Princeton couple to be honored for land conservation efforts by state group

Photo of Scott and Hella McVay by Suzette J. Lucas.

Scott and Hella McVay of Princeton will be honored for their longtime support of land conservation at the New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s annual gala next month.

The McVays were chosen as this year’s honorees for their enthusiastic leadership in promoting a wide range of causes, including conservation, environmental stewardship, animal welfare, the arts, science, and education.

“For decades, Scott and Hella McVay have been amazing champions of New Jersey Conservation Foundation, as well as many other organizations,” said Alison Mitchell, co-executive director of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation. “They’re passionate about both nature and the arts, and their enthusiasm ignites others to share in those passions. They’re an inspiration for all who strive to make a positive impact in this world.”

Scott McVay is a poet, naturalist, and philanthropist who has directed or served on the boards of many institutions, including the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the World Wildlife Fund, the Chautauqua Institution, the Earth Policy Institute, and the Grounds For Sculpture. As a founding director of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, he created the Dodge Poetry Festival. As a scientific researcher, he helped discover and document the six-octave song of the humpback whale.

Hella McVay, a German-born mathematician, was the founding chair of the mathematics department at Stuart Country Day School. A trustee emeritus of the D&R Greenway Land Trust, she founded the non-profit Whole Earth Center in Princeton in 1970 and served for many years as its president. 

Married for more than 60 years, the McVays are known for their skill at making connections between art and nature. One example is their creation of the Poetry Trail at Princeton’s Greenway Meadows Park, a one-mile path dotted with more than 50 signs inscribed with poems relating to nature.

The May 16 gala will be held at Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton Township. The theme of the gala is “Inspired by Nature.” Proceeds from the gala will support the New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s land preservation, advocacy, and stewardship efforts throughout the state. For more information or to buy tickets to the event, visit the New Jersey Conservation Foundation website.

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