D&R Greenway Land Trust Announces Gala, Sunday, May 7 at the new Discovery Center at Point Breeze
Presentation of Donald B. Jones Conservation Award to local conservation advocate and
recognition of the Lenape, original inhabitants of the land at Point Breeze
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 27, 2023 ~PRINCETON, NJ – D&R Greenway Land Trust is pleased to announce local conservation advocate, Johan Firmenich, President and Co-Founder, Nature360 Inc. as recipient of the land trust’s 2023 Donald B. Jones Conservation Award. The award ceremony will take place at the annual Greenway Gala on Sunday, May 7, 2023, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. at the new Discovery Center at Point Breeze, 101 Park Street in Bordentown, NJ.
DIRECTIONS: GPS to Divine Word Missionaries, 101 Park Avenue, Bordentown
Preservation of the former estate of Joseph Napoleon Bonaparte, exiled King of Spain and older brother of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte of France, by the State of NJ, City of Bordentown and D&R Greenway in 2020, was heralded in the New York Times, the Times of London and the Spanish News Service. Following two years of renovations by D&R Greenway, the land trust is opening the former Gardener’s House, the only remaining structure from the Bonaparte era, for the first time at the May 7th Gala. Guests will be treated to stories of the Crown Jewels, archaeological displays and a ca. 1819 painting of Joseph Bonaparte in its original frame that has never before been seen in public.
Peter Dawson, Chair, Board of Trustees of D&R Greenway, says, “We are excited to offer this first opportunity to discover a new place that is important in history and as a unique natural area, while recognizing people whose stewardship of land has protected this place and others for generation upon generation.”
Many centuries before Bonaparte lived at Point Breeze, the land was occupied by the Lenape. Chief Red Feather and Jane Walkingstick Roop, whose wood carvings and beadwork is displayed inside the Discovery Center, will join the festivities. Recognition of the Lenape as the Original People of the Lenapekoking (land of the Lenape) will be commemorated with a newly designed flag that recognizes the three Lenape clans: the turkey, the wolf and the turtle. The native peoples are known for their spiritual connection with the natural world that will be recognized in the new Discovery Center.
Celebrating the connection of people to the land and its stewardship, D&R Greenway will present its premiere 2023 Conservation Award to Johan Firmenich in recognition of his leadership in land stewardship. The annual Award is a high honor that stands for personal commitment with on-the-ground results. Johan and his wife Emily transformed their Montgomery Township farm into a native paradise that includes pollinator fields alongside agricultural fields, and woodlands restored with native trees and shrubs that provide critical habitat for wildlife. The Firmenich’s have hosted gatherings at their farm to demonstrate their native habitat and talk about the stewardship process. Johan also co-led D&R Greenway’s Land for Life campaign that established its Revolving Land Fund. To date, the Fund has protected close to a dozen properties.
Johan Firmenich shares his story, “My interest in land preservation was motivated by the farm Emily and I purchased 11 years ago. We have always felt so fortunate for the people who came before us and had the foresight to preserve the land and home we love. My family and I were direct beneficiaries of these gifts and I want to leave a similar impact for future generations.”
He continues, “After living on our farm a couple years, we began work to rehabilitate our 10-acre forest. The space was overgrown with invasive species, brambles, and trees hung with vines. Initially we thought it was hopeless but with a lot of time, effort and patience, the forest is now truly a magical place. It is a sanctuary for my entire family and what I have learned and experienced I want to share with other people to benefit their own properties.”
Members of the public are invited to the Gala for an exclusive first-hand tour of the new Discovery Center and Historic Garden, a special opportunity to celebrate the land in a historic garden party setting, view art and never-before-seen exhibits and a Delaware River sturgeon sculpture by artist Kate
Graves. Internationally-flavored musical entertainment will be provided by Bronwyn Bird & Justin Nawn of the Bird House Center for the Arts located in Lambertville, NJ.
Admission is by advance ticket or sponsorship purchase by May 3, CLICK HERE or call (609) 924-4646. Gala sponsorships and tickets benefit D&R Greenway’s conservation of this historic and ecologically sensitive property.
D&R Greenway Land Trust is an accredited nonprofit that has reached a new milestone of over 22,000 acres of land preserved throughout central New Jersey since 1989. By protecting land in perpetuity and creating public trails, it gives everyone the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. The Land Trust’s preserved farms and community gardens provide local organic food for residents of the region—including those most in need. Through strategic land conservation and stewardship, D&R Greenway combats climate change, protects birds and wildlife, and ensures clean drinking water for future generations. D&R Greenway’s mission is centered on connecting land with people from all walks of life.
D&R Greenway’s outdoor trails and labyrinth are open. Visit our Facebook and Instagram pages and www.drgreenway.org to learn about our latest news and other programs and events. D&R Greenway Land Trust, One Preservation Place, Princeton NJ 08540. The best way to reach D&R Greenway staff is by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling D&R Greenway at 609-578-7470.