As State Director of The Nature Conservancy in New Jersey, Barbara Brummer heads a team of scientists, conservation practitioners, policy experts and fundraisers addressing the key challenges facing nature and people in the nation’s most densely populated state. As we move rapidly towards a world with nine billion people, she has focused the Chapter on demonstrating the critical role that nature plays in the health of both people and nature – through the forested lands and great rivers that provide freshwater, marshes that protect the state’s extraordinary coast and support a bounty of marine life, and natural expanses that help mitigate the impacts of climate change. .
With an academic background in science, a long and successful career in the consumer products industry, and a passion for the natural world, Barbara’s strength in organizational management has been central to the Chapter’s success in taking on increasingly ambitious goals to forward work on the ground and to influence conservation statewide and beyond New Jersey’s borders. This is reflected in the Chapter’s long-standing investment in government relations efforts, which she established soon after joining the Conservancy in 2004, a successful marketing/communications program, and numerous successful partner collaborations. She has also helped spur cooperation among Chapters in the Conservancy’s multi-state Delaware River & Bay Whole System and Mid-Atlantic Seascape.
Barbara has created, promotes and maintains strong relationships with local, state and regional partners, including state and federal agencies, non-profit organizations, individuals, and other Conservancy chapters and programs. She currently represents the Conservancy as a member of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Endangered and Non-Game Species Advisory Council. She was instrumental in the formation of a new statewide dam removal working group, modeled on one she brought together to guide the successful removal of the Columbia Dam near the juncture of Paulins Kill, a river in northwestern New Jersey, with the Delaware River. And she teamed with philanthropy thought leaders in New Jersey to teach a course on Globalization & Philanthropy at New York University.
Barbara has a long record of community service and commitment to educating scientists in New Jersey, where she was born and raised. She chairs the Advisory Board of the Montclair State University College of Mathematics & Science, and for many years, while working full time and raising a family, was an adjunct professor of Field Herpetology at NYU. She served for 17 years on the Board of the New Jersey Audubon Society and for more than 25 years has been a trustee of the Pocono Environmental Education Center, which educates more than 20,000 students and educators in New Jersey every year.
Barbara holds a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from New York University (1980); MS from New York University (1976) and undergraduate degree from Montclair State University in Biology, Chemistry and Physics (1968). She also completed the Advanced Manager Program at Harvard University (1997).
Prior to joining The Nature Conservancy, Barbara held the position of Worldwide Vice President of Women’s Health & Wellness for the Consumer Group at Johnson & Johnson, retiring at the end of 2002. This worldwide franchise position was created to globalize various Women’s Health leadership brands. Prior to this assignment she was the President and Managing Director of Johnson & Johnson Inc., Canada from January 1998 until July of 2000. Canada markets most of the brands of the Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies. During her tenure in Canada she more than doubled the consumer sales for the company. Barbara joined Johnson & Johnson at the Advanced Care Products Company in November of 1990 and, including her career at Johnson & Johnson, she worked in the Consumer Products industry for more than 30 years. Barbara has 2 daughters and four grandchildren and lives in Sussex County.
The Calming Power of Nature
First and foremost, on behalf of the entire staff here in New Jersey, it is our sincere wish that you and your loved ones have weathered these unprecedented conditions safely. We deeply thank all the dedicated folks—from medical professionals, grocery clerks, truckers, sanitation workers and all other essential service providers—who kept society running with selfless aplomb. And our hearts go out to all affected by illness, loss or economic hardship.
What a time it has been. High-stress and humbling, yes, but not without hope. And nature plays a big role in that hope.
In a time of stress, nature soothes. The simplicity of spring flowers blooming and the reappearance of migratory backyard birds provide a welcome break from the unending news cycle.
In a period of distancing, nature brings us together. Music on a breeze through an open window, a walk in the sunshine, the view of the blue sky we all live beneath, reminds us we are all citizens of the same planet.
When we feel vulnerable, nature shows us resilience. Trees green around us, hummingbirds return and horseshoe crabs make the same journey to our shores they have been for millions of years.
We can turn to nature personally for these benefits, and on a larger scale for the betterment of the world around us. Circumstances in 2020 have only reinforced that innovation and teamwork are a powerful combination. The below photos are ones of hope and innovation, of partnership and passion. Nature will help us through.
As for our Nature Conservancy chapter here in New Jersey, we have postponed some of our public events and activities for a bit, but—like nature itself—we will adapt and continue to work tirelessly to protect our lands and waters and the many benefits they provide us. I have never been more grateful to be in this conservation family, and to count you as a supporter.
When we can't connect with others, we can connect and be inspired by nature in all its forms. Below are just a few of my favorite photos of nature and wildlife in New Jersey. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Yours in conservation,
Dr. Barbara Brummer
New Jersey State Director