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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                               

April 19, 2006                                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                  

ESSEX COUNTY EXECUTIVE DIVINCENZO THANKS VOLUNTEERS FOR MAKING THE ESSEX COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL CENTER A SUCCESS IN ITS FIRST YEAR

Laboratory is Named in Honor of the Late Jonathan Forsell

Lobby is Named in Honor of the Late Bill Brach

Classroom is Named in Honor of The Prudential Foundation

Library is Named in Honor of the Goldring Family Foundation

Roseland, NJ On Wednesday, April 19th, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. recognized 56 volunteers and organizations who helped contribute to the success of the Essex County Environmental Center in its first year of operation. During the “Celebrating Volunteers Awards Ceremony” at the Environmental Center, the County Executive also dedicated several rooms in the Environmental Center in honor of residents and corporations who shared his dream of creating the Center and helped make it become a reality.

“Thank you to all our volunteers, partner agencies and contributors that have helped make our Environmental Center a success,” DiVincenzo said. “Our facility is a tremendous educational and exciting resource for people of all ages, especially our children. This is a place where they can learn about our environment and get a better understanding and appreciation of nature,” he added.

“During our first year, we have welcomed more than 6,000 visitors and our Environmental Center has become the epicenter of environmental programs and learning,” the Executive noted. “This success would not have been possible without our volunteers and partner agencies who have collaborated with us because they want to help their community and the environment. From running programs, cleaning our grounds, leading field trips and answering phones, our partners have helped to make the Essex County Environmental Center a first class facility,” he added.

DiVincenzo dedicated four rooms in the Environmental Center in honor of those who shared his vision for the nature and education facility.

  • ¨       The laboratory was named in honor of the late Jonathan Forsell, a Program Coordinator with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension. Forsell was a highly regarded environmentalist who worked closely with the Master Gardeners and provided Essex County with advice on various environmental issues.
  • ¨       The lobby was named in honor of the late Bill Brach, a Montclair resident who supported the County Executive’s idea for the Center and helped establish a partnership between Essex County and the New Jersey Audubon Society.
  • ¨       The classroom was named in honor of The Prudential Foundation, which donated $75,000 to furnish the Center.
  • ¨       The library was named in honor of The Goldring Family Foundation, a Short Hills-based philanthropic organization which donated $40,000 to purchase a state-of-the-art sound system and other technological equipment.

Groups receiving recognition were the Essex County Environmental Commission, the Essex County Environmental Center Program Advisory Group and the partner agencies of the Environmental Center, which includes the Essex County Beekeepers Society, Inc., the New Jersey Audubon Society, the Rutgers Cooperative Extension, the Master Gardeners of Essex County, the Essex County 4-H Club and the Sierra Club. Individuals were recognized for maintaining the grounds and gardens, volunteering at OctoberFest, running field trips, leading hikes and helping with office work. Individuals who received certificates for volunteering are as follows:

Bernardsville: Mike Anderson, Thomas J. Gilmore

Bloomfield: Joan Gorman, Dot Kampenhausen, Florence Rollino

Boonton: Landi Simone

Caldwell: Jane Kinkle, Ann and Warren Marchioni

Cape May Courthouse: Dale Rosselet

Caldwell: David Ogens, John Vincent Racioppi

Dover: Rebecca Pine

East Hanover: Kristin Blake, Stephanie Damiano, Alice Faller

Fairfield: Mike Mazur, Sue Mazur

Florham Park: Karen Johannessen

Fords: Grant Stiles

Glen Ridge: Teresa Doss

Irvington: Janet Keeler, Kim Thompson-Gaddy

Livingston: Alison Clark, Mechelle Norton, Richard Ryan

Maplewood: Daniel Gordon, Elton Neivert

Montclair: Cary Africk, Andrew Bertino-Reibstein, Russell J. Furnari, Merwin Kinkade, Fran and Bob Kroeckel

Newark: Gina Mongeillo, Louches Powell, Elyssa Serilli, Jan Zientek

Newton: Joseph M. Bonavita, Cathie Skove

North Caldwell: Adam Agins, Joseph Lelinho, Cristin Mustillo

Rockaway: Carmella Passaro

South Orange: Kirk R. Barrett, Walter Clarke

Verona: Catherine Gillen, Helen Stack

West Caldwell: Maura Lincoln, Anthony Oszmianski

West Orange: Susie Butler, Thelma Carnegie, Michel Cuillerier, Joanne Kornoelje, Mark Kushner, A. Knadya O’Kelly, Ron Pate, Maria Wakenfield, Bernard Wallerstein

West Paterson: Walter Goldenbaum

Westfield: James Nichnadowicz

Generations of Essex County children were once able to get close to and learn about nature at the Essex County Environmental Center. When the old facility closed in the mid-1990s because of budget constraints, an educational void was created. County Executive DiVincenzo understood the importance of the Environmental Center and promised to revive the facility. Utilizing grants from the Federal government, the New Jersey Green Acres program, Essex County Open Space Trust Fund and corporate donations, the new, state-of-the-art Environmental Center was opened within two years. The facility offers an exciting curriculum with cutting edge topics and interactive activities.

The Essex County Park System was created in 1895 and is the first county park system established in the United States. The Park System consists of more than 6,000 acres and has 17 parks, five reservations, an environmental center, a zoo, ice skating rink, roller skating rink, three public golf courses, golf driving range and an off-leash dog facility.

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