Two recent graduates of Princeton University were welcomed into one-year Fellowships by D&R Greenway, beginning this summer. These Fellowships are provided in partnership with Princeton’s AlumniCorps Project 55 program. This program offers opportunities for exceptional recent graduates to connect with and work with nonprofits. The AlumniCorps Project 55’s motto is “Launch a life of civic leadership.”
This year marks a milestone, with D&R Greenway’s welcoming two Fellows for the first time. Heather Callahan (above, right) of Delaware and Ayame Whitfield (above, left) of Massachusetts, both 2021 Princeton University graduates, were selected for these positions.
Linda Mead, D&R Greenway’s CEO & President said, “Close to a decade ago, the university reached out to D&R Greenway due to significant increases in student interest in environmental careers. Our land trust was chosen so that Princeton University graduates could engage with a local nonprofit devoted to conservation. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to work with smart, thoughtful and proactive young people toward our mission.” D&R Greenway fully supports the positions financially and is grateful to foundation donors for helping to fund this work that mentors future conservation leaders.
Ayame Whitfield was awarded an NJA.B. in History of Science, with a Certificate in the Visual Arts, from Princeton University in May. Ayame served as a Summer 2017 Intern with Princeton Environmental Institute and as Secretary of Ellipses Slam Poetry, from 2019 to 2021, where Ayame was active in planning Ellipses’ poetry events and interacting with a broad range of university offices. Ayame was responsible for creating newsletters to maintain connections during COVID-19 restrictions. Ayame was an intern in summer 2019, with Policy Matters Ohio, Cleveland—a public policy nonprofit, working to improve lives of working-class Ohio citizens. Ayame will serve D&R Greenway as Volunteer Coordinator. Ayame will use artistic skills to create exhibits and programs for the new museum that D&R Greenway Land Trust will open at Point Breeze, former Joseph Napoleon Bonaparte estate, in Bordentown, New Jersey. Ayame notes: “I'm thrilled that my work with D&R Greenway will give me a chance to engage a wide range of my skills and experience—from art to historical research and writing to volunteer work —and to contribute to the amazing preservation work being done here in New Jersey.”
Heather Callahan graduated from Princeton University in 2021 with an A.B. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She comes to D&R Greenway with experience nationally and internationally. For the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, she worked as their Division of Climate and Energy Intern. Among her challenges was compiling revisions to the Delaware Weatherization Assistance Program’s Field Guide, to be presented to the United States Department of Energy, which is ‘devoted to reimagining and rebuilding America’s energy grid.” At the Mpala Research Center, of Kenya, Heather collected ecological data on local animals, presenting these findings at the 2019 Princeton Environmental Institute Summer of Learning Symposium. For the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute of Panama, she conducted fieldwork for research courses in tropical biology. Heather’s Princeton Senior Fieldwork included conducting observations and distributing daily surveys investigating the effects of the CORONA virus upon human behavior. She volunteered for SVC El Centro Core, where she created engaging lesson plans to encourage participation in Trenton’s English as a Second Language courses. Heather will be managing D&R Greenway’s new kayak-supported Delaware River education program and overseeing planning for the re-creation of gardens at the former Joseph Bonaparte estate of Point Breeze in Bordentown.
Heather said, "In the Princeton University Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, I spent a lot of time learning the amazing biodiversity of our planet. However, delving more deeply, I came to realize the myriad of ways in which development threatens—not only these species—but also various aspects of human life—from our food system to our ability to access clean water and recreation spaces. D&R Greenway's dedication to preserving land in perpetuity will not only protect the biodiversity that I am so passionate about, but also provide the opportunity for New Jerseyans to live healthy, happy lives, even in one of the most densely populated places in the country."
D&R Greenway’s mission to preserve and care for land and to inspire a conservation ethic is furthered by mentoring future leaders, another way that D&R Greenway is having a bigger impact on the environment locally and beyond.