The Sourland Conservancy is the recipient of the Franklin Parker Conservation Excellence grant given by New Jersey Conservation Foundation, which will help to partially fund the continuation and expansion of Sourland Conservancy’s innovative Sourland Stewards program.

Sourland Stewards, currently in its second year, was created to help residents of Sourland Mountain protect the unique habitat of the region by planting and nurturing native species and following best stewardship practices in participants’ own homes and yards. Through hikes, workshops, and a lively Facebook group, Sourland Conservancy naturalists educate residents about how to protect the rich diversity of animal and plant species and to preserve water resources within their own backyards in and around the Sourland region.  Residents also learn about the following areas: native and invasive vegetation, avoidance of pesticides, stream buffers, water quality and quantity, creating habitat, protecting trees, and deer management.

The Franklin Parker Conservation Excellence grant will allow Sourland Conservancy to reach a broader audience with more nature experiences for participants, an online platform, and the printing of a second edition of “Living in the Sourlands: A Guide for Responsible Stewardship” and on-site “Stewardshops,” collaborative stewardship workshops that will take place at the homes of participating Sourland Stewards.

The Sourland Stewards program is also partially funded by a 2014 Watershed Institute grant and a 2015 Conserve Wildlife of New Jersey (NJDEP) grant.

Residents who are interested in participating in Sourland Stewards, should email

The Sourland Conservancy, established in 1986, is a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect the ecological integrity, historic resources, and special character of the Sourland Mountain Region through education and advocacy.

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Mary Galioto
Mary Galioto is the founder, publisher and editor of MercerMe. Originally from Brooklyn, Mary has progressively moved deeper and deeper into New Jersey, settling in the heart of the state: Mercer County. Formerly the author of an embarrassingly informal blog, Mary is a lifelong writer and asker of questions and was even mentioned, albeit briefly, in the New York Times and Washington Post. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from SUNY Binghamton and a Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall Law School. In her free time, Mary fills her life with excessive self-reflection, creative endeavors, and photographing mushrooms. Mary also works as the PR Coordinator at the Hopewell Valley Arts Council, serves on the volunteer Board of Trustees of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT), holds a seat on the Hopewell Borough Board of Health, and is a member of the Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance.


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