The New Jersey Keep It Green Coalition was honored in the New Jersey Senate on Thursday with a ceremonial resolution recognizing the innovative land preservation work of the 150-member coalition.

The resolution co-sponsored by Sen. Kip Bateman (R-16) and Sen. Bob Smith (D-17) cites the “vital role” of the coalition in securing long-term preservation funding by dedicating a portion of the corporate business tax specifically to open space, farmland, and historic preservation.

“I’d like to commend the members of the New Jersey Keep It Green coalition for their ongoing and successful campaign to highlight the need for open space preservation throughout our state, and for securing long-term funding through the 2014 ballot measure that was supported overwhelmingly by two-thirds of voters,” said Sen. Bateman, a longtime supporter of open space funding. “We are pleased to recognize Keep It Green’s work on the floor of the New Jersey Senate.”

Municipalities throughout the state also passed resolutions to support Keep It Green’s ongoing preservation work. For a full list of municipalities, click here.

The recognition comes at an important time for the coalition, when money from the voter-dedicated fund is again flowing to government and nonprofit groups for preservation projects after a two-year lapse. In all, about $218 million is expected to be released to preservation programs this year.

The governor in May signed a bill appropriating $60 million to land acquisition, capital projects and stewardship in state parks and wildlife refuges, and bills appropriating $65 million to farmland preservation await his signature. Finally, the Senate was set to vote on a package of preservation bills Thursday that would direct an additional $93 million to local government and nonprofit groups.

“We are honored to be recognized by the New Jersey Senate for the tremendous work of the coalition to ensure that our parks, farms, forests and steams are available for future generations to enjoy,” said Ed Potosnak, chair of NJ Keep It Green. “Our coalition is the most effective preservation and conservation group in the state, and perhaps the country, and we owe our success to our partners, and especially to Keep It Green Coordinator Kelly Mooij.”

The recognition also caps the coalition’s inaugural Open Space Month, celebrated throughout June. Visit @NJKeepItGreen on Facebook for a listing of Open Space Month events, including hikes, kayak trips, family outings, butterfly walks, and guided star gazing evenings. You can also check out @njkeepitgreen on Instagram; tag your nature photos #ShareYourSpaceNJ and enter to win $1,000 for your favorite conservation organization.