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New Jersey Clean Communities Council Recognizes Talena Lachelle Queen with Education Award

PATERSON – June 26, 2018 – Talena Lachelle Queen has received the “Education Award” from the New Jersey Clean Communities Council (NJCCC) for her stellar work as Clean Communities/Recycling Coordinator in Paterson.

Queen is applauded for establishing new municipal programs to encourage recycling and responsible disposal in the area, said NJCCC Executive Director Sandy Huber.

Queen launched a program for Little Free Libraries in Public Parks throughout the city. These libraries give children and adults the chance to easily access books in their neighborhoods. Queen has a passion and drive to share her love for reading.

Queen has also coordinated with local clean communities coordinators to adopt parks where there are also little free libraries.

Queen says that her original goal to bring books to every neighborhood has become so much more. “The Little Free Libraries have become a center of community life. People tell me about ‘their library’ – they feel ownership not only of the box and the books, but of the entire park. We are transforming public spaces as well as building community around reading.”

Queen was nominated by Diane Polifronio, Municipal Recycling Coordinator of Paterson.

“Ms. Queen goes above and beyond what is needed to keep the program going,” Polifronio said. “The parks have never looked better. She has brought back community pride and more awareness of all the beauty in our city.”

“Ms. Queen does readings in the park and they are well attended,” she added. “They love her dedication and they love the clean park where they can spread out blankets, enjoy a reading and have refreshments. She is one of a kind.”

Queen also takes the time to check the libraries and parks to make sure they are stocked and cleaned, Polifronio added.

NJCCC is a comprehensive, statewide litter-abatement program that has served New Jersey residents and visitors for more than 25 years. Learn more at