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Pequannock River Coalition Honors Environmental Heroes
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March 12, 2008 (rt23 news) - Each year the Pequannock River Coalition honors those who have offered exceptional service toward preserving and restoring the Pequannock River Watershed. These awards are given in four categories. A list of awards and the current honorees is provided below. The awards will be presented at our annual meeting. This meeting is open to the public and will be hosted 7:30 PM on Tuesday, April 8th at the Riverdale Community Center, 57 Loy Avenue, Riverdale. Light refreshments will be served.

Volunteer Service Awards

Honoring the generosity, dedication and commitment of volunteers toward protecting the natural resources of the Pequannock River Watershed

Charles Coronato, Wyckoff, NJ
Bruce Hernsdorf, Lincoln Park, NJ
Bev Puntolillo, West Milford, NJ
George Wilkinson, Wayne, NJ

Public Service Awards

Honoring the dedication and commitment of public officials toward protecting the natural resources of the Pequannock River Watershed

Mayor Bettina Bieri, West Milford, NJ

Professional Service Awards

Honoring the dedication and commitment of those who, in their professional capacity, have provided extraordinary protection to the natural resources of the Pequannock River Watershed

Michelle Brook, Education Director, Pequannock River Coalition
Anita Diekroger, Park Ranger, Township of Pequannock
Sheila Hall, Resource Conservationist, Morris County Soil Conservation District

River Protector Awards

Honoring the extraordinary philanthropic contributions of individuals, foundations, businesses and governments toward protecting the natural resources of the Pequannock River Watershed

William Frauenhoff, Wayne, NJ (Individual)
Steven and Natalie Yafet, Hillside, NJ (Individual)
Marian C. Leers Charitable Trust (Foundation)
River Place at Butler (Business)
Borough of Riverdale (Government)

Volunteer Service Award—Charles ‘Chuck’ Coronato
Since joining our group four years ago Chuck has quickly become a key figure, ever-present at our events and a reliable voice at important public hearings. As a teacher, he continues to lend great expertise to our educational programs and as a member of our Board of Trustees, Chuck’s generosity, hard work and creative thinking have been crucial to our success. We thank Chuck for his important service as a volunteer and applaud his many achievements with this award.

Volunteer Service Award—Bruce Hernsdorf
PRC President Bruce Hernsdorf brings to our group a lifelong appreciation of the lands and waters of the Pequannock River Watershed and a strong desire to see them protected. Bruce once said “For me, a place like the Pequannock Watershed makes life in New Jersey livable.” His long service as President and his assistance in numerous programs over many years are long overdue for recognition. We are pleased to present this award to Bruce.

Volunteer Service Award—Bev Puntolillo
With our “Heart of the Highlands” 5K Run, Bev took on the challenging task of making that event a success. She reached this goal this through sheer persistence and a level of commitment that is truly remarkable. Through her cooperative spirit and unflagging energy, and with the help of other generous volunteers, the event was a model of detailed planning and superb execution. We are delighted to reward Bev in this small way for her spectacular accomplishment.

Volunteer Service Award—George Wilkinson
Volunteers like George Wilkinson, unassuming and modest, are easy to overlook. But we are well aware that George is a mainstay in our organization who has lent a crucial hand in so many instances that we would be lost without him. Both before and after joining our Board of Trustees, his openhanded donation of time and effort made the difference between success and failure in countless instances. For this George deserves our praise and heartfelt thanks, despite his great modesty.

Public Service Award—West Milford Mayor Bettina Bieri
In her elected office, Mayor Bieri has repeatedly taken positions that confirmed her appreciation and understanding of our environmental resources. For example, our recent presentation to West Milford on the Highlands Regional Master Plan was an opportunity, afforded by Mayor Bieri, to educate both the public and our local officials on this important subject. In addition, Mayor Bieri has rolled up her sleeves when the occasion demanded by participating in events like our annual river clean up. In her brief tenure as Mayor, Ms, Bieri is already emerging as a true champion of our natural resources who exemplifies the term “public service.”

Professional Service Award—Michelle Brook
A few years ago our “River in the Classroom” youth education program was nothing more than an interesting concept. Michelle Brook made this concept a reality. Working on a shoestring budget, the curriculum she developed has consistently earned high marks from educators, administrators and students. The fact that demand for this program far exceeds our capability to deliver it, is a clear testament to her efforts. We thank Ms. Brook for bringing this program to this elevated level and for the thousands of future watershed stewards she has created through her work.

Professional Service Award –Anita DieKroger
A park ranger with the Township of Pequannock, Ms. DieKroger has lent us invaluable assistance toward promoting and protecting our watershed. Her cooperation in creating our water trail and our new interpretive trail and her ongoing stewardship of Pequannock’s parklands and open space have earned Anita our respect and admiration. For these reasons we are delighted to acknowledge her with this award.

Professional Service Award—Sheila Hall
In her work as a Resource Conservationist with the Morris County Soil Conservation District, policing construction sites and shielding our streams and rivers from harm, Ms. Hall is an unsung hero. Whenever called upon, Ms. Hall’s response to our concerns has been swift and thorough. Few recognize what this level of professionalism has meant to the Pequannock River and many other waterways across Morris County. We congratulate Ms. Hall’s dedicated service with this award.

River Protector Awards

William Frauenhoff (Individual)
Steven and Natalie Yafet (Individual)
River Place at Butler (Business)
Marian C. Leers Charitable Trust (Foundation)
Borough of Riverdale (Government)

As a grassroots group, the Pequannock River Coalition relies on its members in many ways. Important among them is financial support, since it is largely donations from our membership that have allowed us to thrive and fulfill our mission. With these awards we honor the extraordinary financial gifts provided by William Frauenhoff, Steven and Natalie Yafet, River Place at Butler, the Marian Craig Leers Charitable Trust and the Borough of Riverdale. We cannot overstate our appreciation for the exceptional generosity of these donors.

Posted by: Staff at
March 12, 2008

Pequannock River Coalition Honors Environmental Heroes

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