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A non-profit land trust dedicated to preserving the natural and cultural heritage of the Appalachian Ridge and Valley region of New Jersey





Dennis BriedeDennis Briede

Dennis' passion has always been the outdoors and nature.  He is a former member of the Knowlton Township Environmental Commission and wrote a nature column in the former Knowlton News for four years.  Dennis is a self-taught naturalist and has been leading bird and nature walks for many different organizations for the past 25 years.  After 20 years in the information technology field Dennis decided to pursue his passion in the outdoors field and became the Stewardship Manager for the Land Conservancy of NJ.  His interests are birding, hiking, traveling, gardening, and photography.  Dennis has traveled to eleven countries on birding and nature trips.  He has been on the RVC Board of Trustees since 1998.

Estella Burke Estella Burke

After living two years in Glen Ellen, Illinois a lovely suburb of Chicago, we moved back to New Jersey to be near family and friends. I looked at Bergen County with different eyes. Many of the communities seemed to be building for profit but the quality of life of individuals was not being considered. Paramus had lost the important truck farms to malls and highways. North Bergen County was losing the orchards as well as family truck farms. So I turned to the western counties for a community of people with similar values. Western Warren County is naturally beautiful with rivers and streams and mountains. Each season brings its own beauty to Warren County. The small family farms give it a sense of stability and continuity. The values of conservation and respect of the land and water need to be continued, if we are to keep the natural habitat for the animals and plant life of the Ridge and Valley area.


Bob Canace Bob Canace, President

Bob Canace is a hydrogeologist with over 30 years professional experience.  He was employed by the New Jersey Geological Survey from 1979 to 2008, where he served as section chief of the Ground Water Resources program.  He has also practiced privately in New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.  His specializations are in the areas of regional water resource evaluation, impacts of water use on the environment, and development of methods and models to assess hydrology.  Bob serves as a consultant to Conservation Resources, Inc. of Chester, NJ and a consultant to The Heritage Conservancy of Doylestown Pennsylvania and Port Murray, NJ where he oversees the Conservancy’s Musconetcong River Valley Lasting Landscapes Project.  Bob serves as the Program Officer for Land Conservation for the Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation of New York, which provides support to land conservation organizations in the Hudson River Valley of New York and in Connecticut.

Barbara KulickeBarbara Kulicke

Barbara is an accomplished painter whose work has been exhibited in venues across the U.S. and overseas.  She studied fine art at the Tyler School of Fine Art at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA.  An original co-founder of RVC, Barbara curated an art exhibit in Johnsonburg, NJ to raise funds for RVC’s incorporation as a land trust in 1990.  She is currently the head of the Vass Farmstead’s Historic Furnishings Committee.  Barbara lives in her home/studio in Blairstown, NJ.

Jason KurtzJason Kurtz

Jason Kurtz is a property and casualty consulting actuary in New York, NY. He received his BSc in business administration from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business. He thanks his father, Fred, for introducing him to the wonders of the outdoors at an early age. Jason is now an avid hiker, fisherman, birder, and conservationist. He became an RVC trustee in 2011 and looks forward to helping preserve more land in the region.

Miriam MacGillisMiriam MacGillis

Miriam MacGillis is a Dominican Sister of Caldwell, NJ.  She lives and works at Genesis Farm which she co-founded in 1980 with the sponsorship of her Dominican congregation.  For over 30 years, Genesis Farm has searched for and promoted sustainable alternatives to the destructive systems of the industrial economic growth society with its devastating impact on the natural world.  Rooted in understandings of the scientific story of the evolution of the spiritual as well as the physical dimensions of the universe, Genesis Farm hosts courses and programs designed to empower people to rethink our human enterprises in alignment with the way that nature brings forth diversity, beauty, abundance and resilience.

In 2005, Miriam received the Thomas Berry Award by the Center for Respect for Life and the Environment and in 2007 was named one of the planet’s top 15 religious ecological leaders by Grist Magazine.

Joel McGreenJoel McGreen, Vice President

Joel McGreen is a retired engineer.  He worked for over 33 years as a project engineer and business manager at Picatinny Arsenal in Dover, NJ.  Since retiring, he has volunteered for various Blairstown committees including the Planning Board, Environmental Commission, Open Space Committee, and Agriculture Advisory Committee.  As chairman of the Blairstown Open Space and Agriculture Advisory Committees for the past 10 years, Joel has helped preserve farmland and open space in Blairstown.  He worked part time for the Land Conservancy of New Jersey from 2007 to 2009, managing Harmony and White Townships' farmland preservation programs.  He also worked part time as a personal fitness trainer from 2005 to 2009.  He has been on the RVC Board of Trustees since 2001.

Debra NatyzakDebra Natyzak, Secretary/Treasurer

Debra Natyzak Osadca is a life- long resident of the Ridge and Valley region.  She received her BSc in biochemistry at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.  She has spent over 25 years doing medical and food research for various pharmaceutical and food corporations.  She is a third generation farmer and presently resides and works as a full-time farmer on a farm which has been in existence since 1740.  Her interest is to preserve much of the history of the area and has directed and produced a documentary of the area called "Voices of the Land."  She is a founder and treasurer of RVC and has been active in local township offices and boards including the Warren County Board of Recreation Commission and the Warren County Cultural and Heritage Commission.  Debra is also the founder and president of the Frelinghuysen Township Historical Society and has worked towards getting the town of Johnsonburg on the National and State Historic Registry.  She was also active in obtaining open space lands and farmland preservation easements for the Township of Frelinghuysen.


Roman OsadcaRoman Osadca

Roman Osadca is a Chemical Engineer who worked for a global pharmaceutical company for 35 years and was responsible for production, quality assurance, and global technical problem solving. He would then rush home to work on his family farm.  Roman's specialty is gourmet heirloom garlic and shallots, over 250 varieties, and beekeeping.   Having lived through the energy crises of the 70's, in 1984 he designed and built a house that is self sufficient in terms of
solar heating, hot water, and photovoltaic electricity.
Roman has been involved with RVC since the beginnings as a Trustee.  He is also the VP and Secretary of the Hardwick Township Historical Society,
which is developing the Vass House Farmstead Historic Site into a community cultural center.  Roman is also involved with Genesis Farm, Foodshed Alliance, and Newton Transition Movement on agriculture, renewable energy, and sustainable community practices.  He loves to read, write, ski, and play volleyball in his spare time.

Rick SorensenRick Sorensen

Rick Sorensen has lived most of his life in the Ridge and Valley region.  Along with his wife, Rick has decided to raise and educate his children in the Ridge and Valley region because of its beauty and nurturing environment.  His involvement in RVC is a way to give back to a region that has provided him and his family with so much.

Sharon Wander

Sharon was so inspired by a life-changing wilderness trip to Montana that she abandoned a career as an editor and copywriter and returned to college to pursue a degree in Wildlife Ecology. She met her future husband and business partner, Wade, at Cook College, and both went on to earn graduate degrees from Rutgers University. For her doctoral dissertation Sharon studied the effects of forest fragmentation on breeding Ovenbirds.

Capitalizing both on their degrees and on many years of field experience with the plants and animals of New Jersey, Sharon and Wade then established their own environmental consulting practice, Wander Ecological Consultants (WEC), in 1985. Since then they have conducted endangered species surveys, produced environmental impact statements, performed wetland delineation and permitting, developed mitigation and restoration plans, and provided a variety of other services to a diverse array of clients. As a partner in WEC, Sharon wrote the Natural Resource Inventory for Fredon Township. In the 1990s Sharon and Wade became particularly interested in butterflies, and have since been very active members of the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) - leading field trips and presenting programs for the North Jersey chapter and compiling the Springdale 4th of July count since 1992. As Director of the NABA Butterfly Count Program, Sharon edits the organization's annual report for some 450 butterfly counts in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

She and Wade are especially proud of the butterfly garden at their Fredon Township home, which has attracted a state-record 84 species. Sharon hopes put her knowledge of natural history and her interest in habitat restoration to constructive use for the Ridge and Valley Conservancy.


Judy Renna, Administrator

William J. Gold, Esq. - Legal Council

Michael Catania, President - Conservation Resources, Inc. - Advisor

Carla Lee Lewis, Consultant


Ridge and Valley Conservancy
P.O. Box 146, 16 Main Street - Blairstown NJ 07825 - Office: (908) 362-7989 - Fax: (908) 362-7907 - Email: rvc@goes.com