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 regularly speaks on land preservation and conservation finance at the University of Notre Dame, and has been a guest lecturer at Princeton University, Yale University and other educational institutions, state and national conferences. She has served on several Boards including Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve and the Bucks County Open Space Board. She is currently on the Land Trust Alliance National Leadership Council and the State of New Jersey Historic Easement Advisory Board. Locally, she was a founding member of the Advisory Council for AWE – the Alliance for Watershed Education for the Delaware River Watershed, and serves on 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. Her innovative community conservation work at St. Michaels Farm Preserve in Hopewell was also recognized in 2019 by the Rotary Club of Princeton when a former resident of St. Michaels Orphanage spoke about the holistic healing that is happening thanks to the inclusive narrative of this work. In 2021, the Rotary Club of Montgomery/Rocky Hill, NJ recognized her achievements with a flag flown for 12 days in June in the Flags for Heroes celebration.
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.
Executive Assistant to the President & CEO
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.
Land Preservation and Stewardship
Linda Mead brings over 30 years of experience in acquiring land and easements to directing D&R Greenway’s Land Preservation work. She is assisted by staff and expert advisors who have the financial and legal skills to enable complicated and beneficial land transactions. In addition, those who are dedicated solely to these responsibilities are noted below.
Director of Land Preservation
Fun Fact: Danielle is an avid baker; for the past three years she has baked cookies for an annual historic tractor parade in Burlington County. Last summer, she baked over 500 cookies!
Danielle oversees land preservation for D&R Greenway’s properties where she partners with the state, counties and townships to preserve lands for open space and farmland. Danielle has been preserving farmland for almost 15 years in Burlington County, NJ and Montgomery County, PA. She is a Penn State Extension Rural-Urban Leadership Program (RULE) graduate. She has negotiated with landowners, worked with appraisers and technical consultants, monitored easements, administered a county program, and created farm-to-table outreach events and marketing materials. She received a Bachelors of Science degree from the Stockton University. When not walking around on farms, she’s chasing after her little superhero, her son Brandon.
Director of Land Stewardship
Fun Fact: In college, Tina hiked the Adirondacks, Catskills, and the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge surveying trees.
Tina oversees the stewardship of D&R Greenway’s preserved properties where she manages reforestation efforts along with the Stewardship Team. Previously, Tina founded the Office of Sustainability at Drew University, where she spent over a decade tracking and working to reduce the carbon footprint. She also managed trees on the extensively forested campus, as well as the creation of native no-mow areas and meadows and managed the annual fern restoration event with student and faculty involvement. She has worked extensively with contractors and coordinated grants with the development office. Tina regularly presents to the local community to educate about conservation and sustainability. Tina received a Bachelors of Science degree from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
Richard is joining us with a background as a Rutgers Master Gardener, Certified Rutgers Environmental Steward, and the trail coordinator for the Abbott Marshlands trail network.
Land and Property Steward
Seasonal Garden Steward
Lara Periard is our seasonal Garden Steward. She is involved in establishing the new garden at Point Breeze; helping out at the Sharing Garden at St. Michaels Farm Preserve; and assisting at the Native Plant Nursery.
Lara spent five years working at Chickadee Creek, a local, organic farm, where she managed field crops and irrigation, and all aspects of greenhouse operation. She was a farmers’ market lead for four years, working directly with customers and building relationships. While at Chickadee Creek, Lara managed germination chambers, heat mats, propane heating, greenhouse plastic repairs, seeded vegetable and flower crops, managed pests and diseases, fertilized, sanitized trays, mixed potting medium according to formula.
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, ex-Treasurer for Sustainable Lawrence, and is a voting member of the Mercer County Agricultural Development Board.
Development and Community Relations
Director of Donor and Community Engagement
Fun fact: Goat Hill Overlook is Nancy’s go-to vista for inspiration and strength.
Nancy Faherty is a public relations consultant with more than 30 years experience working with organizations in the areas of marketing, communications, programming and development. A 1989 graduate of the College of New Jersey, Nancy was presented with its Humanitarian Award in 2005 for her work with Angel’s Wings, a non-profit organization she co-founded in 1999 to care for children in crisis while developing foster families. She built upon that work from 2012-2018 as Director of Advocacy & Development at YWCA Princeton. Born in Trenton, Nancy currently lives along the Delaware River in Lambertville with her husband, Flip. They recently took up kayaking as they learn more about the 2020 River of the Year and the lands surrounding it. Nancy was a participating artist in the 2020 Jim Hamilton Memorial Shad Fest Poster Auction which funded two local scholarships despite the challenges of the pandemic.
Database Manager and Website Wizard
Fun Fact: During Zoom calls, Sharon’s parrots sometimes…usually participate!
Sharon comes to D&R Greenway with an extensive background in business management and administration through her long-time involvement as a senior vice president and founding member of several area community banks. She is happy to be contributing to D&R Greenway’s mission in her role as Database Manager and Website Wizard, drawing on her previous experience in marketing, administration, and new product development to bring consistency to donor data collection, maintenance and reporting, as well as developing new content and improving functionality of the D&R Greenway website. She has also served on the board and as Chair of a number of local nonprofit organizations.
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.
Strategic Community Conservation Fellow and
Outreach and Program Steward
Kirsten Clerico is a recent graduate from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey where she studied Environmental Policy, Institutions, and Behavior with a minor in Sustainability. Kirsten will serve as D&R Greenway’s Outreach and Program Steward where she will work on developing constant contact announcements, assist with the kayak program, and be a friendly face when visitors come to the Johnson Education Center. Kirsten will utilize the leadership and communication skills she has gained from being a lifelong Somerset County 4H Member to further D&R Greenway’s mission. Kirsten has also worked at Round Valley Recreation Area in Lebanon, NJ as a Visitor Service Assistant.
Kirsten notes: “I am very excited to be working with D&R Greenway as they are such an amazing organization that truly promotes environmental stewardship and well-being. I wanted my first job to make me feel like I was truly having an impact on the environment and people’s experiences and attitudes toward it, and I feel like this position will be perfect to reach that goal!”
Strategic Community Conservation, AlumniCorps Project 55 Fellow and
Ayame notes: “I’m thrilled that my work with D&R Greenway will give me a chance to engage a wide range of my skills and experience, –from art to historical research and writing to volunteer work– and to contribute to the amazing preservation work being done here in New Jersey.”
Alliance for Watershed Education (AWE) Summer Fellow
Fabio Yales was the competitive winner of the AWE Summer Fellowship in 2021, and is returning this summer to D&R Greenway and Mercer County’s Tulpehaking Nature Center as an AWE fellow. Among the goals of the AWE Fellowship is introducing young people from diverse communities to the field of environmental science, to encourage future careers. Fabio will assist with the D&R Greenway kayak program, whose goal is to increase engagement between the Delaware River and people in the community who lack the resources to interact with it. Another project he will be involved in is helping out at Capital City Farm, where the majority of the produce is donated to the Trenton Soup Kitchen, and people are welcome to harvest their own vegetables.
Fabio said, “Last year, I had an incredible experience immersing myself into a field that was new to me, and this year I am excited to pick up where I left off. My favorite part about being a fellow is that I have the opportunity to make an impact in my community while being close to nature. My goal for the summer is to take advantage of this amazing opportunity and further explore my interest in the environment.”
In 2019, Fabio’s photography art helped inform D&R Greenway’s Delaware River mural project on the kayak storage trailer at Bordentown Beach. Fabio will work with D&R Greenway into late August.
Special thanks to our prior AlumniCorps Project 55 Fellows for their legacy work: