ELIZABETH, NJ - Nominations are still open for the annual Union County Environmental Hero awards. Each year, the Environmental Hero program recognizes local citizens, businesses and organizations that inspire, motivate, and act to help preserve and protect natural resources in Union County and beyond.

The Environmental Hero program is a partnership between the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Trailside Museum Association, a non-profit organization that supports Union County’s Trailside Nature Museum and Science Center in the Watchung Reservation.

“Throughout Union County, people are taking the initiative to help secure a safe, healthy, and sustainable future for the next generation,” said Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski. “By celebrating their efforts, the Environmental Hero program helps to spread the word about effective actions that make a real difference in our community and in the health of our planet.”

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Last year the Union County Environmental Heroes awards went to:

  • Overlook Medical Center, its efforts and achievements in sustainability and green initiatives.  Overlook has worked to reduce its surgical waste, implemented eco-friendly lighting and other energy conservation methods, and created recycling programs to donate medical supplies, hospital beds and office furniture to facilities in impoverished countries.
  • Matthew Fichter, a 6th grade science teacher at the Hillside Avenue School in Cranford, for leading the school’s Environmental Club.
  • Linzy Rosen of Westfield, for starting Westfield High School’s Green Team.
  • Jeff Hankinson of Summit, for his efforts on behalf of Union County’s Adopt-a-Trail Program and the Summit Environmental Commission.
  • Todd Evans of Mountainside, for establishing the Beautiful Mountainside Committee to organize litter clean-ups, plant trees and promote recycling.
  • Casey Cullen-Woods of Roselle Park, for multiple contributions throughout the area. As Sustainability Coordinator at The Willow School, she worked to attain Living Building certification. She co-founded the Living Building Collaborative of New York and New Jersey and now works as a Sustainability Project Manager overseeing projects pursuing sustainability certifications. 

Ms. Cullen-Woods has also raised thousands of dollars for environmental nonprofits by completing a 320 mile charity bike ride and lobbied for the Complete Streets alternative transportation program. 

Any Union County individual or group can be nominated for an Environmental Hero award.

All nominations must be submitted online at ucnj.org/trailside by Friday, April 12, 2019.

All awardees will receive certificates of recognition for their work and prizes courtesy of the Trailside Museum Association, and will be honored with a public event at Union County’s annual Wild Earth Fest.   

For more information about the Environmental Hero Award and all other Trailside programs, call 908-789-3670 or visit online at ucnj.org/trailside.

Trailside Nature & Science Center is located at 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside and is a service of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

For quick links to all Union County environmental programs visit The Green Connection at ucnj.org/green-connection.

Photo credit: Wildflowers at Watchung Reservation by County of Union, NJ.

For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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