PrincetonScoop’s Outstanding Non-Profits in the Greater Princeton Area: In Conversation with Linda Mead, CEO of D&R Greenway Land Trust
1. What is the cause/mission of your organization?
D&R Greenway’s mission is to preserve and conserve land, as well as to inspire people to participate in the conservation effort. We strongly believe that land is the basis of all life and that it is the key to a healthy and diverse environment. Working in seven counties in New Jersey, including Mercer County, we have successfully preserved 19,000 acres of land (including watersheds, large-scale landscapes, and farmland), preventing its loss to development.
Beyond preserving land, D&R Greenway strives to engage the community members to advocate for their own environment. Through various educational and professional programs, we aim to teach people how to appropriately use land, to promote eco-friendly policies and to inspire greater appreciation for the natural world!
2. What is the history or background of your organization?
D&R Greenway was founded by the leaders of a number of separate environmental and land preservation organizations, who were concerned about the extinction of New Jersey’s open spaces. In 1989, D&R officially became of nonprofit and was originally committed to protecting waterways. Since then it has expanded greatly in the size and scope of its mission.
3.What do you think sets your organization apart from others similar to it?
One of the most unique things about D&R Greenway is the creative ways in which we engage people in our mission. We offer a number of diverse programs and special events that bring people of different backgrounds and interests together in the shared desire to protect our environment. Another thing that is special about D&R Greenway is our reputation. We have a legitimate track record of achieving our goals and many people know and respect us for that.
4. What are some specific goals your want to achieve through the work of your organization?
One of our goals includes restoring the biodiversity of the region. The nursery at our Princeton headquarters grows a variety of plants native to Central New Jersey. Utilizing indigenous plants can be very beneficial for our environment as they contribute to the health of the land and wildlife. We also offer these plants for sale to the public so that people can help contribute to restoring biodiversity in their own backyards. For more information on plant sales go to: http://drgreenway.org/PlantSales.html
5. What are some of your fundraising events or other special events?
We host multiple fundraising and educational events throughout the year. Some of our big ones include the “Greenway Gala” honoring those individuals and businesses that do exceptional work in preservation. At the Johnson Educational Center we have art exhibitions throughout the year as well as lecture series by experts in issues such as climate change. Find more information on D&R Greenway events at http://drgreenway.org/public_programs.htm.
6. What is the best way for people to get involved with, volunteer or support your organization?
We offer multiple opportunities for people to get involved with D&R Greenway. We have volunteers that work in a variety of different areas from our native plant nursery to building trails in our community. We are always in need of passionate individuals to offer their time and skills. Find more information on volunteer opportunities here: http://drgreenway.org/volunteer.html.
Monetary donations are also greatly appreciated as well as simply coming to one of our events! All members of the community are always welcome and encouraged to come to our Johnson Educational Center in Princeton to learn more about our work.
As told to Carolyn Walsh for PrincetonScoop