D&R Greenway News

Linda Mead, President & CEO, Recognized as Innovator of the Year by the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber

D&R Greenway Land Trust
Linda Mead, President & CEO
recipient of the
Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber’s
2022 Innovator of the Year Award

(l) Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber Board Chair William Rue and President and CEO Hal English present Linda Mead with the Innovator of the Year Award. Photo by Mike Sabo of Pulse Media

Linda’s innovation and passion for the land has led to numerous preservation achievements for D&R Greenway over the years.

“It is an especially significant honor to be recognized by the business community for the entrepreneurial innovations that are the hallmark of D&R Greenway.  Our mission is my life’s passion.  The opportunity to work with outstanding colleagues and partners to preserve land, care for its resources and inspire others is meaningful and worthwhile.” ~Linda Mead, President & CEO

“Linda Mead most definitely has earned the title of Innovator for her 25 years of leadership and accomplishment. The Board of Trustees is proud to have her as our President and CEO. This award from the broader business community is a wonderful way to start out the holiday season!” ~Peter Dawson, D&R Greenway Land Trust Board Chair

Linda shares her innovative expertise in structuring land preservation and overseeing one of the most effective land trusts in the country by serving on the State of New Jersey Historic Easement Advisory Board and the National Land Trust Alliance Leadership Council.

She has made an impact in the Delaware River Watershed in both NJ and PA as co-founder of the Delaware River Sojourn, the Bucks County (PA) Open Space Program, and the Abbott Marshlands Cooperative Stewardship Council.

Linda partnered with a national business to publish six audio tours accessed on the free TravelStorys app. D&R Greenway’s Healing Trails tour inspired similar tours in hospitals for healthcare workers during the pandemic; and, a tour birthed during the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote highlights Women in Conservation.

“Linda Mead and her team are at the top of my list of great local conservation organizations, and we work with many. D&R Greenway is one of the most creative conservation organizations I have ever known. They inspire their audiences by finding innovative ways of creating connections to place.”  Story Clark, founder, TravelStorys.

Take a few moments to enjoy Linda’s remarks from the Award Ceremony ~

THANK YOU – to the Chamber for the honor of this Innovation Award!

I have to tell you – I’ve been called a lot of things, but this is my FAVORITE!

I want to:

THANK my Innovation Team:

My family for sharing my time with the world and especially my husband Steve Mead who comes up with innovative ideas, like:

Question: How much land has D&R Greenway preserved?

Answer: More than the world’s two smallest countries combined!

I am grateful for:

My BOARD members and the Chair of D&R Greenway’s Board of Trustees: Peter J. Dawson

It really takes a partnership with Board and Staff leadership willing to bounce ideas off each other – and willingness to call out the crazy ones – and support the good ones – that allows us to achieve RESULTS – and yes, those results benefit every person in this room with fresh air and clean water – and great places to give yourself the gift of a walk on our preserves!

We couldn’t do our work without our:

Business Partners, Donors, Friends and Loyal Staff: it really does take a village to make ideas take shape and turn dreams into reality! Our innovations turn into Successes thanks to you – Hip Hip Hooray!

Innovation means finding new ways to do things. It requires ideas, ingenuity, problem-solving with inspiration that makes the light go on over your head!

At the dawn of the turn of the century – the Millenium – I attended a program with the leader of the Program on Conservation Innovation at Harvard. I’ll never forget his challenge. He said:

The last century brought us America’s National Parks. What will be the conservation innovation of this coming century?

So let me tell you what came out of that.

Here’s a top five list of Innovations by D&R Greenway

Sister Land Trusts – the birds that breed in central NJ fly to central America in the winter,
so in 2004 we created a partnership with sister land trusts in Mexico and Guatemala.

Linda Mead with sister land trust partners includes (middle)
Dr. Gerardo Ceballos, a world-class jaguar expert from the
University of Mexico, and to his right Ximena de la Macorra
from Amigos de Calakmul and Federico Fahsen,
a coffee grower and leader in Guatemala

Standing on top of a Mayan pyramid in the Yucatan in 2004 are Bill Rawlyk, Joyce Copleman,
Mary Penney, Laurie Emde, Cate Litvack, Linda Mead, Emily Goldman, Chuck Hartman

Land College – land trusts preserve land, landowners need financial advice, and so in 2012, we established
a “college” that brought financial advisors and land trusts together to solve problems: results include
a preserved mountain in Alabama, a new way of managing land endowments in Colorado, and a
partnership to feed people in California!

Linda Mead with 25-year partner in preservation, Wade Martin

Seeds for 9-11In 2011, we pioneered growing native wildflowers on our Hopewell preserve to harvest
seeds planted to beautify the FreshKills Landfill on Staten Island, where the remains from 9-11 rest.

13 species of wildflowers and native grasses growing at St. Michaels
Farm Preserve, in an area now transformed into our Community and Sharing Gardens

Discovery Center at Point Breeze – our newest public space will tell stories of the Lenape and of an
exiled King and of an order of priests who called this land in Bordentown home before we joined with
the City’s Mayor Lynch – and the NJ Green Acres Program to preserve it on December 18, 2020.

A new front door and welcoming lights have been installed at The Discovery Center!

Football Owners Punt their Mother’s 800-Acre Farm to D&R Greenway – on December 30th, 2021,
Jets owners Woody and Christopher Johnson showed their faith in D&R Greenway when they gifted us
Betty Wold Johnson’s awe-inspiring property to preserve forever. This magnificent land is truly like a
National Park in our own backyard
-and it will take lots of innovation and support to do it right!

As I conclude -I think I can give you something to think about that will AMAZE YOU!

IMAGINE THIS!! D&R Greenway has preserved 22,000 acres of land. Let’s put that into perspective:


  • The size of the banquet room we are gathered in is 8,000 square feet. Congrats to the Princeton-Mercer Chamber for filling this space!
  • One acre of LAND = 43,560 square feet. So….
  • A One Acre Banquet Room would be 5 and a ½ Xs larger than the room you are in now.


  • D&R Greenway has permanently preserved – forevermore – 22,000 acres of land in New Jersey – most of it right here in central NJ –
  • The square footage of 22,000 acres = 958,320,000 square feet or almost 120,000 Xs the size of the banquet hall you are sitting in right now!

AND – Drumroll please!

  • If there are 250 people here today…
  • Our 22,000 Acre Banquet Hall could be filled with 30 Million People!!
    • Now that’s a networking event!

Celebrating 25 Years of Innovation

A group of D&R Greenway trustees celebrated Linda Mead’s 25th anniversary with D&R Greenway by presenting her with an original painting by artist James Fiorentino.  From left to right: Diana Moore, Wendy Kvalheim, Jeanne Perantoni, Michael Kunst, James Fiorentino, Adrian Huns, Linda Mead, Michael Bramnick, Chair of Board Peter Dawson, Ken Guilmartin, Heather McCusker. (Summer 2022).

Linda’s all-time achievements can be summed up into three words:
Preservation, Stewardship, and Innovation

Linda’s innovative ideas are a gift to all of us, with over 22,000 acres (so far)of open space to enjoy, healthy food, fresh air and clean drinking water.


Click here to watch Linda’s interview with Princeton TV on Mercer County Influencers
The Chamber asked Linda: If you could invite anyone to dinner, who would it be? Her answer:
Envision a dinner party with ghosts of Henry David Thoreau, Robert Frost, Aldo Leopold,
Mary Oliver and Betty Wold Johnson, discussing Mary’s most important question:

“What is it you plan to do (did) with your one wild and precious life?”

That’s it, a perfect place to land. 

About D&R Greenway Land Trust

D&R Greenway Land Trust, an accredited non-profit organization, has saved over 22,000 acres of land in New Jersey since 1989. We help provide healthy food and clean drinking water for our communities, natural refuge for birds and wildlife, and trails to connect people with the great outdoors. Our preserves and programs inspire people to care about conservation. Visit our Facebook and Instagram pages and www.drgreenway.org to learn more.

Our Mission: To Preserve & Care for Land and Inspire a Conservation Ethic, Now and Forever

Land Preserved
323 stories of preservation and 22,000+ protected Acres
Upcoming Events
Mar 10

Visit D&R Greenway’s Land, Light, Spirit Art Exhibit – Now through March 10, 2023

Weekdays 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Johnson Education Center, 1 Preservation Place, Princeton; Books & Art Available for Sale
Become Connected to Earth Through Our Exhibit     > Read More

Business Partners in Preservation - Leaders