Annual Meeting 2021

With Featured Speaker Stephen Pacala

Monday, April 26, 2021

6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

  • Find out how your support is making an impact in our communities and statewide
  • Learn how our science and policy experts are helping municipalities manage polluted stormwater runoff to improve water quality
  • Help us honor Theodore Chase of Franklin Township, this year’s recipient of the Watershed’s Edmund W. Stiles Award for Environmental Leadership
  • Welcome our new Trustees and say goodbye to departing Trustees

Our guest speaker will be Stephen W. Pacala, a professor of ecology & evolutionary biology, climate change and systems ecology at Princeton University.

Stephen recently chaired a committee of the National Academy of Sciences that investigated the technological and socio-economic goals and near-term actions that can put the United States on the path to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.


Environmental Steward Award

Edmund W. Stiles Award for Environmental Leadership

The Watershed Institute’s Edmund W. Stiles Award for Environmental Leadership is awarded to a community leader who demonstrates outstanding leadership, dedication, and passion in advancing the cause of environmental protection and stewardship. The award is presented in honor of the late Edmund W. (Ted) Stiles, Professor of Ecology at Rutgers University. Among numerous leadership roles, Ted served on the Watershed’s Board of Trustees from 1991-2004, as Board Chair from 1994-1997, and as a member of our Advisory Board until his passing.

Theodore (Ted) Chase, Jr., Franklin Township
Few individuals have dedicated more of their time to their community than Ted Chase. In a nearly 50-year run of volunteer service to Franklin Township, Ted has served on the town’s Zoning Board, which he joined in 1972, Planning Board, Environmental Commission, Open Space Committee, Green Team, Historic Preservation Advisory Commission, and Kingston Village Advisory Committee. Ted was elected Councilman in 2009 and has been re-elected to the position ever since.

Ted has also served as a loyal volunteer for The Watershed Institute, as a StreamWatch water quality monitor since 2005 and as a regular participant at our annual Stream Cleanup events since these annual events began in 2006. He’s served on the Boards of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation and D&R Canal Watch.

Ted grew up in Dover, Mass., and in 1969 moved to Franklin Township to become a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology at Rutgers University’s School of Biological and Environmental Sciences (formerly Cook College at Rutgers University). He taught until 2007 and, although now retired, he still teaches a graduate course. He has been married to his wife, Victory, for more than 50 years. They have two children and two grandchildren.

Nominees for Our Board of Trustees

Danielle Bentsen, M.D.

Danielle is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and she works as a Pediatric Radiologist Consultant. She is Chairwoman of the Board at Princeton Nursery School and Co-Chair of the Lawrenceville Parents Fund at The Lawrenceville School. Danielle is an Alumni of Yale University School of Medicine and Rutgers University. Danielle and her family live in Skillman.

Robert C. Berness

Rob joined the Princeton University Office of General Council in 2007.  He is actively involved in the National Association of College and Univesity Attorneys. Prior to becoming University Counsel at Princeton, Rob was an associate in the Trusts and Estates Group at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York City. He received his J.D., cum laude, from Rutgers School of Law, where he was Research Editor of the Law Review and a member of the Order of the Coif, and his B.A., summa cum laude, from Rutgers College. Rob lives with his family in Hopewell Township.

Ayanna McKay

Ayanna is an attorney with significant trial, appellate, case management, and investigative experience, having worked for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the US EPA, and DC Superior Court. She has been involved with community outreach, development, and volunteer building for The Nature Conservancy and other nonprofit organizations and educational institutions. She is also on the Board of Trenton Circus Squad and the Cornell Black Lawyers Alumni Network. Ayanna is an alumna of Cornell Law School and Wellesley College.  Ayanna lives with her family in Hopewell Township.

Alicia Merse

Alicia is a devoted mother, an advocate for preserving the environment, and is an active participant in the Princeton community. She received a B.S in Accounting from The University of Delaware in 1999 before going on to work in the accounting industry in New York City for ten years. She spent five years at the Assurance and Business Advisory Services practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers, then went on to become the Controller at EquiLend for five years. She resides in Princeton with her husband, Kevin, and their four children. She was first introduced to the Watershed Institute in 2018 when she served on the FEST Committee.  Alicia also volunteers in numerous capacities at the Princeton Day School, The Bedens Brook Club, and Stony Brook Garden Club.

Ari Soroken

A Princeton resident, Ari was instrumental in the success and growth of Bai Brands as its COO and CFO and saw the company through to its acquisition by Dr. Pepper. Today, Ari is a trustee of the Stuart Country Day School where he is chairman of the capital campaign and co-chairs the development committee. Recently, Ari and Janine received the Robert L. Payton award for outstanding voluntary service. Ari is a graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Nominees for Re-election

Jonathan Byrant, Pennington
Committees: Finance
Board Member Since:  2018

Louisa Clayton, Princeton
Committees: Property
Board Member Since:  2018

Patricia (Trish) Shanley, Ph.D., Princeton
Committees: Education & Property

Board Member Since:  2018

Jen Staikos, Vienna, VA
Development, Communications
Board Member Since:  2018

Forwood Cloud (Duke) Wiser III, Monmouth Junction
Committees:  Property
Board Member Since:  2018





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