Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes is the recipient of the Donald B. Jones Conservation Award from the D&R Greenway Land Trust. Mr. Hughes will be presented with the award, described as the D&R Greenway Land Trust’s “highest honor,” this Sunday, September 8 at the land preservation agency’s Annual Gala.
The award recognizes Mr. Hughes’s leadership in open-space and farmland preservation as well as his dedication to stewardship of urban and rural parks throughout Mercer County.
According to the Land Trust, Mr. Hughes has been the catalyst for the preservation of 2,873 acres of open space and farmland during his tenure. The total acreage preserved in Mercer County is almost 20,000 acres, amounting to over 20 percent of the county’s developable land.
“Quality of life is one of the most important returns to the people of Mercer County. I am extremely proud of the efforts we’ve made to preserve and restore historic properties, farmland and open space for our future generations,” said Mr. Hughes, whose staff helped to expedite the D&R Greenway’s preservation of the 400-acre St. Michaels Farm Preserve, and the nearly 2000-acre Princeton Nurseries Land in Allentown, among others.
“We can always count on Brian and his expert staff for a professional and enthusiastic response, resulting in preservation of rural and urban lands that will benefit our region’s citizens for generations to come.” said D&R Greenway President and CEO Linda Mead.
According to the Trust’s Vice President Jay Watson, the award shows “deep appreciation” for Mr. Hughes and the work of his administration. “Under his guidance, Mercer County is purchasing lands directly, significantly increasing county-owned open-space holdings. He has seen to it that the county not only preserves, but also provides thorough stewardship for lands held in their trust,” he said.
“Thanks to Brian and his exemplary staff, a wonderful land legacy is continually being created for now and future generations of Mercer County residents and their visitors,” said Mr. Watson.
Son of former Governor and New Jersey Supreme Court, Chief Justice Richard J. Hughes, Brian Hughes has lived in Mercer County most of his life, including childhood years at Morven, formerly the official residence of the governor of New Jersey and his family. In 1997, he was elected to the Board of Chosen Freeholders, serving two terms, including one term as Freeholder President.
He is also a strong proponent of the Abbott Marshlands, formerly the Hamilton/Trenton/Bordentown Marsh and has been instrumental in the creation of the new Marsh Nature Center, expected to open next year.
Mr. Hughes will receive his award at the D&R Greenway’s Annual Gala at the Johnson Education Center, One Preservation Place, off Rosedale Road, on Sunday, September 8, from 4 to 6 p.m. The event includes a jazz ballet performance by Dancespora to live music from the ReBop Jazz Band. Garden-party attire is suggested, as well as appropriate outdoor footwear. Tickets, at $75 per person, may be ordered online (www.drgreenway.org) or by calling (609) 924-4646 through September 4.