Untitled Document

PRESS RELEASE

June 25, 2015

ESSEX COUNTY FREEHOLDERS

HONOR GRAY RUSSELL OF MONTCLAIR FOR BEING NAMED

THE “SUSTAINABILITY HERO” FOR JUNE 2015 BY SUSTAINABLE JERSEY

(Newark, NJ) – Gray Russell, Montclair’s Sustainability Officer and Co-Chair of the Essex County Environmental Commission, was honored by the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders for being named Sustainable Jersey’s “Sustainability Hero” for June 2015.  Freeholder Vice President Brendan Gill of Montclair and Freeholder Patricia Sebold of Livingston presented the Board’s Commendation to Russell during the Board’s Wednesday, June 24th, meeting held at Montclair Town Hall.

Montclair’s Sustainability Officer and Co-Chair of the Essex County Environmental Commission, Gray Russell (center), was honored by the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders for being named Sustainability Jersey’s “Sustainability Hero” for June 2015.  The presentation of the Board’s Commendation was made to Russell by Freeholder Vice President Brendan Gill of Montclair (left) and Freeholder Patricia Sebold of Livingston, during the Board’s Wednesday, June 24th, meeting held at Montclair Town Hall. Photo by Glen Frieson

  


“Gray Russell deserves accolades every day”, said Freeholder Patricia Sebold, “but we’re here today to recognize him for the most recent of the awards he’s received for his work on behalf of our environment and for putting Montclair and Essex County in the forefront of the sustainability movement.”  She went on to congratulate him “for (his) efforts to make us all better stewards of the Earth”.

“As a lifelong resident of Montclair”, said Freeholder Vice President Gill, “I know what an amazing job Gray has done here, I know how much he loves this community, and I agree with Freeholder Sebold that there isn’t a more deserving ‘Sustainability Hero’ anywhere in the State.”

Russell thanked Freeholders Gill and Sebold, as well as County Executive DiVincenzo and the mayor and council of Montclair, “because without their assistance and support, we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish anything”.  He also thanked the residents of Montclair “…for their support of the environmental programs we run and the sustainability initiatives that have succeeded, because we are all connected.  Montclair isn’t just a part of EssexCounty, and Essex County isn’t just a part of New Jersey… we are all connected to the biosphere around us and we are part of the planet; the actions we take affect others, and the actions of others affect us, so I think it’s great that sustainability itself is being recognized.  Thank you very much.”

Russell has been Montclair’s Sustainability Officer for the last 14 years, one of the very few such officers to be employed full-time by a New Jersey municipality.  He is also the town’s liaison to the Montclair Environmental Commission, an environmental professional for more than 25 years, and Co-Chair of the Essex County Environmental Commission.

Sustainable Jersey, founded in 2009, is a nonprofit organization that provides tools, training and financial incentives to support communities as they pursue sustainability programs to reduce waste, cut greenhouse gas emissions and improve environmental quality, and each month it recognizes a “Sustainability Hero” in order to capture the stories of local leaders

Russell is a Certified Recycling Professional and serves on the Board of Directors of the Association of NJ Recyclers, the Advisory Council for the NJ WasteWise Business Network, the Board of Advisors for Bike & Walk Montclair, the Board of Directors of Rainforest Relief, the Steering Committee for the Sustainable Jersey Essex Hub, and a Board Member of the Cornucopia Network of New Jersey.  Under His leadership, Montclair has made huge advancements in the “sustainability” front: it became one of the first certified Sustainable Jersey communities in 2009; was designated a “Climate Showcase Community” by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency; received an EPA grant to reduce its carbon footprint; used Sustainable Jersey grants to become the first town in NJ to install public charging stations for electric vehicles and to create the state’s first Bike Depot at the NJ Transit Station in partnership with the NJ Bike & Walk Coalition.

He is also one of the founding members of the Montclair Farmer’s Market, which began 23 years ago, and which now accepts SNAP, WIC and Senior FMNP vouchers.  He is currently working with the Montclair Municipal Council to develop another “first” for the town by locking-in a fixed bulk electricity rate for taxpayers to save money.

Russell has lectured and/or taught courses on the environment and sustainability at Cornell, Princeton, Rutgers, Montclair State and Seton Hall universities; has appeared on morning television shows to demonstrate composting; and has spoken at international conferences.  He is a fourth-generation resident of Montclair, a graduate of its public schools, and a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, where he majored in Philosophy.

Freeholder Brendan Gill of Montclair is serving his first term as an At-Large member of the Freeholder Board and first year as the Board’s Vice President, having also served one term as the District 5 Freeholder.  Freeholder At-Large Patricia Sebold is currently serving her eighth full term on the Board.

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For Additional Information:
Gary Kroessig, Public Information
Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders
gkroessig@freeholders.essexcountynj.org
Board of Chosen Freeholders, County of Essex
Hall of Records - Room 558, 465 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd., Newark, New Jersey 07102
Tel: (973) 621-4486 Fax: (973) 621-5695