D&R Greenway Land Trust welcomed two new members to its Board of Trustees and a new Vice-Chair. Diana Lidow, of Princeton, and Eugene Gladston, of Solebury, Pennsylvania, have joined the board, and long-time D&R Greenway Land Trust supporter Christopher DeGrezia, Esq., has stepped up to serve as Vice-Chair of the Princeton-based organization’s board of trustees.
“As we enter our 27th year as central New Jersey’s land trust, we look forward to the important contributions these individuals will bring,” said D&R Green President & CEO Linda J. Mead. “We are building on our founders’ vision to preserve and protect land, clean drinking water and landscapes essential to quality of life for all people in central New Jersey.”
A partner in the Real Estate Department of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP’s Princeton office, DeGrezia has represented D&R Greenway in real estate transactions since 2000. He joined the board in 2012, becoming chair of the land preservation committee.
“It is gratifying to look at the map of the region and identify all the properties that D&R Greenway has been involved with,” DeGrezia said. “The track record is stellar, with nearly 20,000 acres preserved. And we are not talking about just a few large properties; there have been more than 280 properties preserved!”
DeGrezia is the Past President of the Princeton Bar Association and is a member of the Mercer County and Monmouth County Bar Associations, the New Jersey League of Municipalities, and the New Jersey Institute of Municipal Attorneys. He serves on a number of committees and boards, and represents numerous civic, charitable and educational institutions including Cancer Care of New Jersey, Habitat for Humanity of Trenton, Montgomery Friends of Open Space and D&R Greenway Land Trust. He received a J.D. cum laude from Seton Hall University School of Law and a B.A. from the University of Virginia.
Looking ahead, DeGrezia shared: “There are always opportunities—we just need to identify them and find a funding source. It is hard work and takes a lot of effort, but like the other members of the D&R Greenway Board, I am passionate about preserving land and protecting environmental resources. One of the great things about D&R Greenway is that board members all participate in very meaningful ways.”
Diana Lidow has worked in women’s health, early childhood education, public space analysis and use, and coordination of legal teams for poll watching. With a degree in psychology and studies in landscape architecture, she moved to Princeton when her husband, Derek Lidow, was invited to join the Princeton University faculty in 2012, teaching entrepreneurial leadership.
“Being an avid hiker, one of the first things I did when I arrived was to look for great places to get out into nature,” she said. “The home Derek and I (along with our Jack Russell) initially rented almost backed up onto the Johnson Woodland Preserve so we immediately heeded the call of the wild and ended up making that beautiful landscape our borrowed backyard.”
Noticing the D&R Greenway Land Trust sign, “I visited the website and found St. Michaels Farm Preserve and the Sourlands Ecosystem Preserve. All of these magnificent properties became a big part of how we spent our free time. When the time came for us to find a permanent home, we were fortunate enough to purchase something close to the preserved land around the Institute for Advanced Study, near yet another property protected and opened to the public with the help of D&R Greenway Land Trust.”
As time went by, Lidow began to see D&R Greenway signs posted on protected farmland as well, and knew she wanted to get involved. Her goal as a trustee is to help D&R Greenway toward its goal of having a revolving land fund.
“Long term, I am very intrigued by D&R Greenway’s involvement in downtown Trenton. I like the idea that open space and agricultural land preservation can link hands with urban social need to create a tapestry of healthy environments, educational resources and business opportunities in once-neglected areas.”
Gladston, who is frequently seen at D&R Greenway galas and events, brings a financial background to the board. He works with an investment group through which “we exchange ideas and gain knowledge. If you invest in bonds, you get a return; if you invest in land, you are preserving lives with the proceeds from your investment—fresh air, clean water. The flora that grows on protected lands takes carbon dioxide out of the air and turns it to oxygen, while microbes in the soil purify water. What you get from investing in land you can’t put into dollar amounts but it’s immeasurable.”
An artist, ardent birder and former Bucks County Audubon Society board member, Gladston recounts how he first developed an interest in nature as a result of being deprived of it during his childhood in the Bronx. Born in 1928, “I grew up during the Depression and, from my sixth floor window, looked out and saw not a blade of grass or tree or shrub—it was just wall-to-wall concrete with buildings, the sidewalk and street,” he says. “My parents would take me to the country to see cows and chickens.”
In 1936, Gladston had the opportunity to attend summer camp. “It was my first real experience in the country and got me interested in nature,” he says. “I put myself through college by being a nature counselor.”
All through a career in the apparel industry, Gladston pursued his interests in ecology and art (his paintings have been exhibited in the Brooklyn Museum, among other venues).When he moved to Bucks County in 1993, he could finally immerse himself in nature, inspiring others to become bird watchers.
“I realized that, when it comes to supporting charities, nothing else matters if there’s no clean air and water,” he said.
D&R GREENWAY LAND TRUST IS IN ITS 27TH YEAR of preserving and protecting natural lands, farmlands and open spaces throughout central and southern New Jersey. Through continuous preservation and stewardship — caring for land and easements to ensure they remain protected and ecologically healthy in perpetuity — D&R Greenway nurtures a healthier and more diverse environment for people and wild species in seven counties. Accredited by the national Land Trust Accreditation Commission, D&R Greenway’s mission is to preserve and care for land and inspire a conservation ethic, now and for the future. Since its founding in 1989, D&R Greenway has permanently preserved close to 20,000 acres, an area 20 times the size of New York City’s Central Park, including 28 miles of trails open to the public.
The Johnson Education Center, a circa 1900 restored barn at One Preservation Place, Princeton, is D&R Greenway’s home. Through programs, art exhibits and related lectures, D&R Greenway inspires greater public commitment to safeguarding land.