D&R Greenway staff viewing the 2017 solar eclipse
Linda J. Mead
President & CEO
Fun Fact: Linda loves to travel and counts among her best wildlife experiences a safari in South Africa where she says, “We got close enough to hear the breath of the lions!”
Linda has led D&R Greenway since 1997 through a period of phenomenal growth, achieving statewide and national recognition. Her vision led to creation of D&R Greenway’s Conservation Campus and its Johnson Education Center that supports land preservation and stewardship, with art galleries and programming that inspire a conservation ethic.
Over more than 30 years, Linda has affected over 20,000 acres of land preservation in Pennsylvania and in New Jersey, a state expected to reach total build-out in 30 years. She is adept at structuring complex land preservation transactions including Greenway Meadows and Coventry Farm in Princeton, and St. Michaels Farm Preserve in Hopewell. Her enthusiasm for fundraising has resulted in significant private/public partnerships to save land, and has ensured a stable organization for the future.
In 2012, Linda founded a national training program co-sponsored by the Land Trust Alliance and Morgan Stanley. She worked on two studies with the National Park Service that achieved designation of National Heritage Areas in PA and NJ. She founded the Delaware River Sojourn and was instrumental in establishing Bucks County’s (PA) Open Space Program. She is a graduate of Rutgers University and formerly worked for the Bucks County Conservancy, now Heritage Conservancy. Linda has spoken on land conservation at national conferences and at universities, and served on several Boards. She is currently on the Land Trust Alliance National Leadership Council and the State of New Jersey Historic Easement Advisory Board. Locally, she is on the Advisory Council for AWE – the Alliance for Watershed Education for the Delaware River Watershed, and the Abbott Marshlands Cooperative Stewardship Council.
Recognition of her work includes the prestigious 2002 International Paper Conservation Partnership Award from The Conservation Fund; the 2013 Environmental Achievement Award from Plan Smart New Jersey; the 2013 Women in Wildlife Leadership Award from Conserve Wildlife New Jersey; the 2014 Zone IV Civic Improvement Commendation Award from the Garden Club of America; the Mercer Women Leaders Environment Award presented in 2017 by Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami Covello; and the YWCA Princeton’s 2018 Tribute to Women Award.
Click below to watch a video from the Princeton YWCA Tribute to learn about Linda Mead’s passion for the work of D&R Greenway Land Trust.
John S. Watson, Jr.
Vice-President of Land Preservation & Stewardship
Fun Fact: Born and raised in Ewing, Jay lives in Lawrenceville and often enjoys the ‘fruits of his labor’ by hiking, birding and biking. He is accomplished at outdoor photography.
Jay came to D&R Greenway in 2010 and is responsible for overseeing and implementing land preservation opportunities and land stewardship of D&R Greenway’s preserves. He led acquisition and development of Capital City Farm in Trenton, one of D&R Greenway’s most visible urban initiatives. Jay also led the construction of the barn and the new bridge at the St. Michaels Farm Preserve, a community conservation project that celebrates rural agriculture.
Prior to D&R Greenway, Jay spent nearly 30 years in various roles in the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). At various times he served as the NJDEP Deputy Commissioner, Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources and Chief of the Green Acres Program, which is recognized as a national model for land preservation and park development. Jay evolved as the agency’s primary specialist and advocate for urban parks and waterfront development initiatives. He represented Governor Jon Corzine on the Delaware River Basin Commission; Co-chaired the New Jersey Invasive Species Council; and served on the NYNJ Harbor Estuary Program Policy Committee. During his tenure with NJDEP, Jay represented the Commissioner on the New Jersey Natural Lands Trust Board of Trustees; The Environmental Justice Advisory Council; the State Agricultural Development Committee; The Garden State Preservation Trust and others.
Jay is a former Trustee of the Princeton Area Community Foundation and currently serves on The Lawrence Hopewell Trail Corporation board and is an enthusiastic member of Trenton Cycling Revolution.
Jay graduated from Mercer County Community College, NJ, and Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida. He is committed to many important environmental, community, and social organizations that promote a healthy and progressive existence in the State of New Jersey.
Land Preservation and Stewardship
In addition to Linda Mead and Jay Watson, who are directly involved with Land Preservation, and other supporting staff, those who are dedicated solely to these responsibilities are noted below.
Site Manager, St. Michaels Farm Preserve
Fun Fact: A committed conservationist who walks the walk, Bill and his family preserved thousands of acres of their family-owned farms known as Princeton Nurseries.
Bill has a background in nursery management, having worked with his family-owned business Princeton Nurseries that supplied the northeastern United States and beyond with landscape plants for generations. When closing the family business, Bill, his siblings and partners made a landmark decision to permanently preserve their family property. In 2012, D&R Greenway recognized the family for this decision with our annual Donald B. Jones Conservation Award. Today, Bill can be seen regularly at our St. Michaels Farm Preserve, where he is responsible for stewardship of the land and trails that are enjoyed by the public. Bill also uses his expertise to assist with D&R Greenway’s Native Plant Nursery and Capital City Farm, as well as stewardship of other D&R Greenway preserves. His other passion is playing bluegrass and country music with a variety of local bands.
Randy Pease, Esq.
Land Preservation Associate
Fun Fact: Randy spends the winters in Florida, enjoying sunsets on the beach.
Randy joined D&R Greenway in 2011, bringing his legal expertise and strong background in land preservation to assist with D&R Greenway’s land preservation opportunities. He graduated from Rutgers – New Brunswick in 1972, and from New York Law School in 1975, clerked for judges of the Superior Court for a year, and then went into private practice in New Jersey, New Hampshire and Vermont. He joined the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office in 1993, representing the Department of Environmental Protection. From 2000 – 2011, he was transactional counsel to the NJ Green Acres Program, and the New Jersey Natural Lands Trust and New Jersey Water Supply Authority, advising and representing the State in over 1,100 acquisitions which invested more than $500 million, preserving in excess of 120,000 acres of land for the State.
Fun Fact: Having a fondness for our six-legged pollinator friends, Diana especially enjoys creating and enhancing meadows for their benefit.
Diana Raichel joined D&R Greenway in 2007 as a Conservation Biologist. She assists with the organization’s stewardship efforts by managing the conservation easement program and working with landowners to protect the conservation values of their properties such as water quality, soil conservation, native plant diversity and wildlife habitats. She also manages many of the preserves and greenways owned by D&R Greenway. Management includes developing, coordinating and implementing various types of ecological restoration and enhancement projects, co-managing a hunting program, and providing for passive recreation and environmental education. Diana has a Master of Science degree in Ecology and Evolution from Rutgers University (“I could read about tardigrades all day,” she says) and a professional background in environmental consulting, natural resource protection, and wetland and habitat restoration.
Johnson Education Center & Facilities Management
Laurie J. Emde
Director of Operations
Fun Fact: Laurie divides her time between New Jersey and Upstate New York where she and her grown family are restoring a 1912 Adirondack Foursquare on Lake Champlain.
Laurie joined D&R Greenway Land Trust in May of 1995. With more than twenty-five years of financial experience and certification in non-profit management, Laurie is responsible for financial and facilities management, office administration, and compliance. Laurie’s responsibilities are multi-faceted, including managing rentals and scheduled events at the Johnson Education Center. She supports the land preservation process and general operations by providing document review and paralegal expertise. Formerly, she was a partner in a family business, Tri-Boy Beverage, Inc.
Active in her local community, Laurie has facilitated the preservation of more than 200 acres in Lawrence Township, NJ. She currently serves as Treasurer for Lawrence Township Conservation Foundation, ex-Chairperson of the Lawrence Township Open Space & Stewardship Advisory Committee, Treasurer for Sustainable Lawrence, and is a voting member of the Mercer County Agricultural Development Board.
Johnson Education Center and Land Stewardship Assistant
Fun Fact: Jeff enjoys hiking, boating and wildlife photography.
Jeff divides his time between on-site event support for JEC rentals and D&R Greenway events, campus and facility maintenance, and land stewardship. He assists the Curator of D&R Greenway’s Marie L. Matthews Gallery with hanging and printing materials for art exhibits. Jeff has an A.S. in Liberal Arts from Mercer County Community College. He joined D&R Greenway Land Trust in February 2006 when he helped D&R Greenway move from a rented house on Canal Road in Griggstown to its permanent home at the Johnson Education Center.
Carolyn Foote Edelmann
Community Relations Associate; Curator, Olivia Rainbow Gallery
Fun Fact: As a former Manhattan food stylist who set up food scenes for commercials, Carolyn tastefully arranges refreshments for events at D&R Greenway’s Johnson Education Center.
In her Community Relations role, Carolyn provides a welcoming and enthusiastic presence for D&R Greenway visitors, in person and on the phone, with emphasis on programs and receptions. In partnership with supporting writer Ilene Dube, Carolyn presents D&R Greenway releases to press and local media, ensuring wide awareness of events in print; she manages all electronic media listings. Having joined D&R Greenway in 2006, Carolyn created and manages the Willing Hands volunteers who assist programs and activities at the Johnson Education Center. She works with Curator Diana Moore to support art exhibitions in the Marie L. Matthews Gallery. As Curator of the Olivia Rainbow Gallery, Carolyn has expanded its reach by involving key regional organizations such as the Arts Council of Princeton and Eden Autism Institute, as well as schools, art teachers and individual student artists. Carolyn reaches out to her multi-state poets’ network to involve poets in creating and reading works inspired by nature.
Curator, Marie L. Matthews Gallery
Fun Fact: Diana grew up in Princeton at Tusculum, the former home of Declaration of Independence signer John Witherspoon.
Diana has curated environmentally themed exhibitions for D&R Greenway since 2011. She embraces the evolving intersection of ecology, art, and activism that enables artists to evoke our deep and complex relationship to the environment. She has experience in biotechnology and is a bioartist working at the overlap of science, ethics, and spirituality. Diana received a BA in Medieval Art from Princeton University where she was a Stanley J. Seeger fellow in Hellenic Studies and holds a Masters in Contemporary Art from Sotheby’s Institute of Art.
Development and Community Relations
Leslie Davis Potter
Director of Development
Fun Fact: When you are out on land you are likely to see Leslie walking hers or someone else’s dog. She seems to know every dog in Hopewell borough and LOVES all dogs!
Leslie Potter became acquainted with D&R Greenway in 2006 when she joined the Hopewell Community Committee to Save St. Michaels. As Director of Development, she is responsible for all D&R Greenway’s fundraising efforts, including our Land for Life initiative. Her love of the land and desire to protect natural spaces in and around Hopewell led her to join D&R Greenway in June 2011 after serving nine years as District Director for Representative Rush Holt’s New Jersey office where she oversaw constituent services, outreach, and the Congressman’s schedule. In this capacity, Leslie worked with municipalities, organizations, and individuals to obtain funding from federal grants, federal appropriations, and private grants. Leslie also brings seventeen years of experience as the former Executive Director for the Planned Parenthood Association of the Mercer Area where she successfully increased annual private fundraising, established a significant endowment and a capital Campaign for the Future, and hosted an annual special event fundraiser. Leslie is active in the Hopewell community, most recently as part of the 125th Anniversary Celebration and the community campout. Leslie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California, and a Master’s degree in Counseling from the Claremont Graduate School.
Executive Assistant and Manager of Business Partners in Preservation and Special Events
Fun Fact: Ask Deb about her interests in eagles, antiques and dancing!
Deb came to D&R Greenway Land Trust in 2011 because she is committed to D&R Greenway’s mission of preserving and protecting natural lands, farm lands, and open space in New Jersey.
Deb’s responsibility for D&R Greenway’s Business Partners in Preservation grew from her former work of 18 years with the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce where her ultimate role was Director of Communications. Deb began her professional career as a Tax Examiner for the Internal Revenue Service. She has subsequently held positions at JDK Restorations; Jones New York; AA Matulay, Inc. and Ethix-Mid Atlantic. She is an accomplished business writer, publicist and editor, as well as skilled in greenhouse management. She studied Business and Photography at Bucks County Community College and later enhanced her skills at the Cittone Institute of Business and Technology.
In her spare time, Deb is the Sole Proprietor of an Antique business with the motto of Recycle, Restore, Relove. Deb maintains a close relationship with the outdoors and nature and enjoys dancing, swimming, gardening, birdwatching, walking and traveling. She is a volunteer for the NJDEP Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Wildlife Conservation Corps, providing updates on the eagles’ nest situated on the transmission tower on the D&R Canal in Lambertville and is a member of the Colonial Sportsmen’s Club in the Sourland Mountains and the Lambertville-based Kalmia Club. On any Saturday morning, you can find Deb with her camera and binoculars watching the wildlife on the canal or perusing local yard sales and antique markets in search of that very special find.
Development and Communications Assistant
Fun Fact: James is a volunteer with the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater and the Beacon Sloop Club, environmental nonprofits dedicated to protection of the Hudson River.
James joined the D&R Greenway staff in December of 2015. He is responsible for database management, website and e-news, and assists with fundraising events, appeals and special campaigns. He has a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and a Masters in Fundraising and Nonprofit Management from Columbia University.
Education and Outreach Support
Fun fact: Susan is the author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes Near Philadelphia
Susan Charkes has been assisting D&R Greenway with various communications projects since 2010. A writer and poet, she is the author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes Near Philadelphia and Outdoors With Kids–Philadelphia. She works in easement stewardship with Brandywine Conservancy, a Pennsylvania-based land conservation organization. She is a long-time volunteer with community environmental organizations in Pennsylvania, has worked as an attorney and in information management, and has been in the nonprofit environmental field since 2006, with prior positions at New Jersey and Maryland organizations. She has served on the Stewardship Council of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Susan holds a BA from The University of Chicago, a JD from Columbia University, and an MLS from Rutgers University. She leads hikes and is a volunteer Appalachian Trail maintainer. See more on her website, www.susancharkes.com.
Ilene Dube became a familiar face at D&R Greenway when, as editor of TIMEOFF at the Princeton Packet, she reviewed exhibits at the Johnson Education Center. She joined D&R Greenway in 2011, writing press releases and articles for our newsletter Greenways, and she oversees the website and electronic communications. When not at D&R Greenway she continues to write about arts and the environment for Philadelphia Public Media WHYY/Newsworks.org, Huffington Post, Princeton and Urban Agenda magazines, Sculpture Magazine, US1, The Princeton Packet and others, and is producing a series of videos about art communities in central New Jersey.
A long-time interest in the environment and gardening led her to establish the West Windsor Community Garden in 2009 and raise two scientists, one a conservation biologist and the other an astronomer. While a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in counseling may seem an unlikely start for the path she has pursued, she says these helped to hone listening skills which is where the telling of all stories begins.
Previously she served as communications manager for the James A. Michener Art Museum and, as president of the West Windsor Arts Council, oversaw the organization grow from an arts council without walls into having a home at the restored Princeton Junction firehouse, with exhibits, live performances and classes and workshops. She has curated exhibits at the Arts Council of Princeton, Historical Society of Princeton, Roosevelt Arts Project and West Windsor Arts Council, where she chaired the exhibitions committee. As an artist she has exhibited at Artworks Trenton, the Monmouth Museum, the Mercer County Artists Show, Grounds For Sculpture, Plainsboro Library, the Arts Council of Princeton, ArtJam and WOW, and in 2013 won a Mercer County Purchase Award.