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NJ Conservation awards $50K in grants for preserves and programs


FAR HILLS - From urban parks to remote woodlands, grants from the New Jersey Conservation Foundation are being used to improve wildlife habitats, create trails and launch education programs in more than a dozen New Jersey locations.

New Jersey Conservation awarded $50,000 to 13 organizations through the Franklin Parker Conservation Excellence Grants on June 30. Projects range from introducing the public to a new park along the Newark riverfront, to improving butterfly habitat at a preserve in Princeton, to eradicating invasive plants at a preserve in Haddon Township.

"We're excited to be able to award these grants to help conservation groups reach their goals," said Laura Szwak, director of outreach and education for New Jersey Conservation. "These grants encourage organizations to try something different, something they may not otherwise be able to afford."

The grant awards include:

- $2,500 to the Edison Wetlands Association, Edison, to develop a trail network connecting six gardens, and to provide compost and native plants for Central Jersey families and gardeners.
- $4,440 to the NJ Invasive Species Strike Team, Hillsborough, to boost land stewardship efforts throughout New Jersey through easy-to-use tools like a new smartphone app for identifying invasive species. The Strike Team will also provide a clearinghouse of data on invasive species.
- $5,000 to the Monmouth Conservation Foundation, Middletown, to establish the "Kids for Conservation" program, which will teach preschoolers and kindergarteners about conservation and the environment.
- $3,000 to the Friends of the Riverfront, Newark, to organize a series of public river tours, walking tours and workshops in and around the new Riverfront Park along the Passaic River.
- $5,000 to the Saddlers Woods Conservation Association, Haddon Township, to engage community volunteers to eradicate invasive plants in a 15-acre old-growth forest.
- $3,825 to the Canal Society of New Jersey, Morristown, to help acquire land in Roxbury Township to provide a key link in the Morris Canal Greenway and Roxbury's public trails system.
- $4,000 to the Great Swamp Watershed Association, New Vernon to remove invasive species from and reforest 53 acres and build a new trail connecting to other protected lands.
- $5,000 to the Raritan Headwaters Association, Bedminster, to defray the cost of acquiring a farmland easement on an historic 23-acre family farm in Readington Township, Hunterdon County.
- $3,960 to the D&R Greenway Land Trust, Princeton: $2,760 for planting milkweed, a favorite of monarch butterflies; and $1,200 for removing invasive plants and replacing them with deer-resistant trees and shrubs on a preserve in West Amwell Township, Hunterdon County.
- $1,400 to the Rancocas Conservancy, Vincentown, for equipment to mark property boundaries on Conservancy-owned preserves, and to document threatened and endangered species.
- $3,000 to the Tewksbury Land Trust, Oldwick, to to encourage the public to explore its properties by developing a trail connection between two preserves.
- $4,000 to the Hunterdon Land Trust, Flemington, to implement a deer management strategy on its properties, including installing a deer fence and planting trees.
- $4,875 to the Ridge & Valley Conservancy, Blairstown, to help pay the cost of achieving accreditation from the national Land Trust Alliance.
Established in 2000 by Conservation Resources Inc. (CRI), the grants program is named for Franklin Parker, a former New Jersey Conservation Foundation president and the first chairman of the state Pinelands Commission. When CRI closed in 2013, the grant program was transferred to NJ Conservation.

Funding for the Franklin Parker Conservation Excellence Grants Program is made possible through the generous support of Victoria Foundation and the Mary Reinhart Stackhouse Foundation.

New Jersey Conservation Foundation is a private nonprofit that preserves land and natural resources throughout New Jersey for the benefit of all. Since 1960, the Foundation has protected 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 programs and preserves, go to or call 1-888-LAND-SAVE (1-888-526-3728).

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