Council Honors Shimonaski, Stires

By on August 8, 2017

Ann Stires

Anne Stires (center) is getting recognition on a Grove Park bench for her environmental work.

The Town Council honored Anne Stires and Jerry Shimonaski, two former members of the Verona Environmental Commission as “Verona Environmental Pioneers” and dedicated benches to them in Verona’s newest park on Grove Avenue.

Stires, a Verona resident for about 60 years, was a commissioner on the Verona Environmental Commission in 2007 and president of the Hilltop Conservancy from 2007 to 2011. She helped Montclair to become the first certified “Wildlife Community” by the National Wildlife Federation, and is involved with The Sierra Club, the Nature Conservancy, the Farmland Trust, the Land Conservancy of New Jersey, the New Jersey chapter of the Audubon Society, the World Wildlife Fund, Riverkeepers, New Jersey Beekeepers Association, among other groups. In 2016, she received the “Outstanding Life Achievement Award” from the Northeast Earth Coalition, and she continues to volunteer at the Hilltop Reservation.

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Shimonaski was on the VEC from 2003 to 2013, serving as chairman for six of those years and earning two state awards during his tenure. He was instrumental in the adoption of Verona’s anti-idling policy, helped to usher recycling into the school systems and helped to draft Verona’s Steep Slope Ordinance, which protects critical lands and erosion throughout town. A graduate of Adephi University who has a masters degree in science from Hofstra, Shimonaski has also been the Township representative at the Essex County Solid Waste Advisory Council and sits on the Public Safety Committee.

Grove Park is a 1.33 acre nature preserve and a historic park that we helped create at 42 Grove Avenue. The site was the homestead of Dr. Henry B. Whitehorne, the namesake of Verona’s original high school and now middle school. The park’s woods are now home to many kinds of wildlife, including red foxes and wild turkeys. In TK, the VEC led a restoration of the lot and the creation of a sustainable nature trail.

Jerry Shimonaski

Jerry Shimonaski (center) served for a decade on the Verona Environmental Commission, including six years as its chairman.

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