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Howell Environmental Commission to present annual award

HOWELL – The Howell Environmental Commission will present the 2020 Ann G. Ritchey Environmental Award to Mary Ann Cernak during its annual awards dinner on Oct. 8 at the Howell Pointe Swim Club, Howell Road.

Cernak is a township resident and earned a doctorate in clinical social work. The award is presented each year by the environmental commission to honor the memory of Ann G. Ritchey, a devoted environmentalist who worked tirelessly to sustain the environment and quality of life in Howell, according to the commission.

The commission and other municipal bodies such as the Lake Restoration and Wildlife Management Committee, the Municipal Green Team and the Natural Resources Working Group have worked with Cernak over the years on various projects, including the expansion of the Howell Organic Community Garden and the Winston Park Roots to Rivers Reforestation project.

Cernak has assisted Howell public school students with research about local environmental issues for the students’ participation in the National Geographic Nat-Geo Challenge and she has helped local schools obtain grant funding for various projects.

Joan Osborne, who chairs the environmental commission, said, “Mary Ann Cernak is the epitome of the ethic that you do what is right because it is right, not for recognition.

“She has been quietly getting things done for Howell and its schools and students for years and is so deserving of this award because she has been so instrumental in helping navigate the process of getting support for and success in implementing environmentally focused initiatives.

“The township has benefited from her dedication and perseverance. Dr. Cernak’s service to the township and its schools stands as an example of how one person can make a difference that changes perspectives and practices of others.

“This made her a natural choice for the Ann G. Ritchey Award. The commission hopes to continue to encourage Howell residents to get involved in solving environmental issues, both big and small, and to keep Howell a wonderful place to live,” Osborne said.

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