BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – The spotlight was on Valerie Diamond Wednesday night, May 29, when she was honored by the mayor and council for founding “Val’s Valiants,” a group of volunteers whose mission it is to find and pick up litter at different locations in the township.

Not one to rest on her laurels, she and Val Valiants will be cleaning up Lower Columbia Park from 4-5:30 p.m. today, Friday, May 31. Volunteers of all ages are welcome.

During the group’s first clean up in the Spring of 2017, her freshman year at Governor Livingston High School, 65 pounds of litter was collected from a three-tenths of a mile stretch of Watchung Way, next to the Green Brook.

Sign Up for E-News

In 2018, Val’s Valiants partnered with the Berkeley Heights Environmental Commission and invited residents to join in the clean-ups. The group held nine litter clean-ups in various locations, with volunteers from Scout Pack 368, and student volunteers from The College of NJ, to collect some 592 pounds of litter.

In 2019, the group which is now aligned with additional partners - the Downtown Beautification Committee, Innovation and Sustainability Alliance, Girl Scout Troop 40822 and the Environmental commission - has, so far, held two clean-ups along Watchung Way and Snyder Avenue and in the Snyder Avenue Park, and gathered 229.6 pounds of litter. There will be more throughout the year.

She has already received the 2018 NJ Clean Communities Council’s Adopt-A-Beach award, the 2018 Association of New Jersey Environmental Commission’s Environmental Achievement Award, and recognition as a 2019 Jefferson Award Honoree for the Environmental Stewardship.

Mayor Angie Devanney read the proclamation and presented Valerie with the copy at the beginning of the May 29 Township Council meeting.