Montgomery Environmental Awards encourage sustainability efforts

Montgomery High School's Annabelle Wang, who educated the public about clean water through articles in the local news, was among the six recipients of Montgomery Township’s Environmental Awards for 2021.

The first-ever Montgomery Township Environmental Awards program has recognized three individuals and three organizations for their sustainability accomplishments in 2021.

The township’s Environmental Commission developed the awards to recognize work protecting air, water and natural landscape, as well as environmental outreach and education efforts in the community, according to a statement provided on Jan. 27.

“This awards program brings recognition to the unsung heroes in town whose efforts help sustain a healthy environment for all of us. There is notable progress being achieved through the quiet, hard work of our residents, nonprofits and businesses. Congratulations and keep it up,” said Mary Reece, chairperson of the Environmental Commission.

Montgomery Township was able to meet Silver Level Certification in the Sustainable Jersey program for the first time ever in 2021, having been a bronze certificate holder since 2009.

The Montgomery Environmental Awards winners by category, with a summary of their work, are:

Annabelle Wang (category: Water Resources) for her advocacy work in educating the public
about clean water through local news articles that she wrote, and a video Wang created for World Water Day.

Montgomery Friends of Open Space (category: Environmental Education) for their efforts in
hosting educational events like First Sundays in the Park, and providing educational
displays and information at the weekly farmers market, which they operate.

Technician X (category: Healthy & Sustainable Business) for providing electronics and toner
recycling, ensuring materials are disposed of properly (longtime Earth Day Fair partner).

Kevin Burkman (category: Landowner of the Year) for his work to plant over 100 different native species in his yard, creating an oasis for pollinators.

Princeton Volkswagen Dealership (category: Climate Change and Clean Air) for installing a
publicly-accessible electric vehicle charging station.

Donato Nieman (category: Municipal Advocate) for his work over the past 20-plus years as township administrator to support forward-thinking environmental policies and municipal operating practices.

A formal awards ceremony recognizing each recipient took place on Dec. 16, according to the statement.

Montgomery Mayor Devra Keenan praised each award recipient for their outstanding work, as well as Reece and the Environmental Commission for launching this new program.

Reece credited Frank Derby, a longtime Environmental Commission/Sustainable Montgomery member, with envisioning the new awards.

Derby is also a primary organizer of Montgomery’s Earth Day Recycling Fair
each year.

Any resident can nominate an environmental champion for an award.

A 2022 nominations solicitation will be released by the summer.

For more information on the recent winners and nomination and judging criteria for 2022, visit