Princeton, N.J. — June 23, 2020 — Mentoring future environmental leaders to carry on their preservation mission is crucial to D&R Greenway Land Trust. The nationally-accredited nonprofit has preserved 21,000 acres of land in New Jersey in 31 years. This week, D&R Greenway bids farewell to their 2019/2020 Community Conservation Fellow, Nadeem Demian. Princeton University Class of 2019, Nadeem’s degree is in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, with a certificate in Environmental Studies.
The year-long fellowship is awarded to exceptional Princeton University graduates, interested in learning leadership skills with nonprofit organizations. The program is managed by Princeton AlumniCorps’ “Project 55”, –launched in 1989, year of D&R Greenway’s founding-, by the Class of ’55. The program “connects talented Princeton graduates with some of the most effective and innovative public interest organizations around the United States.” Program leadership invited D&R Greenway to participate five years ago, when their students expressed heightened interest in learning from a local environmental nonprofit.
Born in Amman, Jordan, Nadeem has lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania most of his life. His wide-ranging talents continually expanded the land trust’s stewardship reach, well beyond the land trust’s Conservation Campus, where he lived during his fellowship year. A natural leader, Nadeem’s contributions were particularly noteworthy in the realm of audience-building. He arrived especially drawn to outreach involving diverse communities with D&R Greenway’s mission of commitment to the natural world. Nadeem’s electronic communication skills considerably enhanced D&R Greenway’s transitioning of scheduled programs to significant virtual events mandatged by the COVID pandemic. Nadeem’s technical support for D&R Greenway’s virtual Gala in May helped raise sixty-thousand dollars to support stewardship, as well as expand two major regional bird habitats. He was instrumental in designing virtual formats for D&R Greenway art exhibits. Nadeem‘s geo-spatial analysis of D&R Greenway’s audience database continues to support future focused programming.
Nadeem may best be remembered for his designing and managing the upcoming Kayak Education Program at Bordentown Beach, on the Delaware River’s New Jersey banks. He coordinated the multi-level project with renowned Princeton mural artist Marlon Davila, and Tulia Jimenez-Vergara and Anna Obika and the students of Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund [LALDEF] through their high school mentorship program, Futuro, Student concepts and images are woven into the vivid mural honoring the Delaware, to be completed by the Fourth of July. The public is welcome to visit Bordentown Beach to oversee its progress, observing all social distancing requirements, including face masks.
Linda Mead, President & CEO and Nadeem Demian, Community Conservation Fellow, of D&R Greenway,
at the Delaware River Mural, Bordentown Beach, as it’s nearing completion. (D&R Greenway image)
D&R Greenway CEO & President, Linda Mead declares, “Nadeem’s most significant contribution, launching the new Kayak-supported Education Program at Bordentown Beach, brought us farther than I ever imagined. It has been magical to watch this public art mural come into being. Nadeem is a future leader who holds community and conservation in his heart. Our D&R Greenway staff will miss him. We can’t wait to see the effects of his civic leadership in the years ahead.”
Noting that this is the third Fellow that D&R Greenway has hosted in partnership with Princeton University, she adds, “As a long-time leader recognized for our innovative and impactful programs, D&R Greenway has a responsibility to ensure the future of conservation, not only in perpetuity through preservation and care of land, but also by inspiring a conservation ethic in young people who will take on leadership positions in our region and in our country in twenty years.”
To follow in Nadeem’s effective footsteps, is Project 55 Fellow Maria Stahl, Princeton Class of 2020. She achieved her B.A. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, summa cum laude, at the University’s virtual May Commencement. As a sophomore in 2018, Maria earned the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence. Having grown up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Maria reports that regular field trips with its Urban Ecology Center proved “formative in my appreciation of the value of natural spaces in urban environments.” An outdoor club leader at the university, Maria’s winning interview with Linda Mead revealed that “a canoe trip was life-changing, truly a watershed moment in my thinking and future career choice.”
D&R Greenway Land Trust, an accredited nonprofit, is close to reaching a new milestone of 21,000 acres of land preserved since 1989. By preserving land for life 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 our neighbors—including those most in need. Through strategic land conservation and stewardship, it combats climate change, protect birds and wildlife, and ensure clean drinking water for future generations. D&R Greenway’s Johnson Education Center in Princeton is home to art galleries and presentations that celebrate the natural world and inspire a conservation ethic. D&R Greenway’s mission is centered in connecting land with people from all walks of life.
D&R Greenway Land Trust, One Preservation Place, Princeton NJ 08540 609.924.4646 is currently closed due to COVID-19. Visit www.drgeenway.org to learn more.
D&R Greenway is committed to providing the benefits of a clean and healthy environment to all people who live in the region. Funding is provided by the William Penn Foundation and the Alliance for Watershed Education (AWE) for the Delaware River.