Sep 05 2018

Margaret Waldock to Receive Award
At Annual Farm to Table Dinner


This year, Hunterdon Land Trust will honor Margaret Waldock with the Treasure Hunterdon Award at our annual Farm to Table dinner on Sunday, Sept. 30. Margaret served as our organization’s first executive director from 2003 to 2011. At the dinner, we will also recognize the important achievements of Meg Metz and Beryl Doyle. You can get your tickets for Farm to Table here, and join us for an unforgettable celebration of local food!

Margaret Waldock

Back in the fall of 2003, Margaret Waldock got an offer she couldn’t refuse.

Margaret was living in Frenchtown and working as a program specialist for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Green Acres program, and Hunterdon County was her territory. Through that position, she got to know a number of the HLT’s founders including Roger Harris, Bill Rawlyk, Alison Mitchell and Martin Rapp, and shared their concerns about the future of Hunterdon County.

“One thing you have to remember about HLT when it started was how fast the sprawl engine was running at the time,” she said. “Every time you turned a corner in Hunterdon County, you’d see another farm with bulldozers on it .  .  . It wasn’t just development, but the kind of development. It wasn’t smart in terms of protecting what matters in the county: our natural resources and our farms.”

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Margaret had worked with HLT on a number of deals, and “felt very much like we were in this together because this was not just our work, but where we lived and what we cared about,” she said.

At some point, she made an off-the-cuff remark to Rawlyk that if HLT ever needed an executive director to let her know. A short time later, Margaret left Green Acres to work for The Trust for Public Land. She’d been there about a year, when her phone rang.

“There wasn’t any other job that would have made me leave TPL except for the Hunterdon Land Trust,” Margaret laughs. “Sure enough, I get a phone call and I’m told HLT is near the point where they’re going to hire a director, and was I interested. The job was an opportunity to make a difference where I lived, and that mattered to me.”

Upon being hired for the position, Margaret started doing what she knew best: conservation real estate projects. HLT had several land deals – including the Zega- Lockatong Preserve — that were already in the works thanks to the efforts of Rob Eberhardt, a part-time HLT land acquisitions specialist.

“Those early successes were really important because it gave us momentum to build off,” Margaret said.

During her tenure, HLT preserved more than 5,000 acres in Hunterdon County, and strengthened the local food movement by starting a Farmers’ Market. She credits Meg Metz for playing a pivotal role in bringing the market to life. “She was the brainchild behind the Farmers’ Market,” Margaret said. “Meg drove around the county, talking to farmers and convincing them to take a leap of faith and do this.”

Margaret’s association with Beryl Doyle stretched back to her time at Green Acres. “Beryl was a force of nature in Flemington,” Margaret said. “She did so much – you couldn’t even list all the good things she’s done for Hunterdon County. The Dvoor Farm is definitely one of them.”

A favorite memory of Margaret’s was in 2006 when HLT members climbed the hill of the newly protected Frenchtown Preserve and took this Christmas card photo.

Margaret departed HLT in the fall of 2011 to work for the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, having left an indelible impression upon the organization, and taking with her a host of fond memories.

Her favorite, perhaps, was the preservation of the 200-acre Frenchtown Preserve, the last large undeveloped property in the community and one that had caught the eye of developers.

“I consider that preservation an absolute miracle,” she said. “One of my favorite memories is when the board and staff went to the top of the hill there and took a photo that became HLT’s Christmas card. I thought, ‘Wow, we did something big and something important here.’ ”

You can congratulate Margaret in our Farm to Table program! For a contribution of $50 or more, your personal message will be included in the program. Please email your message to Judy Wilson, our director of administrative and cultural affairs, at judy@hunterdonlandtrust.org.


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