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Franklin Parker Preserve photos included in Pine Barrens exhibit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/ 02/11/13

New Jersey Conservation Foundation
Opening night of Pine Barrens photo exhibition
PRINCETON - Several photos taken at New Jersey Conservation Foundation's 9,400-acre Franklin Parker Preserve in the Pine Barrens are part of a new exhibition by Richard Speedy at the Morven Museum & Garden.

The exhibit, The Pine Barrens: A Legacy of Preservation, will run through Sunday, April 14, at the former governor's mansion at 55 Stockton Street. New Jersey Conservation Foundation, a nonprofit land preservation organization that works extensively in the Pine Barrens, is one of the exhibition's co-sponsors.

A couple of my favorite images in the show were taken in the Franklin Parker Preserve, said Speedy, a Princeton native who now lives in Hopewell. I love hiking through there.

In addition to the photo exhibition, two related educational events are planned: A panel discussion on The Pine Barrens: The Past, the Politics and the Future on Sunday, March 3, at 2 p.m., featuring two former governors; and From Flora to Fire: The Ecological Story of the New Jersey Pine Barrens on Thursday, March 21, at 7 p.m.

One of the things I like is how the photo exhibition is linked to the whole discussion on how the Pine Barrens was preserved, remarked Speedy.

For Speedy, the exhibition has been decades in the making. An outdoor lover, he started photographing the Pine Barrens in the mid-1970s after a friend gave him a copy of John McPhee's seminal book, The Pine Barrens.

It just turned me around and I started spending time down there - canoeing, hiking, camping and photographing, Speedy recalled. He said he was drawn by the Pine Barrens' dramatic landscapes: I love the terrain, the water, and how the trees and water intersect with each other.

But Speedy's commercial photography business was just taking off, and his Pine Barrens photography project sat dormant for many years while he concentrated on creating images for advertising. But, in the back of his mind, he always intended to finish it.

Speedy lived in Mexico from 2007 to 2009, and upon his return decided to restart the Pine Barrens project. The result is a 32-photo exhibit that captures the unique beauty of the Pine Barrens, a 1.1-million-acre region that has been designated an International Biosphere Reserve.

Former Governors and Author to Speak

Speedy said he is thrilled that McPhee and former Governor Brendan Byrne have agreed to be part of the panel discussion on March 3.

McPhee believed the Pine Barrens were headed toward extinction, said Speedy. Brendan Byrne read that book and took (the preservation of the Pine Barrens) on as his personal challenge. He was the right person at the right place at the right time. If it hadn't been for him, it would be a vastly different place today.

The panel discussion will take place at Princeton University's McCosh Hall on Washington Road. In addition to McPhee and Byrne, panelists will include former Governor James Florio; Michele S. Byers, executive director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation; and Carleton Montgomery, executive director of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance. The panel discussion is free and open to the public.

The March 21 program on Pine Barrens ecology will be presented by Dr. Amy Karpati, director of conservation science at the Pinelands Preservation Alliance. For ticket information and reservations, call the Morven Museum & Garden at 609-924-8144, ext. 106, or email msheridan@morven.org.

Speedy said he hopes the photo exhibition and related events will raise awareness of the need to continue preserving land in the Pine Barrens. If you can commit to saving this kind of landscape, it's inspiring, he said.

For more information about the Pine Barrens exhibit, visit the Morven Museum & Garden website at www.morven.org.

The Franklin Parker Preserve, which surrounds the village of Chatsworth in Burlington County, has two nature observation platforms and over 25 miles of trails. For more information, go to www.njconservation.org/franklinparkerpreserve.htm.

New Jersey Conservation Foundation preserves land and natural resources throughout New Jersey for the benefit of all. Since 1960, it has protected more than 125,000 acres of open space - from the Highlands to the Pine Barrens to the Delaware Bayshore, from farms to forests to urban and suburban parks. For more information about the Foundation's programs and preserves, go to www.njconservation.org or call 1-888-LAND-SAVE (1-888-526-3728).

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