Employees from UPS’s Morristown office spent a recent Saturday beautifying the property that houses the Harding Land Trust. UPS employees volunteer several times a year with the Land Conservancy of New Jersey’s Partners for Parks Program. This program recruits corporate and civic volunteer groups to work on projects designed to improve federal, state or locally-owned open space lands.

The group of 10 volunteers worked on the James Street property, co-owned by Harding Land Trust and Harding Township. The 14-acre property was preserved in 2002 through a combination of funds from the State Green Acres Program and Morris County Open Space Trust and Harding Township open space funds. Work included tree trimming, spreading mulch, removing invasive plants, and repairing an old post and rail fence. Even a portion of the house was scraped and prepped for a new coat of paint.

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It is difficult for small nonprofits like ours to fund maintenance projects, said Harding Land Trust Director, Tina Bologna. “We can secure grants to conduct ecological restoration projects on our properties, but it is difficult for us to fund landscaping and beautification projects.” Harding Land Trust is a privately funded organization that has preserved over 300 acres in Harding Township since it’s origin in 1990.

The Land Conservancy’s Partners for Parks program was instituted in 1996, and has since completed over 285 projects, affecting over 16,000 acres of federal, state, county, municipal, and non-profit lands in 7 northern New Jersey counties. More than 5000 volunteers from 60 corporations and businesses have participated in this program.

“Partners for Parks is has provided us with a wonderful opportunity to improve the appearance of our property. I am sure our neighbors will be just as grateful as we are,” concluded Bologna.