Nonprofit Profile: N.J. Conservation Foundation, preserving resources

From our print edition

By ROI-NJ Staff
Far Hills | Nov 15, 2017 at 1:24 pm

Origin

New Jersey Conservation Foundation was founded in 1960 as the Great Swamp Committee during the successful battle by local citizens to save the Great Swamp in Morris and Somerset counties from being developed as an international airport. In 1965, we expanded our reach and became the North Jersey Conservation Foundation and, in 1974, we became the New Jersey Conservation Foundation to reflect our growing statewide focus.

Mission

New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s mission is to preserve land and natural resources throughout New Jersey for the benefit of all.

As a statewide conservation leader, we:

  • Protect natural areas and farmland through land acquisition and stewardship;
  • Promote strong New Jersey land use policies;
  • Forge partnerships to help safeguard clean drinking water and other natural resources.

Goals

In the coming year, we will work to complete many land preservation projects that are “in the pipeline,” including the establishment of a new 1,000-plus acre preserve in the Sourland Mountains of central New Jersey and the protection of family farms in the Delaware Bayshore, New Jersey’s agricultural heartland. We will also continue to protect habitat for a diversity of New Jersey’s native plant and animal species.

Programs

Our land acquisition program preserves farmland and natural areas throughout the state, often in partnership with local and county governments, the New Jersey Green Acres Program and State Agriculture Development Committee, and federal conservation programs. Our policy staff advocates for strong land conservation policies at the local, state and federal levels. Our stewardship team cares for over 25,000 acres of conservation lands, protecting the habitats of many rare plant and animal species.

Achievements

In 2016, we preserved more than 3,200 acres of open space and farmland in several New Jersey regions, including the Pine Barrens, Delaware Bay Watershed, Highlands and Sourland Mountains. This year, we celebrated the opening of two new public nature preserves: the Mount Rose Preserve in Hopewell Township, Mercer County; and the Rechnitz Pine Barrens Preserve in Pemberton Township, Burlington County. At a time of unprecedented efforts in Washington, D.C., to rescind and weaken environmental laws and regulations, we launched a bipartisan effort to get New Jersey’s congressional delegation to sign a set of “Principles to Protect New Jersey’s Public Lands, Water, Air & Wildlife.” We continued our vigorous defense of preserved lands against threats like gas pipelines.

Fundraising

Funding comes from individual members and donors, charitable foundations, corporations, clubs, educational institutions and organizations. Every two years, we have a large fundraiser known as Field & Fashion. We also receive county, state and federal grants, each targeted toward a specific land preservation project.

Benefactors

The individuals and companies that support us generally have a strong interest in nature, the outdoors, wildlife, clean water and a healthy environment.

We’re supported by over 2,500 foundations, corporations and individuals. Some of the foundations that support us are the William Penn Foundation, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, F.M. Kirby Foundation, Victoria Foundation and 1772 Foundation.

Finally

On Nov. 4, we dedicated the Rechnitz Pine Barrens Preserve, named for philanthropists Joan and Robert Rechnitz of Monmouth County. A generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. Rechnitz helped New Jersey Conservation Foundation purchase and preserve nearly 2,400 acres in the Pine Barrens in 2015-16, including the new 811-acre preserve in Pemberton Township. The dedication ceremony was attended by about 60 people and included the unveiling of an information kiosk, an education program on native Pine Barrens snakes and a hike along a new trail on the property.

Where: Far Hills
Serving: The entire state of New Jersey
Key members: Kenneth H. Klipstein II, president of the board of trustees; Michele S. Byers, executive director

Conversation Starter

For more information, call New Jersey Conservation Foundation at 908-234-1225, email info@njconservation.org, or fill in the contact form at njconservation.org/contactus.htm.