Edison Resident Receives Jefferson Award

EDISON—Township resident Walter Stochel, an environmentalist and historical preservationist, has been named a New Jersey Jefferson Award winner.

“Walt Stochel has always made Edison proud and he has done so again in receiving this award. Citizens who give of themselves like Walt Stochel help make our community a great community,” said Mayor Jun Choi.

The Jefferson Awards are a prestigious national recognition system honoring community and public service in America. In 1972, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft, Jr. and Sam Beard founded the American Institute for Public Service; a public foundation to establish a Nobel Prize for public and community service – The Jefferson Awards. The awards are presented on two levels: national and local. On the local level, Jefferson Awards recipients are ordinary people who do extraordinary things without expectation of recognition or reward.

Edison’s Business Administrator Anthony Cancro nominated Stochel for the award. Both men attended an awards ceremony on June 3.

“I am very please to win a Jefferson Award, because the award does highlight the many works of community volunteers in this country,” Stochel said. “I also realize that while I have received notice for my community work, I have also had the great support of other residents who work on these projects with me.”

Since 1985, Stochel has served unselfishly, as a dynamic and inspiring volunteer advocate for important, local, conservation and related civic issues. He is the Chairman of the Edison Open Space Advisory Committee. He also serves on 15 other local and regional boards and committees.

In more than 20 years of community service, Stochel is cited as the single-most positive influence upon local – Edison and Middlesex County – environmental, historical, open space, smart growth and related issues. He has played critical roles in founding a number of local civic and volunteer organizations, including: Edison Greenways Group, Inc., the first open space land trust in Middlesex County; Edison Tree Fund; Save Oak Tree Pond, which preserved a historical site, saving it from destruction and development as a strip mall; Edison Wetlands Association – the Triple C Ranch and Nature Center, the last remaining farm in Edison, located in the heart of the Dismal Swamp Conservation Area. The 5.27 acre, open space outdoor classroom and nature preserve has offered exciting environmental education programs for more than 1,000 children and more than 100 community groups since 2001.

Additionally, Stochel supervises tours and walks through local open space and historical sites on his own time and frequently at his own expense. He also works with the Edison Eagle Scouts and local volunteers on environmental, open space and historical projects, initiatives and activities.

Since 1988, Stochel has been an active participant in the development of Edison’s Master Plan, Smart Growth Plan and Open Space strategic planning and project efforts since 1988. He is a Center for Community Renewal Associate and recipient of several awards.

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