Meredyth R. Armitage, Paul R. Brown, Ph.D., Mai Cleary, Mark Forrest Gilbertson, and Bob Sickles accept
Board positions with Monmouth Conservation Foundation
April 20, 2015, Middletown, NJ – Monmouth Conservation Foundation, the non-profit organization that collaboratively has preserved more than 22,500 acres of open space and farmland throughout Monmouth County, is pleased to announce five individuals have joined the organization’s Board of Trustees: Meredyth R. Armitage, Paul R. Brown, Ph.D., Mai Cleary, Mark Forrest Gilbertson, and Bob Sickles.
The Board of Trustees sets broad policies for Monmouth Conservation Foundation, approves an annual budget, and ensures the Foundation meets its organizational goals. Most importantly, the Board ensures the Foundation continues to implement its overarching mission of creating a permanent legacy of farmland, woodlands, wildlife, historic areas, parks, and open space throughout Monmouth County. Each of the new Board members will serve a three-year term.
Meredyth Armitage, the owner of Meredyth Armitage Interiors, is a long-time resident of Rumson. She has served on the Rumson Planning Board and was elected to the Rumson Borough Council and Rumson Board of Education. A graduate of Smith College, Armitage currently is Secretary of the Meridian Hospitals Corporation Board of Trustees. She is a member of the Meridian Home Care/Hospice Board and Meridian Quality Care Board as well as Meridian’s marketing, nominating, and professional care committees.
Paul Brown is the eighth president of Monmouth University. Previously, Brown served as dean of the College of Business and Economics at Lehigh University and held senior academic and administrative positions at New York University’s Stern School of Business. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Franklin and Marshall College, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree, Brown earned his Doctor of Philosophy and Masters of Professional Accountancy degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. During his tenure at Monmouth, Brown has completed a comprehensive strategic plan, overseen substantial campus improvements, and recently led the university to its highest levels of outside financial support including a $5 million Marine Science & Policy Challenge Grant for the UCI. In 2014 Monmouth University received the Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award in the Clean Air category for its contributions to improving air quality in New Jersey.
Mai Cleary, a Colts Neck native and Middletown resident, founded Oasis tlc, a non-profit organization that promotes the inclusion and acceptance of individuals with autism into local communities. Oasis tlc preserves Monmouth County property in order to create small organic farms where young adults with autism can live and work. Its first farm was purchased in conjunction with Monmouth Conservation Foundation, Middletown Township, NY/NJ Baykeepers, and other partners. Cleary, who earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing at Fairfield University, served as the head of the Neuro-Intensive Care Unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She is the mother of three, including one son with autism.
Mark Forrest Gilbertson is a sixth-generation Monmouth County resident who has maintained his family’s home in Rumson. He has supported Monmouth Conservation Foundation, the Monmouth County Historical Association, and other area organizations. A graduate of The Rumson Country Day School, The Lawrenceville School, and Rollins College, Gilbertson is a Trustee of the Museum of the City of New York and the founder of the organization’s Directors Council. As a child, Gilbertson grew up knowing Judith Stanley, a founder of Monmouth Conservation Foundation, and worked for her when he was a teenager.
Rumson resident Bob Sickles is the third-generation owner of Sickles Market in Little Silver. Sickles grew up and worked on his family farm, attended college, and returned to participate in the family business. He has transformed Sickles Market, which was founded in 1908, into a nationally recognized, year-round business that employs more than 130 individuals. Sickles has instituted several popular fundraising events in support of Holiday Express and other local organizations. As a Board Member for the Parker Homestead-1665, he generated more than $100,000 to preserve the historic property adjacent to Sickles Market. The homestead is believed to be one of the oldest farm properties in the United States owned continuously by one family.
William Kastning, Executive Director of Monmouth Conservation Foundation, commends the entire Board of Trustees for their commitment to Monmouth Conservation Foundation and for tirelessly carrying out its mission.
“The members of Monmouth Conservation Foundation’s Board of Trustees are outstanding individuals who are exceptionally accomplished and represent a range of professional, personal, and philanthropic fields,” Kastning states. “ The Foundation is especially thankful to the Board for both their support and for the role they serve as ambassadors of Monmouth Conservation Foundation and its ongoing mission to acquire, hold, develop, save, and protect land throughout Monmouth County.”
The late Michael Huber and Judith Stanley – longtime residents of Monmouth County – founded the non-profit Monmouth Conservation Foundation in 1977. The mission of Monmouth Conservation Foundation is directed at saving invaluable open space, farmland, woodlands and wetlands; protecting waterways and wildlife; preserving ecosystems; and creating and/or extending parks and greenways. All of this, combined, constitutes Monmouth County as an extraordinary place to live.
Monmouth Conservation Foundation is Monmouth County’s only countywide land trust. The organization achieved accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission (LTAC), an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance. With this accreditation, Monmouth Conservation Foundation joined an elite group of only 300 accredited land trusts in the United States. The accreditation validates that Monmouth Conservation Foundation has met the high standards for quality established by the LTAC. In addition, the accreditation confirms that the results of Monmouth Conservation Foundation’s preservation projects are permanent.
To date, Monmouth Conservation Foundation directly has preserved more than 6,500 acres of land. Working with a number of partners, Monmouth Conservation Foundation collaboratively has preserved more than 16,000 acres, for a total preservation of 22,500 acres throughout Monmouth County.