Over 200 years ago, Monmouth County was a farm community whose entire population could be seated in the present day PNC Arts Center. Those intrepid ancestors could not begin to imagine that much of their rural community would become one of the most rapidly urbanizing areas in the U.S.
In 1977, Judith Stanley Coleman and a group of visionaries recognized that this escalation of residential and commercial land use threatened to permanently alter the unique beauty and character of the area. They founded the Monmouth Conservation Foundation to protect the spectacular open space, natural resources and the integrity of the county. This year marks the 35th anniversary of this vital mission toward enhancing county residents’ quality of life.
The only countywide land trust, Monmouth Conservation Foundation has protected over 6,500 acres of land to date, from the 225 acres of (Middletown) and the 456-acre (Middletown and Holmdel) tract to the Spellman Estate (Holmdel) with 3 acres, and the 1.6-acre Sea Watch (Manasquan).
On the evening of September 22, the MCF will celebrate its 35th anniversary with a dinner dance themed “Art in Nature & Nature in Art”, at Fairway Farm, Middletown. The event theme addresses the dynamic synergy of art and nature and serves as a tribute to 2012 honorees Joan and Robert Rechnitz.
Dr. Rechnitz is a longstanding member of the MCF Advisory Council and founder, along with his wife Joan, of The Two River Theater Company in Red Bank. MCF allows our community to share and celebrate the art in nature, just as we share the art of theater in the outstanding productions at the Two River Theater. The Rechnitzs are true champions of the arts, nature and land conservation and the Foundation is thrilled to have this opportunity to salute their ongoing determination to enrich the community.
In addition, MCF supporters Ann and Thomas Unterberg will serve as Honorary Chairmen of the celebration. According to the Unterbergs, Fairway Farm is the ideal venue to celebrate the work of the Foundation. “Originally known as the Ellis Estate, these stunning 40 acres were successfully preserved by MCF in 2007 and serve as a wonderful example of the Foundation’s success over the past 35 years to safeguard the parks, farmlands, wetlands and open space throughout Monmouth County.”
Echoing the Foundation’s dedication to harmony with the environment and in support of the Garden State’s farmers, the menu for the evening will feature local, seasonal and artisanal fare showcasing an array of ingredients from New Jersey’s fields and farms. A wide array of enticing items will be offered during a live and a silent auction. Then, as the moon rises and the stars illuminate the beautiful vista, the popular band Somer’s Dream will invite all to dance the night away.
MCF, along with our valued state and local partners, recently finalized the conservation of the Flemer Entities (formerly Princeton Nurseries) located in Upper Freehold comprised of 1,200 acres – representing the largest acquisition of land by MCF since its founding. Recently, the Foundation collaborated with trustee Louis S. Thomas Gimbel III and his wife Valerie, as well as state and local partners, to preserve the Gimbel’s 32-acre farm in Middletown. MCF’s partnership acquisition of Flemer Entities and the Gimbel property epitomizes the Foundation’s overarching mission to protect open space throughout Monmouth County. These particular acquisitions represent a truly remarkable achievement of simultaneously preserving farmland, wetland, species habitat, and woodland by protecting all our natural resources while also providing parkland for all. It is exactly what the founders of MCF intended.
Thanks to Patch.com we will periodically bring you the latest news from MCF, specifically addressing resident quality of life issues, and explore the history and significance of the Monmouth County land and natural resources preserved by the Foundation. In the meantime, for more information on MCF or the “Art in Nature, Nature in Art” Dinner Dance please call 732-671-7000 or go to www.monmouthconservation.org