Spring is here and the trees are finally in full bloom as daffodils and crocuses peek out to see the sun.  It is that special time of year when our thoughts turn to appreciating the natural beauty of the Garden State.

It is with great pride that we have this opportunity to spotlight SobelCo client, the New Jersey Conservation Foundation.

A goal of guardianship

For over six decades since its launch in 1960, this nonprofit organization has upheld its mission to “Preserve land and natural resources throughout New Jersey for the benefit of all.”  They have accomplished this by depending on processes such as acquisition and stewardship to safeguard key areas, while also providing educational programs to encourage others to support strong and sound land use policies.  Their unrelenting efforts have resulted in protecting a wide range of acreage, from over 125,000 acres of natural areas and forests to farms and urban and suburban parks.   

The early years

The earliest founders had their work cut out for them. No sooner had they formed the Great Swamp Committee than they were called on to stop the building of a fourth major airport near Morristown. Picking up the gauntlet in order to preserve an important natural area, the efforts of these pioneers led to the creation of the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. Kudos to them for their efforts! This was the state’s first wildlife refuge and the first federally designated wilderness area to be recognized east of the Mississippi River.

Progress over the years   

From that powerful start the organization catapulted onto the New Jersey scene, recognized as a passionate advocate for the land as well as for preserving key open space and farmland throughout the state. Over the years many landmark environmental laws originated with, and were supported by, the NJ Conservation Foundation. By taking such an active stand, they also raised awareness of the challenges inherent in protecting the land.  Their making a case for conservation resulted in the formation of an abundance of local and regional citizen/volunteer organizations and local conservancies. These grass roots efforts were essential in order for the organization to continue advancing its vision. 

Today’s successes and future plans

With the guidance of a dedicated staff comprised of Co-Executive Directors Alison Mitchell, Tom Gilbert and John Watson, Jr. along with several talented regional directors, program directors, and many others deeply involved in the science and stewardship of land conservancy, they have been able to continue their fight for the conservation of land in New Jersey. Together with many partners they have been working tirelessly across the state from Cape May to Sparta, from Hudson to the Delaware, from the Pine Barrens to the Pequannock Watershed, and everything in between!

So the next time you see soaring eagles, delicate butterflies, or a tiny hummingbird, remember that New Jersey Conservation Foundation is hard at work behind the scenes ensuring that all wildlife can flourish in the diversity of this state that we all call home!

To learn more about and support their efforts, please visit www.njconservation.org