Board of Directors
Experiencing the marshlands for the first time in her kayak in the early aughts piqued Deb’s interest in this area, which led to walks at Spring Lake and learning more about the marshlands. Deb has volunteer experience, both locally and nationally, in planning, constructing, and maintaining hiking trails. She has been a trail monitor and led construction projects on trails in the marshlands and is currently Stewardship Committee Chair. Her goal in stewardship is to balance preservation of natural habitats with providing sustainable access to preserved land.
Deb is retired from a career in education, both teaching and conducting research related to learning and assessment in STEM classrooms. She has an educational background in environmental chemistry and received certification as a Rutgers Environmental Steward upon completion of a multifaceted project in the marshlands with Pat Coleman.
An art quilt hobbyist, Deb finds inspiration from the beauty and serenity in the natural world for many of her creations. Her quilts have appeared in art and quilt shows in several states.
Pat Coleman has always enjoyed spending time out of doors but since her retirement from the corporate world she has participated in many opportunities to learn more about nature and to share that knowledge with others. The Abbott Marshlands are now her favorite spot to walk, kayak and enjoy the gifts of the earth. She especially likes following Mary Leck around the Marsh discovering botanical wonders.
Pat retired as a management executive of a bioanalytical laboratory in the pharmaceutical industry. She spent several years afterward using her management skills working with local non-profit organizations in the Mercer County/Bucks County area. Eventually moving into full volunteer mode, she participated in the PA Master Naturalists Program and led many botanical walks as a Naturalist guide at the Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve. She also served on the Board of Directors of both the Silver Lake Nature Center and Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, where she also worked to catalog and steward the native plant collection.
“The Friends for the Abbott Marshlands have presented me with a unique opportunity to use some of my existing skills while developing a greater appreciation for the wonderful wildness of the marshlands and its inhabitants. And thanks to the Friends, I have also met many amazing people who, like me, feel a connection to this special place, are eager to learn more about it, and are willing to give their time and energy for its benefit!”
Joel Dowshen has lived in historic Bordentown City since 1972 where he’s been locally involved in areas from coaching to being president of the school board to membership in many civic organizations to being a longtime member of the Bordentown City Environmental Commission. His interest in the human relationship to the natural environment has been formed and reinforced by travels to nearly 40 countries and many US national parks, exploring important natural and cultural sites. It has also led to his interest in our world-class local natural resources like the Abbott Marshlands, and to his involvement with the Friends.
He is retired from management consulting in pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and consumer goods. His prior career focused on marketing, communication, and planning in industries ranging from construction and material handling to commercial airlines to health care systems. He is still active in his wife’s art business, Marsha Dowshen Pottery.
Joel is a graduate of Brown University, has two children and four grandchildren who help keep him “young” and vitally interested in keeping our planet a beautiful, viable, hopeful place for them and us all.
Eugene M. Fuzy has had a love of nature and sharing his experiences since he was 3. His love of insects led him to manage a laboratory at Rutgers University for 14 years, where he co-authored 22 peer-reviewed journal entries. He has also co-discovered a new species of nematode and has given nearly 100 talks. Eugene has been interviewed in newspapers, radio shows, and television. His “largest” claim to fame is appearing as a spider expert on the History Channel’s MonsterQuest: Giant Spiders.
Eugene tries to provide at least one public talk or hike within the Abbott Marshlands each year. Eugene was recruited to the board after bumping into the Friends at various events and offering to do those walks. Eugene decided to join the board to give back to the community and share his love of nature with the public. Eugene is currently the Secretary and Marketing and Membership Chair. He is eager to share his knowledge and passion in an easy-to-approach manner.
Mike MacEwan went to Stockton College (NJ), where he studied Environmental Science and Biology. His interests were in population dynamics and animal behavior, and he has been fortunate enough to work with blue crabs, 3 different seal species, diamondback terrapins, and, after graduation, grey wolves in Minnesota. While sitting by a pristine lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area WIlderness, he realized that he wanted to get youth excited about environmental science. He came home to start teaching science and has been an educator in many different settings since, sharing his love of the environment and helping people experience nature around them.
His family is new to this area of NJ, but they quickly realized how special this place is. The Marsh and the Abbott Farm National Historic Landmark are literally in his backyard, and he had no idea. The more he has learned, the more he wants to preserve this place and help others enjoy it the way his family does (they love watching turtles, by the way).
Growing up in Hamilton, the area now known as Roebling Park, Spring Lake and The Abbott Marshlands, was her playground. Being from an era when kids often left home early in the morning and spent the day having many unsupervised adventures,.. “White City Lake” was the perfect venue for all types of marshy mischief.
After graduation from Kean University with a degree in Recreation Administration, she married, started a family and ultimately raised her family only a few blocks from Roebling Park. She is happy to report that her children also had pretty much the same experience as she did, enjoying all of the natural beauty and resources that the Abbott Marshlands have to offer.
After spending 12 years working in the field of Therapeutic Recreation, she accepted the position of Recreation Supervisor for the Morris County Park Commission, thus beginning my 26 year long career in County Park Management. She retired from the Somerset County Park Commission in 2016 and began volunteering at the Tuplehaking Nature Center.
As the Recreation Chair of the Abbott Marshlands Council, she began a Wednesday morning walking group and created a liaison between community police and fire departments. This improved communication with local first responders, culminated in key drop boxes at park entry points to allow emergency access after the park has closed, the creation of a park land grid which allows Park Rangers and local Police to better describe park areas where patrons in need of assistance may be located, or any suspicious activity may be reported and addressed, and the installation of security cameras at strategic locations within the park.
As a Board Member of the Friends of the Abbott Marshlands, she will continue to utilize her professional experience to support new and existing programs as well as, work in the creation of events that will promote the Abbott Marshlands and provide necessary fiscal resources.
Margaret Simpson was raised in the Lalor Tract neighborhood of Bow Hill Mansion. She learned early on to love history. The marsh uplands, meadows and surrounding woodlands were where her childhood meandering began. Lalor Tract’s woods connect to the historic “White City” area of Spring Lake one mile away. In high school and college, Margaret worked for Dunham’s Department Store at Independence Mall, where she met her future husband, Jamie. The mall borders the land designated in 1976 as Abbott Farm Historic District.
Artists run in her family. Margaret raised her three children while working in graphic design and exhibiting watercolor paintings at area galleries. Drawn to nature for exploration, photography, and inspiration, she participated in the Abbott Marshlands monthly trail walks since 2019. She attended a public session at Tulpehaking Nature Center, which spurred an interest in joining the Friends board that year. Margaret now volunteers her time with marsh clean ups, photography, graphics and writing social media posts for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. She is grateful to work with the Friends for the Abbott Marshlands board on their marketing goals and preservation of this unique place.
Michael Skelly has a lifelong passion for environment, history and art. He’s active locally in Bordentown and Hamilton, NJ. He has served on numerous Boards in a range of groups including Northeast Sustainable Energy, Crossroads of the American Revolution, National Heritage Association, and as past President of NJ Alliance for Environmental Education. Friends for Abbott Marshlands provides an opportunity to support a unique natural area that is close-by and close to his heart.
He is retired from the business of utility scale renewable energy development and law practice.
Michael is a graduate of Rutgers and Seton Hall Universities, and has two children.
Jackie Stone has always loved staying active and exploring the outdoors. She is an avid hiker, runner, and just about anything else that gets her exercising out in nature. Growing up on the West coast, she has particularly enjoyed learning about all the new plant, animal, and fungi species she has encountered since her move to Mercer County a few years ago.
Jackie has a PhD in microbiology but has moved away from the microscopic world and research laboratories to focus on scientific communications. She currently works as a medical writer, helping translate advances in medicine for multiple audiences. This work led her to start volunteering at the Tulpehaking Nature Center, writing many of the center’s exhibit signs. Her passion is helping make science- no matter what field- available and easily understandable to everyone.
Jackie was recruited to the board after volunteering at a number of Friends events and is grateful for the opportunity to help give back to the community of nature lovers she has come to cherish.
Mary is a seed ‘nerd’. As a child Mary wondered whether the orange seed she’d swallowed would grow inside her. As a senior at UMass, while walking across campus thinking about her research project, she wondered how anyone could be anything but a Botany major!
Since then, Mary’s research has mainly concerned seeds. She didn’t know about tidal freshwater wetland until 1974. That first research project of seeds in marsh soil with a Rider University student led to more than 25 marsh-related publications as well as two co-edited books, one on soil seed banks and the other on seedlings. Seeds and, by extension, the marsh are central to her being; Mary couldn’t be happier than being hip deep in wetland plants or trying to identify a new seedling growing in marsh mud.
Marsh-related laboratory projects for her students and field trips for high school students from Trenton made her realize the importance of the marsh as an educational resource. Mary became a strong advocate for the marsh. Now the marsh, through the efforts of many, has a nature center, an active Friends group, new trail signage, and varied programs.
Mary also pursues photographic interests. Her most recent is an exhibit at the Tulpehaking Nature Center, ‘The Wisdom of Trees’ with Patricia Bender, in which she explores how tree bark accommodates growth in diameter and circumference.
Superintendent of Parks, Mercer County Park Commission
NJDEP Division of Parks and Forestry, State Park Service
D&R Canal State Park
President & CEO, D&R Greenway Land Trust
Director of Environmental Education, Mercer County Park Commission