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Posted Sunday, January 13th, 2019

Sandy Urgo, a former Roxbury mayor and councilwoman, has been named as one of the Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards recipients for 2018. She was one of 11 honorees from across the state recognized for environmental stewardship during a recent awards program held at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton.

Sandy Urgo of Roxbury at holds her state award

Sandy Urgo of Roxbury at holds her state award

Among honorees were an urban group that promotes use of electric vehicles and charging stations; an organization that works to restore water quality and reduce flooding in highly developed areas of the Barnegat Bay Watershed; and a group that provides nonprofits with leftover office supplies and furniture from downsizing companies, instead of sending the items to landfills.

Honors included the first Richard J. Sullivan Award, given in memory of the DEP’s first Commissioner and awarded to Canace Ashmun of Basking Ridge.

“This year’s winners exemplify New Jersey’s strong commitment to protecting the environment and following practices that will help us fight climate change and sea-level rise, while also improving flooding resiliency around the state,” said state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe.


Land Conservation
Sandy Urgo
Sandy has led the land preservation program at The Land Conservancy of New Jersey for more than 15 years, helping to preserve more than 22,000 acres of land throughout the state. Sandy also has had many public service roles in Roxbury Township. In addition to serving as mayor, she has served on the township council, planning board, open space committee and environmental commission. Her dedication to local public service preserved thousands of acres in Roxbury and established one of the first open space committees in the state.

Richard J. Sullivan Award
Candace McKee Ashmun of Basking Ridge received the Richard J. Sullivan award for more than six decades of service to environmental protection and conservation throughout New Jersey. Among her many accomplishments, she is a founding member of the Pinelands Commission, served as a trustee for the Coalition for Affordable Housing and the Environment, and for the Highlands Coalition. She also served as executive director and was a three-term president of the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions, which she helped establish.

Clean AirRoxbury Resident and Former Mayor Wins Statewide Environmental Award
Greenspot goes to new areas to install electric vehicle charging stations in publicly accessible parking spots and then pairs the infrastructure with an electric shared mobility program. The combination of efforts means those with electric vehicles have an additional location for charging, and those without electric vehicles can access one through Greenspot’s shared mobility program.

Water Resources
American Littoral Society
With funding from the DEP and several governmental and community partners, the American Littoral Society in 2017 designed and built a series of nonpoint source reduction and green infrastructure projects, along with stormwater basin prioritization and retrofits, within the Long Swamp Creek and Lower Toms River sub-watersheds of Barnegat Bay. These initiatives help manage stormwater, protect and restore water quality, and reduce flooding in highly developed areas.

Healthy Ecosystems & Habitats
American Littoral Society
The American Littoral Society and its partners constructed a 600-foot-long secondary box culvert in 2016 to improve fish passage from the Atlantic Ocean to Wreck Pond in Monmouth County, water quality, and reduce flooding risk. A program established after the culvert’s construction is ongoing through 2021 to monitor fish, birds, water quality, tide elevation and riparian habitat.

Innovative Technology
New Jersey American Water
This water company has developed partnerships to promote solutions for controlling water losses by deploying an innovative leak monitoring system to enhance water security for the state, provide customers with better water service and save money for ratepayers. New Jersey American Water’s efforts working with leak management technology providers has resulted in a constructive partnership, developed solutions being implemented across New Jersey and provide a model to other water systems across the nation.

Healthy & Sustainable BusinessesRoxbury Resident and Former Mayor Wins Statewide Environmental Award
Pioneers, Chapter 99 and Ericsson
The Pioneers group partnered with telecommunications company Ericsson for a furniture giveaway that donated 110 tons of office furniture destined for landfills to 55 nonprofit agencies instead. The idea grew from a time when Ericsson and iconectiv, another telecommunications firm, each changed their workplaces to an open-space environment, eliminating the need for walls, file cabinets and desks with drawers.

Healthy & Sustainable Communities
Sustainable Downbeach and Surfrider Foundation, South Jersey Chapter
Sustainable Downbeach and the South Jersey Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation partnered with residents, officials and organizations in Atlantic City, Longport, Margate and Ventnor to raise awareness of plastic marine litter and help ensure long-term protection of New Jersey’s coastline and marine life.

Environmental Education (Educator-led)
New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance
The Alliance has offered recommendations for evidence-based climate-change and resilience policies, convened stakeholders to build consensus-based models, developed decision support tools in use by communities and produced extensive outreach and educational material.

Environmental Education (Student-Led)
Puja Vengadasalam
Puja Vengadasalam, 15, created an EcoCamp project to help teenagers become lifelong environmental stewards by advocating for protection of natural resources while developing communication skills and meeting public officials. The two-week camp held in June at the South Plainfield library in Middlesex County used the educational approach of of Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics methods to focus on the environment.

Also, Raritan Valley Community College in Somerset County, received a Certificate of Recognition for its performance in the annual New Jersey Charging Challenge. The school installed two dual-port Level 2 charging stations in its primary parking lot. College staff also conducted outreach activities related to the new charging stations, circulating emails about the stations to all students and employees, and posting information about electric vehicles at the college’s website for campus transportation services.