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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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This can be yours award logo How to Apply

"" Award Categories
"" Eligibility
"" Application Requirements and Judging Criteria
"" Scoring/Evaluating
"" Submittals and Deadlines


One award will be presented in each of the categories listed below. You must identify the category of your nomination on the attached application form.

CLIMATE CHANGE AND CLEAN AIR: Nominees in this category should demonstrate a commitment to and experience in one or more of the following areas and activities:

  • Reducing air pollution emissions and/or reducing outdoor exposure to toxic air contaminants
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions or equivalents through energy efficiency projects, clean energy vehicles, technologies and infrastructure, or green power purchases to reduce climate change
  • Reducing air deposition loading to land and water

WATER RESOURCES: Nominees in this category should demonstrate a commitment to and experience in one or more of the following areas and activities:

  • Improving surface or ground water quality and reducing pollution through stormwater and wastewater management strategies and technologies
  • Reducing children's exposure to lead in homes/schools or addressing emerging drinking water contaminants
  • Ensuring sufficient quantities of water through reuse and conservation techniques and infrastructure
  • Promoting or developing land use policies, watershed management approaches and green infrastructure projects to improve protection of water sources or to reduce the impacts of flooding and sea level rise

HEALTHY ECOSYSTEMS AND HABITATS: Nominees in this category should demonstrate a commitment to and experience in programs or techniques that have resulted in the restoration, protection, and resiliency of the state's ecological resources. These include forests, wetlands, estuaries, and coastal areas, as well as habitats for non-game and/or threatened and endangered species and areas prone to sea level rise and flooding.

LANDOWNER OF THE YEAR: Nominees in this category should demonstrate a commitment to and experience in the conservation of open space that protects public or private land from future development and/or demonstrates the improvement, enhancement and preservation of wildlife populations and habitat on the property.

HEALTHY & SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES and HEALTHY & SUSTAINABLE BUSINESSES: Nominees in these two categories should demonstrate a commitment to and experience in one or more of the following areas and activities:

  • Any activity addressing issues such as pollution or waste reduction, recycling, land use, local purchasing, sustainability and resiliency, resource conservation, green infrastructure, habitat restoration, public access and product stewardship
  • Innovative practices or technologies that have resulted in the private or public sector cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated/brownfields sites
  • Creation of community-based initiatives that foster involvement, action and effective solutions to the adverse effects of industrial pollution and climate change on overburdened and low-income communities.
Municipalities participating in the Sustainable JerseyTM Program, should note this involvement in their application.

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION / EDUCATOR-LED and STUDENT-LED PROJECTS: Nominees in these two categories should demonstrate implementation of a program or project that has measurable positive impacts in environmental protection and education and focuses on climate change or one of the six categories above. One award will be given to an adult educator and one will be given to students/youth in grades K-12 (student involvement must be emphasized).

Schools or districts participating in the Sustainable Jersey for SchoolsTM Program, Eco-Schools USA or the U.S. Green Ribbon Schools program should note this involvement in their application.

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Nominations will be accepted from individuals, organizations institutions or businesses. You may nominate yourself or your employer as well as another company, individual, institution, or organization that you believe is worthy of recognition. In addition, all applicants/projects must:

  • Be located in New Jersey; be active within the year prior to their application submission date (information about additional related experience is welcome); and,

  • Agree to have their project shared with others through a written description to appear in the awards program, press materials and on the excellence awards website.

Third-party nominations must be accompanied by written authorization from the nominated party agreeing to consideration for the award. The DEP, other state departments and agencies, as well as state employees are ineligible for awards and cannot submit award applications. Only one application per nominee will be accepted for consideration each year. Previous award recipients are invited to apply again, provided they choose an award category for which they have not been recognized and the activities in the nomination do not include those already recognized.

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All applicants must address the following five judging criteria. The answer to each criterion may not exceed one typewritten page. Include, when necessary, how COVID-19 requirements restricted, impacted, or enhanced your efforts.

Quantify the overall environmental benefits of this program/project or individual accomplishment during 2019-2020 or most recent 12-month period for which data exists. For example: amount of pollution prevented; resources or energy conserved; acres preserved; tonnage recycled; emissions reduced, etc. It is to the applicant’s benefit to be thorough. Inclusion of information or data from previous years to bolster the application is also welcome.

2. MEETING NEEDS (20 Points)
Describe how this program/project or individual accomplishment contributes to the environmental needs of the state. Reference such issues as originality, effectiveness, risks that were overcome, how it reached audiences, and whether the project is a component of a larger comprehensive plan.

Describe the long-term impacts of the program/project or individual accomplishments to the business, community, school or state. Describe how the project can be replicated in other locations or by other people.

Describe how this program/project or individual accomplishment shows leadership and collaboration, and demonstrates how steps beyond “traditional” environmental protection efforts have been taken.

Describe what education and/or outreach activities were undertaken in association with this program/project or individual accomplishments to reach or educate affected individuals, employees, students/faculty, stakeholders, contractors, consultants, community members, etc.

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Groups of reviewers comprised of professionals from the DEP will evaluate the applications. Each of the judging criteria has an associated point value identified in the section above. The total number of points possible for each application is 100. Applications will only be scored on the answers to the five judging criteria. A maximum of three additional pages of supporting materials - such as articles, letters, diagrams, maps and photos - will be accepted. The application, cover form and supporting materials cannot exceed nine pages.

  • 2020 Application Cover Form (includes summary of nominee's activities)
  • Up to five pages of text (1 page max for each judging criteria)
  • Up to three pages of support materials (articles, letters, diagrams, maps, photos, etc.)
  • TOTAL No. of Pages: nine pages or less
The DEP reserves the right not to give an award in any category if the total number of points of any nominee does not meet the DEP's threshhold for excellence. All decisions of the judges are final.

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Applications must be received by Friday, October 23, 2020, at 5 p.m. Applications should be emailed to Marc Rogoff at

For questions about the application or awards program call Marc Rogoff at (609) 292-1474 or email

  • All applications become public information.

  • Applicants will be notified about award decisions in November or early December.

  • The awards ceremony will be held in December and will be conducted virtually or held
        at a location in the Trenton area.

  • Award winners will be asked to bring a poster display to the ceremony that showcases
        their efforts and to submit 3 slides that can be used during the ceremony.

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