Essex County, NJ – Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced that the Association of NJ Environmental Commissions awarded the Essex County Environmental Commission with its Environmental Achievement Award for an ongoing series of roundtable programs where environmental issues are discussed.

“We commend the Environmental Commission for creating a venue where information can be shared and dialogue started about timely issues affecting the environment and our communities. We can all learn from each other’s experiences, and the roundtable program is an example of how we can create strong network and improve communication with our municipal partners,” DiVincenzo said.

Starting in 2010, the Essex County Environmental Commission has been hosting a series of roundtable programs where professionals and experts provide an educational presentation for members of municipal environmental commissions and green teams. The roundtables are held twice a year (in the spring and the fall) and have focused on a variety of topics, including open space, urban forestry and tree ordinances, water-wise communities, environmental funding for municipalities, and  alternative-fuel vehicles in municipalities. The second portion of the program is when local representatives can share the latest developments and projects in each of their individual municipalities.

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“Our County and Municipalities are faced with a variety of environmental challenges and issues. Hosting the roundtables is a proactive way to learn about these ever-changing challenges, hear how our neighbors are addressing them and work together to raise awareness about the environment, promote conservation and lessen our impact on nature,” said Essex County Environmental Center Director Tara Casella, who is also a member of the Essex County Environmental Commission. “Winning the ANJEC award puts the spotlight on our unique way of sharing information, which other areas could use as a model,” she added.

The ANJEC Environmental Achievement Award program recognizes exceptional projects carried out by environmental commissions to protect natural resources, health and open spaces in their towns. ANJEC has been presenting the annual awards since the mid-1970s. Environmental commissions are comprised of volunteers appointed by their municipalities or counties to advise on environmental issues, lead programs to protect and restore natural resources and educate community members about conservation. An awards committee comprised of ANJEC trustees and staff members selected the winners based on project impact, originality, educational value, innovation, and response to a need.