Eight individuals and organizations received Sustainable Raritan River Awards at the 8th Annual Sustainable Raritan Conference and Awards Ceremony at Rutgers’ Douglass Student Center on Friday, June 10, 2016.
“The purpose of these awards is to recognize some of the more creative and impressive accomplishments by genuine leaders throughout the Raritan Watershed,” said Michael Catania, Executive Director of Duke Farms Foundation and a member of the Sustainable Raritan Awards Committee.
Each year at its Annual Conference, the Sustainable Raritan River Collaborative and the Sustainable Raritan River Initiative give awards to recognize outstanding achievement in efforts to revitalize, restore and protect the Raritan resources and promote the area as a premiere place to live, work and raise a family.
The Sustainable Raritan Awards were established in 2010 to promote innovation and energize local efforts to restore and protect the rivers, streams and habitat of the Raritan River and Bay. There were originally six categories of awards: Government Innovation, Leadership, Public Access, Public Education, Remediation and Redevelopment, and Stewardship. Due to the breadth of nominees, additional awards have been added over the years. The awards have highlighted extraordinary accomplishments and inspired other groups across the watershed to achieve comparable levels of excellence; 2016 was no exception.
Debbie Mans, Baykeeper and Executive Director of the NY/NJ Baykeeper – also a member of the Awards Committee – noted, “Given the level of dedication and range of activities by so many people this past year, it was both a pleasure and a challenge to select winners.”
The 2016 Sustainable Raritan Award recipients and their awards are:
- Government Innovation Award – Somerset County Green Leadership Hub
- Leadership Award – Bill Schultz, Raritan Riverkeeper
- Leadership Award – Candace Ashmun
- Public Education Award – Dr. Chris Obropta and the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program Team
- Public Education Award – Eric Zwerling
- Public Access Award – New Jersey Conservation Foundation
- Sustainability Award – Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association’s Watershed Center for Environmental Advocacy, Science and Education
- Stewardship Award – Beth Davisson and Larry Jacobs
- Non-Profit Innovation Award – New Jersey Highlands Coalition’s Small Grants Program
Bill Kibler, Director of Policy for the Raritan Headwaters and a member of the Awards Committee said, “We noted this year that there has been an increase in citizen involvement in projects throughout the watershed, and we received several nominations for these actions, which did not fit neatly into the existing award categories. So, beginning in 2017, we will add a new award category – Citizen Action – in order to encourage and recognize these types of individual commitments to projects such as stream clean ups, water quality monitoring, and similar critical citizen actions.”
The Awards Committee for this year’s awards included, Michael Catania, Executive Director of the Duke Farms Foundation, William Kibler, Director of Policy for the Raritan Headwaters, and Debbie Mans, Baykeeper and Executive Director of the NY/NJ Baykeeper. All three of the organizations that they represent are members of the Sustainable Raritan River Collaborative. Michael and Debbie also serve on the Steering Committee for the Sustainable Raritan River Initiative.
To learn more about the Sustainable Raritan Awards visit our awards page at http://raritan.rutgers.edu/about/raritan-awards/ or to see descriptions of our Award recipient’s accomplishments click on this link.
Photo from left to right. Front row: Walter Lane and Tara Kenyon of Somerset County Planning Division; Jim Waltman and Kate Hutelmyer of Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association; Bill Schultz, Raritan Riverkeeper; Rosana Da Silva and Chris Obropta of Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program; Julia Somers of the Highlands Coalition; Larry Jacobs and Beth Davisson; Eric Zwerling. Second row: Cody Obropta, Maithreyi Thukaram, Dominick Cardella, Tyler Obropta, Adam Cucchiara, Kaylene Campbell, Tekla Pontius-Courtney with Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program. Third row: Brittany Musolino, Erin Stretz and Mike Pisauro of Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association; Debbie Mans; Bill Kibler; Michael Catania. Not shown: Candace Ashmun. Photo credit: Nick Romanenko, ©2016 Rutgers University.