance of keeping their block clean. This grass roots effort keeps litter off the streets and builds community bonds block by block. The City provides Block Captains with bags, gloves, educational materials in both English and Spanish along with technical support. Block Captains also promote the City's "Stop. Think. Go Green -- Keep New Brunswick Clean" slogan which encourages people to use trash receptacles and recycle.
The Warren Township Utility Committee (WTUC), in collaboration with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rutgers University, developed a mobile Hazard Tracker App, in response to the devastating destruction of the utility infrastructure in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Irene, and the October 2012 snowstorms. The mobile Hazard Tracker App proactively identifies utility hazards as an emergency management tool prior to the arrival of a significant weather-related event, potentially saving trees at risk. This app can be used by other municipalities to become a more resilient community.
The City of Rahway was chosen for this award for their work to connect arts, economic development, creativity and sustainability into their community. Last January in partnership with Creative New Jersey, they convened a diverse group of 75 community members at a two day event to explore opportunities to create a thriving community. Rahway is also working to integrate green building initiatives into redevelopment projects. For example, the Hamilton Stage for the Performing Arts was a deteriorated industrial building that was redesigned and renovated into a state of the art performance space. Rahway also worked with the County to convert a County Bridge to a footbridge and walking path, which encourages people to walk into the downtown, bolstering the economy of the city.
Harrington Park was recognized for involving students in environmental education and sustainability through retreats, active clubs, and initiatives. The school administration is also promoting recycling, working toward increased energy efficiency, and planning a comprehensive school waste program that will involve the students.
Princeton Township is the first town in New Jersey to test curbside food waste collection for composting. Operated by the Township Recycling coordinator, the innovative program included 193 homes and will expand to include not only Princeton Borough but also neighboring towns that would like to receive organic collection. Information is shared via websites, articles, and advertisements; in 2011, 10 tons of organic material was diverted from the landfill.
Galloway: Galloway’s taskforce for Sustainable Galloway, Go Green Galloway, took the opportunity to educate the public about the environmental dangers of single-use bags with a spirited program in which they distributed reusable shopping bags that fold into their own pouch. More than 1,100 bags have been distributed and 900 pledges collected. The local high school media class and local businesses were involved in the initiative through a new annual contest, which aims to create an advertising campaign for the project, including local radio spots and print ads, exhibiting creativity as well as collaboration with the entire community.
Livingston: During 2009-2010, Livingston had a continuing wave of events and communications about water conservation, including fix-a-leak week, the distribution of rain gauges, a workshop on building a rain garden and the building of a municipal rain garden, retrofitting of old plumbing fixtures at a building used year-round for recreational programs and alternative school, and ending with a well-publicized and well-attended Build a Rain Barrel workshop. In addition, On December 15, 2008 the Livingston Township Council adopted a municipal recycling ordinance that mandates recycling of computers and other electronics. This new program helped to reduce the volume of material that flows into the solid waste stream, reduce tipping fees, and increase the amount of materials being recycled and reused.
Cherry Hill pioneered RecycleBank, a recycling program that enlists citizens and local businesses to help increase the township’s recycling by weighing and tracking it. For every pound of waste residents recycle, they are rewarded with points that can be used to shop at local and national businesses. The municipality saves money on solid waste pick-up by reducing waste, community awareness about recycling increases and local businesses receive increased business from residents. With this program Cherry Hill increased recycling an amazing 80% in the first six months of the program.
This award recognizes a municipal green team that has advanced sustainability by building strong partnerships that could include the school district; other municipalities; local, county, state and federal agencies; external organizations; and/or new constituencies.
The Maplewood-Millburn-South Orange Green Teams meet monthly to work on collaborative projects. Two successful projects launched are worth noting: the Re:Yard program recognizes lawns, gardens and yards for being sustainable and reducing the environmental impacts from standard yard care. The volunteer-led green teams developed a visible local movement to give residents better choices for yards and gardens. To receive re:Yard certification, a yard earns points by satisfying requirements within the re:Yard guidelines. The second program is the Essex Community Energy campaign which helps community members reduce their carbon footprint by learning about energy audits and the incentives available to them to upgrade insulation and replace inefficient heating and cooling equipment. Both programs involved multiple community events, websites and social media outreach that resulted in impressive participation rates in all three towns.
The Park Ridge Green Team's goal is to make their part of the world more environmentally responsible through education, engagement, partnerships and action. The group has an exemplary history of successful collaborations that move sustainability actions forward. The municipal green team partnered with the school district, principals and PTO's to implement a comprehensive recycling program. The green team also partnered with various borough groups and regional organizations to develop and implement its sustainability initiatives and programs. Partnership examples include: 1) the annual stream monitoring program with the NJDEP Watershed Ambassador/Hackensack Riverkeeper and Park Ridge High School Environmental Science students, 2) a comprehensive Wildlife Interaction Plan with the Park Ridge DPW, the Borough Planner and various non-profits, 3) the annual regional Bi-State Watershed Cleanup with United Water, Keep Rockland Beautiful, other green teams and towns in both NY and NJ, 4) working with the high school art students to create artwork for the rain garden sign and 5) several Eagle Scout projects for park improvements, new water refill stations and a new monarch educational gardens at each school.
Hightstown and West Windsor have an interlocal agreement to share health care services. As part of this agreement, the towns' health department informs residents about the safe disposal of prescription drugs through a variety of educational and outreach materials, and provides a centralized drop off site at the West Windsor Police Station. Introduced as a new action in January 2014, to help keep harmful drugs out of the waste stream, the Prescription Drug Safety and Disposal action is one of 11 Sustainable Jersey priority actions, and Hightstown is one of 39 municipalities certified and approved for this action.
The Maplewood, Millburn and South Orange Green Team leadership meet monthly to coordinate their Sustainable Jersey applications and overall sustainability programs. The collaboration has resulted in all three towns being recertified and increased community participation and support for environmental initiatives through successful events like the 3-Town Rahway River Clean Up, an Environmental Movie Series, a Green Day Fair and Water Conservation Drip-Irrigation demonstration events. Events and educational campaigns are now coordinated across three towns which has saved resources, increased political green power and assured greater awareness and impact of the issues.
The City of Camden worked with an amazing collection of community partners as well as the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority to successfully complete their Sustainable Jersey application. Organizations on their Green Team represent such diverse groups as Tree Foundation, Cooper University Hospital, The Citizens’ Campaign, NJ Conservation Foundation, etc. who met monthly to successfully link and leverage the good works going on in the community organizations.
In partnership with several entities, Jersey City is actively addressing food system issues by amending ordinances to allow local food production and sales, establishing and promoting a community gardening program, developing a demonstration rain garden, and supporting the school gardening program. The Adopt a Lot program, which allows residents to use public land for gardening, is a partnership between the City, City Green, and the Jersey City Moms Association. The City Planning Department along with the Washington Park Association, NJCU Youth Corps, and Green Collar Futures developed the Permaculture Learning Garden. Finally, Jersey City has partnered with the non-profit organization CityGreen to continue and expand the successful school gardening program.
In order to develop collaborative green initiatives and partner on projects in the Hopewell valley, Hopewell Township partnered with Hopewell borough and Pennington Borough to create a Hopewell Valley Green Future Taskforce. The Taskforce is comprised of multiple representatives from each Hopewell Valley municipality and meets quarterly to address an array of environmental and sustainability issues, including alternative energy options, recycling, and educational programs to increase public awareness of green initiatives.
The Township Environmental Commission, the Borough Green Initiatives Committee and volunteers across the two towns came together to put on the Green Fair of the Chathams, the Farmers Market, the Anti-Idling Campaign as well as many other programs. All were successful beyond expectation.