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.

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.

Rick Lear
Senior Director of Land Protection and Planning

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Fun Fact: Rick has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail…… in New Jersey! All 72.2 miles from the Delaware Water Gap to Greenwood Lake.  Although New Jersey doesn’t have the highest peaks along the Appalachian Trail, it has some amazing scenery.

Rick joins D&R Greenway after 17 years with the Middlesex County Office of Parks and Recreation where he served as Director of Parks and Chair of the Open Space Advisory Board since 2015. He created the Middlesex County Conservation Corps in 2006 to help steward over 8,000 acres of open space and 35-miles of trails in the County. Rick started his environmental career with the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association (now the Watershed Institute) as an Education Intern in 1994 and joined full-time in 1996. He holds a B.S. in Natural Resources – Fisheries and Wildlife Management from Oregon State University and will oversee easement monitoring, new acquisitions and assist with the planning for Hillside Farm with D&R Greenway.

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.

Dan Kapner
Land and Trail Steward

Carley Lebowitz
Land and Trail Steward

David Smithers
Caretaker, St. Michaels Farm Preserve

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David Smithers 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.

The Discovery Center and Historic Garden at Point Breeze

Melanie Mead, M.Ed.
Public Management
The Discovery Center at Point Breeze

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Fun fact:  A year of Melanie‘s life was spent in India, over three different visits to various regions.  Her glasses were taken by monkeys there more than once!  

Melanie was raised with a deep respect for nature and passion for environmental protection. An ever-growing personal interest in cultural studies, philosophy, and human rights issues fueled her studies from undergrad onwards. This brought her into a variety of life and work experiences, from social services to teaching and educational services. For fifteen years, Melanie lived in the Southwest and recently returned to her roots in the Northeast. Excited to join the mission of preservation at the D&R Greenway, Melanie is grateful for the chance to be a part of the new Discovery Center at Point Breeze which honors a very unique historical landscape. Her past experiences, leading a trailside nature museum as well as providing guest and membership services at a children’s museum, have given her a vested interest in museum education. Melanie is a life-long learner with a Master of Education degree in Human Relations and Public Management from Northern Arizona University.

Brooke McMinn
Lead Gardener
Historic Garden at Point Breeze

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Fun fact:  Brooke is a nationally-ranked Olympic weightlifter with USA Weightlifting.

Brooke is a botanist who specializes in exploring intersections of plant ecology and human society. As a consultant with D&R Greenway, Brooke oversees the Historic Garden at Point Breeze and assists with other conservation design and mapping projects. A graduate of Rutgers University’s Department of Plant Science and former plant breeding researcher there, Brooke has served as Executive Director for the NJ Agricultural Society, President of the Environmental Education Association of Alabama, Director of Education and Visitor Experience at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, and Horticultural Agent for Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Burlington County.

 Johnson Education Center & Facilities Management

Laurie J. Emde
Chief Financial Officer

Congratulations on your Retirement! Thank you for your 29 years of service to D&R Greenway, it won’t be the same here without you! Your dedication helped us bring a small nonprofit with an office in a rented house to become a nationally recognized and accredited land trust. All of us wish you a wonderful future filled with amazing opportunities and many memorable moments!

 

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 of 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 is a participating artist in The Jim Hamilton Memorial Shad Fest Poster Auction, which funds local scholarships while calling attention to the vibrant arts community in Lambertville and New Hope.

Sharon Fink
Donor Database, Website and Online Services

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Fun Fact:  During Zoom calls, Sharon’s parrots sometimes…usually participate!

Sharon comes to D&R Greenway with a background in business management and administration through her long-time involvement in several local community banks. She is happy to be contributing to D&R Greenway’s mission of preserving land and providing open space locally and accessibly for everyone to enjoy! On any given day, all year round, in person or virtually, anyone can “get lost in the woods”, breathe and just be…

Education and Outreach Support

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.

Special thanks to our prior AlumniCorps Project 55 Fellows for their legacy work:

2022-2023 Kirsten Clerico, Rutgers Strategic Community Conservation Fellow and Outreach/Program Steward
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

2022 Alliance for Watershed Education (AWE) Summer Fellow – Fabio Yales

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

Land Preserved
328 stories of preservation and 22,222+ protected Acres
Upcoming Events
Jul 28

Kayaking on the Delaware Tributaries!

Saturday, July 20 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm; Sunday, July 21 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm; Sunday, July 28 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Launching from Bordentown Beach, Bordentown, NJ

Click HERE to reserve your seat for our July, > Read More

Sep 27

Along the Delaware River & Crosswicks Creek Group Art Exhibition

Monday - Friday 10 am - 4 pm
Johnson Education Center, 1 Preservation Place, Princeton, NJ

Dive into a world of creativity and nature at > Read More

Business Partners in Preservation - Leaders