Rutgers NJAES Wins Governor’s Award of Excellence in Environmental Education

Former NJ Governor James Florio and DEP Commissioner Bob Martin presenting the award to Monmouth County Ag Assistant/Educational Technologist Vivian Quinn, Agriculture and Resource Management Agent Bill Sciarappa and Horticulturalist/Master Gardener Coordinator Diane Larson.

Rutgers online undergraduate education program in “Environmental Pollution and Organic and Sustainable Agriculture” was the winner of a 2013 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award in the Environmental Education category. This award is presented to “an educator, student, group of students, or class that has planned and implemented a project or program with measurable, positive environmental impacts.”

New Jersey Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards, the state’s premier environmental awards program for recognizing outstanding environmental performance, programs and projects, are presented each November at an awards ceremony and reception in Trenton that is hosted by the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). According to the NJDEP, “these awards honor and recognize individuals, businesses, educators, institutions, communities, youth and others who have made significant contributions to environmental protection in New Jersey.”

Poster of Rutgers NJAES award-winning submission representing Environmental Pollution and Organic/Sustainable Agriculture.

In its citation, NJDEP recognized the delivery of outstanding programs by Rutgers Cooperative Extension staff in areas like “agriculture, fisheries, community outreach, youth development, food, nutrition and health, and workforce development.” The citation highlighted the contributions of William Sciarappa, agriculture and resource management agent, Monmouth County and department head, and the efforts of other extension faculty, that “have generated several new innovative programs in New Jersey. Examples include a training program for rain garden specialists, creation of dozens of demonstration rain gardens, and initiation of community-based rain garden walking tours; online training tools and a certification program for the lawn care industry to help the DEP carry out the state’s toughest-in-the-nation fertilizer use law; development of online environmental pollution and agriculture courses for undergraduate students; and, public education efforts related to stormwater, IPM strategies and soil health, to name but a few.”

The awards program is sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the New Jersey Corporation for Advanced Technology, in partnership with the New Jersey State League of Municipalities.

Since its establishment in 2000, the awards program has recognized approximately 135 entities.