Our History

Our History

Preserving land is the heart of our work to ensure a plentiful supply of safe, clean drinking water, productive land for agriculture, sustainable land for wildlife and forests to thrive and neighborhood parks and natural areas for people to walk, play, and enjoy a healthy lifestyle.


Our Team

Our Team

The Land Conservancy staff and Board of Trustees are a group of dedicated experts that includes certified planners, wetland scientists, GIS mapping professionals, project managers, and land preservation specialists.



A timeline of our awards, citations, proclamations and resolutions.



The 44-acre WildAcres preserve and house, located in Montville Township, dates back to the 1700’s. The Land Conservancy renovated the house on the property to use as its headquarters in 2001.

Highlights of our 35 year history

2014     The Land Conservancy reaches a host of milestones including; preserving our 20,000th acre of open space in New Jersey, celebrating our 500th Partners for Parks Project, and awarding a total of more than $200,000 in scholarships to future environmental leaders.

2013     The Land Conservancy of New Jersey is honored with two state-wide awards for our work in 2013.  We received the 2013 Garden State Green Award for an environmental non-profit organization whose activities and leadership have positively impacted environmental and/or green issues in New Jersey.  We also received a 2013 Smart Growth Award from New Jersey Future for the Pompton Riverwalk project.

2012    The Land Conservancy of New Jersey is awarded a 2012 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Quality Award. The EPA noted in the award notification letter, “Each year, EPA searches for those who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to protecting and enhancing environmental quality and public health. The Environmental Quality award is the highest recognition presented to the public by EPA. Award recipients come from all sectors of the community.” Mt. Olive Township submitted the nomination for The Land Conservancy of New Jersey for this award. The award application focused on The Land Conservancy’s restoration work at the South Branch Preserve Restoration Site in Morris County, New Jersey.

2010     On June 9th The Land Conservancy of New Jersey partnered with Mount Olive Township, Morris County, the State of New Jersey, and The Trust for Public Land to preserve the 135-acre Rezamir Estates property. Preserving this site was critical because it lies within the headwaters of the South Branch of the Raritan River, a drinking water source for more than 1 million New Jersey residents. Following the closing, the Conservancy took ownership of the property and began work to restore the land to its natural state. We completed the first restoration of a residential subdivision ever accomplished in New Jersey in just four months!

2009     Achieving recognition on the national level, The Land Conservancy of New Jersey became the first land trust in New Jersey to receive accreditation. Awarded by The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, the accreditation seal is awarded to organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting open space lands, upholding the public trust and ensuring that conservation efforts are permanent.

2008     With the scope of our work reaching far beyond the Morris County area, Morris Land Conservancy changed our name to The Land Conservancy of New Jersey.

2006     The Rogers Family Scholarship was established greatly expanding the impact of our Scholarship Program. Since then we have awarded two scholarships annually to New Jersey college students.

2005     We preserved our 10,000th acre highlighted by the 852-acre Culvermere property in Sussex County added to the Bear Swamp Wildlife Management Area; the 525-acre Koehler Estate property, added to the Wildcat Ridge Wildlife Management Area; and the 1,200-acre Lam property in Kinnelon added to the Morris County Park System.  The Conservancy was honored to receive the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Take Pride in America award and the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection’s Environmental Excellence Award for Land Conservation.

2000     The Aresty Mapping Center was established thanks to a generous contribution from Jim and Wendy Aresty.  The Center produces professional, computer-generated maps that are being used throughout the state as an important tool to target critical open space lands for preservation.

1999     Morris Parks and Land Conservancy changed its name to Morris Land Conservancy.  We preserved our 1000th acre, as a result of projects in Randolph, West Milford, Pequannock, Madison, Mt. Olive and Kinnelon.

1997     We completed our first land acquisition project, purchasing the development rights on a 100-acre farm in Washington Township from Anthony Araneo and simultaneously transferring these rights to the Morris County Agricultural Development Board.

1996     Eight volunteers from the Florham Park office of the Prudential Insurance Company of America improved the landscaping in Jefferson’s popular Children’s Park.  This volunteer project launched the Conservancy’s award winning Partners for Parks Program that continues to put volunteer teams to work on one day projects to beautify and maintain our region’s magnificent parks.

1995     Randolph Township became the first town to retain Morris Parks and Land Conservancy as its Open Space Advisor.  Our Partners for Greener Communities program grew from this early effort to forge partnerships with the towns to preserve open space.

1993     No longer functioning on volunteers alone, the Conservancy hired its first permanent staff. In July 1994, David Epstein became the first full time Executive Director.

1992     As its activities increased, the Morris County Parks and Conservation Foundation changed its name to Morris Parks and Land Conservancy.  The first issue of our Newsletter was published featuring a tribute to recently deceased founder, Russell W. Myers.

1983     The Russell W. Myers Scholarship, the Conservancy’s longest continuously running program, was established laying the foundation for our Scholarship Program.  The Conservancy provides annual awards to New Jersey college students pursuing careers in environmental preservation.

1981     The Land Conservancy of New Jersey was “born” when New Jersey’s Secretary of State signed the incorporation papers that created the Morris County Parks and Conservation Foundation. The brainchild of Russell W. Meyers, the first director of the Morris County Park Commission, the organization was conceived to assist the Park Commission in accomplishing its mission and to ensure that his life’s work would continue after he was gone.