When we talk about open space, beautifying our parks, limiting development, building more trails and generally making a difference environmentally in Robbinsville, no conversation is really complete without Tomm May.
Thomas J. May was a dedicated scientist and township resident whose devotion to environmental causes was instrumental in preserving the quality of life as a soil scientist and senior geologist with New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. For many years, Tomm was a valued member of township’s Environmental Commission, where he generously gave his time and educated the public until his untimely death on Oct. 16, 1988. Tomm’s friends, neighbors, colleagues, family members, and local civic organizations all donated funds, time and energy in order to create The Tomm May Nature Trail at Tantum Park in his memory, and we could not think of a finer tribute.
On Saturday, Oct. 6, the 25th Annual Tomm May 5-Mile and Kids’ Fun Run will be held at Tantum. Registration begins at 8:30, with events starting at 10 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. There will be a DJ and other activities for the kids, along with free breakfast and lunch and prizes for the for top men and women finishers in each age category. The five-mile course is certified and online registration is still underway at robbinsville.net/recreation.
Janet Van Nest, honored by the township in 2016 for her four decades of activism, started the annual event upon May’s tragic death. Maintenance of the nature trail, which also came to fruition thanks in large part to the efforts of Van Nest, is provided by the township.
In the late 1970s, rural Washington Township (now Robbinsville) was under consideration to be used as a landfill site for hazardous waste. May successfully presented scientific data demonstrating that local water table, soil characteristics, and area demographics made a landfill proposal dangerous to local inhabitants. This information, along with the concern of township residents and the environmental commission, stopped development of the landfill project.
May didn’t stop there. He worked diligently to educate others about environmental conservation through public lectures and encouraged the creation of recycling programs by local communities, industries and individuals.
May, himself a runner, was a graduate of the Peddie School and received a bachelor of science degree in geology and soil science (with the emphasis on ground water pollution studies) from Rider University. At the time of his death, he was pursuing a doctorate in civil engineering. Tomm was admired for his kindness, faithful example, tireless energy and genuine concern for the good of all mankind.
On Oct. 6, we are proud to join Tomm’s family and many friends in celebrating his life and legacy.
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Thank you to the Village of Windsor and planners of the Sept. 29 bicentennial celebration for organizing such a wonderful event.
Windsor and its history play such a pivotal role in the lives we all enjoy today in Robbinsville, and we are so appreciative of the efforts of Janice Ford, the Windsor Historical Committee and all the residents of the village for a great day filled with incredible memories.
Dave Fried is the mayor of Robbinsville.