bee balm by Tina Notas

Bee balm. Photo by Tina Notas.

“People must feel that the natural world is important and valuable and beautiful and wonderful and an amazement and a pleasure.” — David Attenborough, Steward of the Earth

Dear Friends,

What a perfect time of year this is to celebrate the beauty and the importance of our life-sustaining Earth!

Newly greened trees, the songs of birds, colorful flowers that make us smile, and the rejuvenation of farm fields — all of these miracles create new hope.

This Earth Day, I find myself reflecting on the legacy of people who have cared for our Earth. For it’s in the little things we do every day, the causes we support, and the choices we make in how we live our lives, that we become integral to the Earth’s stewardship.

David Attenborough, Earth Steward, declares, “People must feel that the natural world is important and valuable and beautiful and wonderful and an amazement and a pleasure.” Here in central New Jersey, D&R Greenway remembers hometown heroes from our preservation family whom we have lost this year and whose impacts are longstanding: People like Bill Swain who, as an early trustee, shepherded our first land preservation transactions. Landowner Betty Wold Johnson who preserved her land to ensure forever-green open spaces in our community. D&R Greenway supporter Jody Kendall, who gave quietly to create special places including our labyrinth and Healing Trail. Leaders, at the top of the list Princeton Mayor and D&R Greenway Board Chair Phyllis Marchand, who led us all with her legendary energy and flair. Every name has a story behind it, each inspiring us to do our part.

Without Earth and the people who care for it, where would we be? Yes, we’ve landed on the Moon and Mars. But Earth is our home, sustaining life as we know it. Let’s use this Earth Day to recommit to its protection — every day.

Tell me ( — what will you do to celebrate Earth Day?

Linda J. Mead

President & CEO, D&R Greenway Land Trust

Editor’s note: The D&R Greenway is itself marking Earth Day in part with the announcement that more than 60 species of healthy local plants are ready for its annual Native Plant Sale. Purchases may be arranged online through Wednesday, April 28. Visit

Pick-ups are scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, May 6 through 8. Planting natives enhances regional gardens in beauty as well as in usefulness to native creatures, especially pollinators.

D&R Greenway’s native trees, shrubs, perennial wildflowers, grasses, sedges, and ferns are grown either on-site or purchased from reputable local native-plant growers. Native Plant Nursery specimens are grown from locally sourced starter plants and are free of harmful nicotinoid insecticides. Planting natives that evolved locally requires less maintenance in terms of fertilizer, water, and pesticides.

The nursery is on the grounds of D&R Greenway’s Conservation Campus at the Johnson Education Center, One Preservation Place, Princeton. The land trust requests that purchasers arriving for pick-up be masked. Native Plant Sale proceeds support D&R Greenway’s preservation and stewardship mission. The Johnson Education Center’s barn is not currently open to the public. Plant advice cannot be offered at time of sale.

Tina Notas — the Greenway’s director of stewardship and the photographer responsible for the bee balm pictured above — says, “We are pleased that our proven online purchasing process allows regional gardeners to select vibrant native flora, transforming home landscapes into bountiful habitat for all seasons.”

“Our broad array of plants has been selected to benefit wild species specific to New Jersey’s unique ecosystem. Turning home gardens into habitat benefits locally evolved species, in both critical breeding and migratory seasons.”