Some of you surely wonder why I’ve spent 11 going on 12 years at D&R Greenway Land Trust, at this phase of my life, and, yes, so poorly recompensed. The answer is, my life mission has become to save the Planet.
If you ever check me out on Facebook, that’s basically the only kind of ‘posting’ I do. Once friends and I fought with minimal success to save Kingson’s Princeton Nursery Land from being sold and developed through Princeton University, into what was Villas of Tuscany and is now Barclay Square. Hundreds of towering dwellings went in, where magnificent trees used to thrive, and so close to our Canal – drinking water for thousands locally These condos are visible from the D&R Canal and Towpath, which is absolutely forbidden – and yet, and yet… significant exceptions were made. The developers had the Princeton Nursery Lands deemed officially ‘nonhistoric’, triumphantly showing the signed and sealed document at a critical hearing concerning ‘Villas of Tuscany.’ ‘Nonhistoric’ although Washington had marched there with his barefoot troops after the first Revolutionary Victories, the two in Trenton and the one in Princeton; then, again, en route to crucial Monmouth and yet another win. Abraham Lincoln rode the Camden and Amboy Railroad through that land en route to his Inauguration and his grave. The Princeton Nurseries were the finest in America and some say in the world in its day. The Canal, Towpath and that railroad defined New Jersey, determined its essential towns. You can see the Barclay Square dwellings, symbol of our defeat, when down in a kayak on the water.
I mourned, just before that distant meeting over on the Delaware River (so no one could attend the hearing without taking precious scarce vacation days to be there) to one of the fellow protestors, whom I didn’t even know: “But I’m a poet. What am I doing at the barricades?!?”
His answer propels almost everything I do these days, including walking into D&R Greenway in 2006 and saying, “Am I supposed to work with you?”
“Carolyn,” this stranger answered on the phone, “The barricades — that is where poets belong!”
This serenity is the norm on the D&R Canal, except where Barclay Square looms. We did manage to save enough land to create a preserve, carefully watched over by the Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands. My heroic fellow barricade-contenders in that long-ago fight are still in the forefront of saving and keeping Kingston and its sacred Revolutionary War and Industrial and Canal and Towpath and even Camden and Amboy Railroad sites as safe as they can possibly be from rapacious developers. We have Karen Linder, Anne Zeman, Mark Peel, Tari Pantaleo and Robert von Zumbusch to thank for Kingston successes. In fact, join Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands whether you ever set foot(e) in Kingston or not — for that canal and that river flow into the Raritan, its sacred Bay, and the sea, mantle of our blue planet.
The following thank you note just came in from Friends of the Earth. The 21st Century can seem so hopeless, climate-wise, Planet-wise. But small acts by committed people, as Margaret Mead asserts, are still changing the world. “Indeed, this is the only thing that ever has,” she continues. Read this. Sign up of Friends for the Earth yourselves, financially and electronically. Let’s prove all the skeptics wrong and save our Planet.
Read the effects of courageous acts by committed people, 21st-Century paradigm changers:
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