Contact: Ed Potosnak
O: (609) 331-9922
C: (732) 991-7574

Lisa Flavia Garcia Regional Administrator for EPA’s Region 2 to Headline New Jersey LCV Annual Gala on June 15

TRENTON –New Jersey League of Conservation Voters will host its Eighth annual Gala on Wednesday, June 15 from 6 to 9 p.m. in East Brunswick, New Jersey at the Park Chateau.  The Gala celebrates pro-environment legislative wins and honors those who have helped make those achievements a reality. Lisa Flavia Garcia, Regional Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Region 2 office, will be the keynote speaker.

“Last year was New Jersey LCV’s best ever for legislative wins, but we’re not resting on our laurels. There is still a significant amount of work that needs to be done. We won’t stop until everyone has clean air, safe drinking water, and open space for recreation no matter their zip code, and we’ve successfully mitigated climate change and addressed environmental racism,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director New Jersey LCV. “We’re delighted to be in-person again with our donors, supporters, and friends as we celebrate our environmental wins and recognize New Jersey’s environmental champions. Without their support we couldn’t do this work.”

The following is a list of the environmental champion honorees:

Emerald Award: In appreciation of outstanding devotion to the protection of New Jersey's precious air, water and open space:

Assemblyman Clinton Calabrese (LD-36, Passaic and Bergen)

Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds Jackson (LD-15, Mercer and Hunterdon)

Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla

Founders Award: In appreciation of outstanding leadership, vision, and devoted service to the success of New Jersey LCV:

Congressman Andy Kim, New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District

Michele Byers, Founding New Jersey LCV Trustee and former Executive Director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation

Changemaker Award: In recognition of making an incomparable difference for New Jersey's environment in your community and the lives of others:

Marcus Sibley, Chair NJ NAACP Environmental & Climate Justice and Chair, New Jersey Progressive Equitable Energy Coalition (NJPEEC)

Maria Santiago Valentin, Cofounder and Director of The Atlantic Climate Justice Alliance

Tobias Fox, Founder and Managing Director Newark Science and Sustainability

JoAnna Contarino, Alumni Advisor NJ Student Sustainability Coalition & Program Assistant with Sustainable Jersey

“It is truly an honor to be awarded the New Jersey LCV Emerald Award which acknowledges my legislative efforts to protect and improve New Jersey’s air, water, and open space and the passage of the Save the Bees Act I sponsored,” said Assemblyman Clinton Calabrese. “Since taking office in 2018, New Jersey’s environmental issues have been among my highest priorities. I am humbled by this award and look forward to continuing to work towards continued progress with environmental justice and protection for all of New Jersey’s residents.”

“Our zip code should not determine whether we have fresh food from the farm to the table, contamination-free soil, fresh air to breathe, or clean drinking water,” said Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds Jackson. “It’s our fundamental rights that come from the constitution. We must use our voices and speak out against environmental injustice.”

"It is an honor to be recognized by the New Jersey LCV this year as we continue to make great strides in protecting our environment in Hoboken," said Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla. "Mitigating the effects of climate change and our impact on the environment remain critical priorities for my administration, and I look forward to continuing to partner with the New Jersey LCV as we strive to make our city more sustainable and resilient."  

“Thank you so much for honoring me with this this recognition and thank you for standing up and being leaders in the fight for a cleaner climate and our pressing need to move towards more renewable energy solutions,” said Congressman Andy Kim, New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District. “People from all political perspectives agree that America needs to become more energy independent. We can do that by investing in a clean energy infrastructure that creates good paying jobs, protects our climate, and combats climate change to provide a better future for my kids, your kids and grandkids, and future generations.”

“I am so pleased and proud of the many successes and accomplishments of New Jersey LCV, and glad I was able to be part of its formation,” said Michele Byers, Founding Trustee and former Executive Director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation. “Congratulations to all the honorees and thank you!”

"I'm both humbled and grateful for this award. To be recognized as a changemaker means a great deal to me, as my mission to provide true equity and justice has not always been well received,” said Marcus Sibley, Chair NJ NAACP Environmental & Climate Justice and NJPEEC. “The good fight isn't always good for the fighters, so I share this moment with everyone making those personal and professional sacrifices to leave the world better than we found it." 

“I was happily surprised, but more surprised than anything else when I found out that I was nominated for the Changemaker Award by New Jersey LCV. This award represents the value and power of the voices of the grassroots community organizations,” said Maria Valentin Santiago, Cofounder and Director of The Atlantic Climate Justice Alliance. “I have been involved for over two decades on climate and environmental issues. It is a representation of all the individuals who I learned from and who have helped me to be a recipient at this moment in time. It means that anyone with the heart, intention and desire to make a change only has to make it happen. Thank you to Patty Cronheim and Ed Potosnak for this beautiful acknowledgment.”

"I'm beyond grateful to have my work with the NJ Student Sustainability Coalition recognized,” said JoAnna Contarino, Alumni Advisor NJ Student Sustainability Coalition & Program Assistant with Sustainable Jersey. “Youth voices are such an integral part in solving the climate crisis, and I'm glad to see that organizations like New Jersey LCV recognize this."

"You never fully realize the positive impact you're making in your community until someone else acknowledges it,” said Tobias Fox, Founder and Managing Director Newark Science and Sustainability. “To be recognized by New Jersey LCV as a changemaker just confirms that I must be doing something right. I am humbled and appreciate this spotlight. It is truly an honor.”

New Jersey LCV also will recognize former longtime board member, Jim P. Wyse. Jim passed away suddenly last year, and due to his commitment to the environment we will honor his legacy with the new James P. Wyse Program for Interns. Jim was a former partner at Coughlin, Midlige & Garland.

The following companies and organizations are sponsors of the gala:

Platinum Sponsor: PSE&G; Gold sponsor: Rise Light & Power; Silver Sponsors: Anbaric, New Jersey American Water, Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, and Attentive Energy; Bronze Sponsors: Mom’s Organic Market, Orsted, NextEra Energy, and Solar Landscape; Partner Sponsor: CDM Smith and Larry Rockefeller, and our Friend Sponsors: Ceisler Media, Ferguson Waterworks, Taft Communications, and Merrill G. & Emita E. Hastings Foundation. 

Environmental partner sponsors are ANJEC, New Jersey Conservation Foundation, the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, New Jersey Highlands Coalition, Pinelands Preservation Alliance, New Jersey Audubon, Raritan Headwaters, NRDC, and LCV. 

New Jersey LCV shattered our goal to raise the most ever, $70,000, at the gala – raising more than $145,000 to date. The event will feature online silent auction items, including engaging environmental experiences, travel destinations, a tour of the New Jersey Statehouse, and lunch with the New Jersey LCV Executive Director. For more information about the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Eighth Annual Gala see our website at