Our Team

Leadership

Linda J. Mead
President & CEO

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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 Mead’s all-time achievements can be summed up in three words: Preservation, Stewardship, and Inspiration. The 22,000+ acres of land she has worked to preserve and protect are a gift to all of us who live and work in our region. Science tells us preserved land ensures cleaner air, more drinkable water, and the open spaces that will give us a running start in the race against climate change. Her innovative guidance of D&R Greenway from a grassroots organization to a national leader has left a significant impact on our region and beyond.

Mead’s enthusiasm for connecting D&R Greenway’s mission with people’s hearts and minds has resulted in substantial private/public partnerships to protect conservation lands and farms and has ensured a stable organization for the future. Her vision guided the creation of D&R Greenway’s Johnson Education Center in Princeton, NJ, surrounded by Greenway Meadows – whose permanent protection she spearheaded, purchasing the land from the General Robert Wood Johnson estate. Tenacious and determined to solve challenges, she persevered for six years to achieve permanent protection of a former Catholic orphanage in Hopewell; St. Michaels Farm Preserve is now a community asset enjoyed by thousands of people. Lands preserved through her leadership are known throughout New Jersey – from Farm View Fields in Princeton to Point Breeze, the former estate of the exiled King of Spain Joseph Napoleon Bonaparte.  Her current challenge is guiding the strategic vision for a new preserve in honor of Betty Wold Johnson, a renown philanthropist whose sons donated her nearly 800-acre farm to D&R Greenway in 2021.

Nationally, Linda Mead partnered with a financial advisor to cofound an innovative national training program for land trusts and financial experts.  Results include a mountain protected in Alabama and an innovative financing program in Colorado. Mead contributed to two studies that resulted in National Heritage Areas including the Crossroads of the American Revolution in NJ. She shares her visionary leadership sand expertise in structuring multi-party transactions by serving on the National Leadership Council for the Land Trust Alliance, the professional organization for more than 1,000 land trusts in the US.

Linda Mead’s innovative ideas led her to cofound the Delaware River Sojourn, now in its 27th year, and the Bucks County, PA Open Space Program.  She has served on many Boards including Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve and the State of New Jersey Historic Easement Advisory Board. She was a founding member of the Abbott Marshlands Cooperative Stewardship Council and of AWE – the Alliance for Watershed Education for the Delaware River.  She partnered with a national business to publish five 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.  A new tour, Seldom Told Stories along the Delaware River, will be released this fall.

Recognition with the 2022 Innovator of the Year Award by The Princeton-Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce marks the 25th anniversary of Linda Mead’s leadership of D&R Greenway Land Trust. A graduate of Rutgers University, Ms. Mead has lectured on innovative conservation partnerships at the University of Notre Dame, Princeton University, Yale and Rutgers. Past awards include the 2002 International Paper Conservation Partnership Award presented by The Conservation Fund at the National Press Club; the 2004 NJDEP Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence in Open Space Preservation; 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 Award from the Garden Club of America; the 2017 Mercer Women Leaders Environment Award from Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami Covello; and YWCA Princeton’s 2018 Tribute to Women Award. In 2021, the Rotary Club of Montgomery/Rocky Hill, NJ recognized her achievements with a flag flown for 12 days at the national Flags for Heroes celebration at our nation’s Capital.

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.

Deb Kilmer
Executive Assistant to the President & CEO
Manager of Business Partners in Preservation and Special Events

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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 RecycleRestore, 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.

Deb Kilmer
Executive Assistant to the President & CEO
Manager of Business Partners in Preservation and Special Events

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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 RecycleRestore, 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.

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.

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.

Danielle Dobisch
Director of Land Preservation

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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.

Tina Notas
Director of Land Stewardship

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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 Allen
Land Steward

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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.

David Seiler
Land
and Property Steward

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David Seiler is our Land and Property Steward.  He is supporting the care of our preserves and our significant structures to ensure we present our best image to the world.
 
David graduated from Cook College at Rutgers University in environmental science.  He has worked in historic renovations and construction and owned an architectural salvage company. Returning to his love of ecology, he recently completed an internship identifying and managing invasive species with other interns and volunteers for Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space.

David Smithers
Caretaker, St. Michaels Farm Preserve

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David Smither joined D&R Greenway as the caretaker of St. Michaels Farm Preserve in 2022. Dave maintains the preserve for public enjoyment by making sure trails are clear, building and maintaining structures, and caring for trees. Dave has over thirty years’ experience in the automotive industry and is an archery and firearms instructor.

Lara Periard
Seasonal Garden Steward

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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

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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.

Valerie J. Bay
Bookkeeper

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Val joined D&R Greenway in 2016 as a part-time bookkeeper, assisting the Operations Manager. She has an Undergrad degree in Accounting and a Masters in Finance.

She grew up in the countryside of Sergeantsville, NJ, where open space, fields of green and respect for nature are a way of life! Her passion is running. She also enjoys biking, hiking, and kayaking.

Development and Community Relations

Nancy Faherty
Director of Donor and Community Engagement

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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.

Sharon Fink
Database Manager and Website Wizard

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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

Kirsten Clerico
Strategic Community Conservation Fellow and
Outreach and Program Steward

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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!”

Susan Charkes
Writer

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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.

Fabio Yales
Alliance for Watershed Education (AWE) Summer Fellow

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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:

 

2021-2022  Heather Callahan,  Strategic Community Conservation and Bordentown Kayaking Program
2020-2021  Maria Stahl – Strategic Community Conservation, mentorship with LALDEF’s FUTURO students and Bordentown Kayaking Program
2019-2020  Nadeem Demian – Community Conservation, Bordentown Public Art Mural
2016-2017  Kelsey Kane-Ritsch – Abbott Marshlands TravelStorys tours
2015-2016  Allegra Lovejoy – Capital City Farm

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

Land Preserved
320 stories of preservation and 22,000+ protected Acres
Upcoming Events
Dec 04

Art Reception and Book Signing

2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Johnson Education Center, 1 Preservation Place, Princeton and on Facebook Live
  Become Connected to Earth Through Our Upcoming Exhibit: > Read More

Business Partners in Preservation - Leaders