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Sam Lambert to be Honored at NJ Conservation Gala

Drone View of Franklin Parker Preserve. (Photo by Richard Lewis)

Samuel W. Lambert III of Princeton will be honored for his land preservation efforts in the Pine Barrens on Thursday, June 1, at New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s 2023 Gala in Peapack-Gladstone.

The event to be held at the Mansion of Natirar will celebrate land preservation throughout New Jersey — most notably the 20th anniversary of the Franklin Parker Preserve in the heart of the Pine Barrens.

A former cranberry farm, the 18-square-mile preserve is a nature lover’s paradise filled with sparkling reservoirs, vast scrub oak and pine forests, rare Atlantic white cedar swamps, and 14 tributaries of the Wading River. Lambert was president of New Jersey Conservation Foundation when A.R. DeMarco Enterprises decided to sell the property, which led to the successful fundraising effort to acquire the land in 2003.

“Sam Lambert is a true conservation champion, and his leadership was absolutely crucial to buying this property and preserving it as an unspoiled gem,” said Alison Mitchell, co-executive director. “Twenty years later, we want to thank Sam again for all he has done for New Jersey Conservation Foundation, and for everyone who loves the beauty of the Pine Barrens.”

The gala includes cocktails, dinner, music, and a live auction of unique trips and experiences. Tickets are $500 per person. Proceeds from the gala support New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s land preservation, advocacy, and stewardship efforts throughout the state. Purchase tickets here:

Natirar (Photo by Ed Collyer)

Built in 1912, the hilltop Natirar Mansion was the Gilded Age centerpiece of the vast estate owned by Kate Macy Ladd and Walter Ladd. They named the estate Naitrir (Raritan spelled backward) after the Raritan River, which flows for over a mile through the property. After Walter Ladd’s death, the mansion became a convalescent home for nearly 50 years and was then purchased by King Hassan II Morocco.

After the death of King Hassan, the estate was purchased in 2003 by Somerset County, which preserved the bulk of the property as a public park. The 90 acres at the top of the hill, including the mansion and carriage house, were turned into a gourmet restaurant and luxury event space. The property (and site of the N.J. Conservation Gala event) is located at 400 Natirar Drive in Peapack-Gladstone.

The New Jersey Conservation Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, statewide organization devoted to preserving land and protecting nature throughout the state’s rural, suburban, and urban landscapes. Since 1960, the organization has preserved more than 14,000 acres of open space, farmland, and parks. The foundation manages 17 nature preserves and conducts public outreach and education programs. To learn more, visit

Samuel W. Lambert III

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