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EPA Applauds Environmental Champions in New Jersey

Release Date: 04/25/2008
Contact Information: Michael Ortiz (212) 637-3670,; Mary Mears (212) 637-3673,

(New York, N.Y.) Seven individuals and organizations from New Jersey received top honors today from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their work to protect the environment. Their exemplary efforts were recognized as they were presented with EPA Environmental Quality Awards by EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg during a ceremony today in EPA’s New York offices. In addition, the Agency recognized two recipients from New York for winning the nation-wide President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA).

“These exemplary environmental stewards have gone above and beyond for environmental change in local communities,” said Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. “Let their extraordinary contributions remind us all that we can make our world a better place and individuals really inspire others and make a lasting difference.”

EPA selects Environmental Quality Award winners from non-profit environmental and community groups, individual citizens, educators, business organizations and members of the news media, as well as from federal, state, local or tribal governments and agencies. The honor is given to those individuals or organizations that have made significant contributions to improving the environment and public health in EPA Region 2, which covers New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and seven federally-recognized Indian Nations. The Agency receives nominations for the awards from both inside and outside EPA. For information about the Environmental Quality Awards in EPA Region 2, go to



Margo Pellegrino
Medford Lakes, New Jersey
Margo Pellegrino, a citizen-activist, planned and carried out a 2,000 mile paddling journey up the Atlantic seaboard to educate people about the problems facing the ocean. She took the “Think Globally, Act Locally” slogan, and acted locally throughout the coast on a daily basis for eleven weeks in 2007, beginning in Miami on May 7th and not stopping until she arrived in Camden, Maine on July 20th. At over a third of these stops, she paddled into local press events to reach a wide audience through media outlets and reported on the issues affecting the ocean.

Marie Springer
Friends of Wallkill River Refuge
Sussex, New Jersey
Marie Springer is the founder and President of the Friends of Wallkill River Refuge, where she has been an active volunteer, giving more than 750 hours of her own time to the Refuge in the past two years alone. She has been a stalwart in efforts to preserve open space and encourage a balanced and eco-friendly use of natural resources. The National Wildlife Refuge Association chose Marie to testify on its behalf before the House Appropriations Committee in support of its Fiscal Year 2008 refuge budget request.


Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc.
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Harrah’s has included the environment in its four corporate principles and instituted a series of corporate programs at all of its properties to reduce energy use, ramp up recycling, reuse waste oil, and conserve water. Nearly 16,000 employees and over 1.7 million customers are affected by the “Go Green” initiatives implemented in New Jersey by Harrah’s Entertainment. Due to its actions, the equivalent of over 94 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions has been eliminated annually. Additionally, its efforts have eliminated 50,000 gallons of oil waste, saved 30,000 gallons of water with waterless urinals, recycled 1.6 million pounds of cardboard, purchased two hybrid vehicles, and eliminated 1.1 million polystyrene cups annually among other environmentally sound practices.


Township of Maplewood
Maplewood, New Jersey
The Township of Maplewood, New Jersey has expanded its recycling program, constructed the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified municipal public building in NJ, conducted an Annual Green Day Fair and was selected for the EPA’s Energy Star “Change a Light” National Bus Tour visit. Maplewood is a partner in the Cities for Climate Protection campaign of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives.


David Crawford
Adopt-A-Stream/Catawba Projects
Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey
David Crawford co-pioneered the Adopt-A-Stream/Catawba Projects, encouraging environmental awareness in schoolchildren through hands-on education in their local environment. He was a recipient of the 2007 New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust Environmental Achievement Award for teaching students the importance of protecting New Jersey’s water resources and helping them understand the link between human activities and the environment.

Pequannock River Coalition
Newfoundland, New Jersey
Founded in 1995 as a grassroots membership organization, the Pequannock River Coalition (PRC) was formed to address environmental threats within the 100 square mile Pequannock River watershed of northern New Jersey. The PRC has responded to regional environmental concerns by establishing programs to monitor the temperature of the river – an important environmental indicator; organize river cleanups, river surveys and tours; plan greenways; and develop the highly acclaimed “River in the Classroom & Watershed Detectives” school education program.


Captain Bill Sheehan
Hackensack Riverkeeper, Inc.
Hackensack, New Jersey
Hackensack Riverkeeper (HRI) has been the leading environmental organization working on clean water issues for the Hackensack River, the Newark Bay Complex and their watersheds for over 10 years. As a way to engage the public in active conservation, they have held eight public and six corporate sponsored cleanups at different locations within the watershed. By working with municipalities, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection officials, and citizen’s advisory committees, HRI is working toward the ultimate eradication of combined sewer overflows.