Dean Blumetti, Council Member, Sparta Township was presented with the prestigious ANJEC Environmental Leadership Award at the nonprofit association’s 50th Annual Environmental Congress on Friday, October 13, at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor. Several hundred local environmentalists from throughout New Jersey gathered at the full-day conference to celebrate their accomplishments, learn from conservation experts, and interact with state and federal policymakers.
Dean was one of five municipal officials to be recognized for initiating and/or supporting outstanding environmental achievements in their towns. He has been instrumental in elevating environmental concerns and activities in Sparta since joining the Environmental Commission in 2019 and then becoming Chair in January of 2022. This effort has continued since being elected to the Town Council. Some achievements include meticulous review of land use applications as the Planning Board liaison, introducing and ongoing use of the Highland Council Interactive Mapping tool to evaluate environmental impacts, supporting ordinance revisions or introductions to maintain a sustainable environment in Sparta and activities to educate the public including presentations by the Highlands Council, The Land Conservancy of NJ and the Earth Day Fair held last April.
Featured speakers at the Congress were Olivia Glenn, EPA Region 2 Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor for Equity, and NJDEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette. NJ Senator Bob Smith, Chair of the Environment & Energy Committee, was honored for his exceptional, decades-long contributions to protecting the state’s natural resources and quality of life.
Workshop sessions throughout the day focused on pressing environmental issues such as flood protection, renewable energy, water quality, land preservation and urban greening. A full schedule of events is available at https://anjec.org/environmental-congress-2/. ;
Building on the popularity of last year’s hybrid format, this year’s Environmental Congress also featured three days of virtual sessions via Zoom on Oct. 17, 18 and 19.
“Elected local officials play a pivotal role in protecting our precious natural resources and fighting climate change at the local level,” said ANJEC Executive Director Jennifer Coffey. “As we celebrate a half century of success together and kick off the next 50 years of ambitious environmental goals, we wanted to also acknowledge the huge contribution of outstanding municipal leaders. Together we’ve achieved important environmental milestones, from the strongest plastic pollution legislation in the nation to landmark flood hazard regulations that will save untold lives and property.”
ANJEC also presented Environmental Achievement Awards to six local environmental commissions and five nonprofits. Former ANJEC Executive Director Sandy Batty received the Candace McKee Ashmun Environmental Legacy Award, named for ANJEC's first executive director, who served a leadership role in NJ’s environmental community for over 50 years.
ANJEC is a 54-year-old nonprofit based in Mendham whose mission is to promote local action to protect and restore New Jersey’s natural resources and to ensure healthy communities for today and the future. ANJEC advances its mission by engaging in equitable and inclusive practices through leadership, partnerships, education, advocacy for strong public policy and in support of environmental commissions, public officials, and communities throughout New Jersey.
For more information about ANJEC, visit www.anjec.org or contact: Jennifer Coffey, ANJEC Executive Director. jcoffey@ANJEC.org; 609-532-3462(cell).