Pinelands Gala

Honoring Conservation Icons & Community Innovators


Celebrate the Pinelands logo

Saturday, October 14, 2023 from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM
at the Pinelands Preservation Alliance, 17 Pemberton Rd, Southampton, NJ 08088

Please join us as we celebrate Carleton Montgomery’s 25 years leading the Pinelands Preservation Alliance! We will induct, Michele Byers into the Pine Barrens Hall of Fame and present our first-ever Catalyst of Change award to The Opportunity League.

The evening will feature locally sourced gourmet hors d’oeuvres and entrée stations, an open bar with our signature cocktail, fine wine, and New Jersey’s own craft beer. A dessert and coffee bar will follow the awards ceremony. Enjoy lively conversation and a silent auction offering unique items, fun excursions, and much, much more!

RSVP by September 30, 2023.

Our barn is handicap accessible with an elevator to the loft.

To inquire about purchasing tickets please call Becky at 609-859-8860 ext 121,

Thank you to our 2023 Sponsors!

Become a sponsor!

Sponsorship opportunities are still available! The deadline for inclusion in all materials is September 15, 2023. Download the sponsor packet here. For more information or to become a sponsor click on the button below. Questions? Contact Kellie at 609-859-8860 ext 124 or email

Make Donation

If you cannot attend the event but would like to support it with a donation, you may do so here. You can also leave a message for one of our honorees.

Proceeds from the evening will benefit the collaborative work of The Opportunity League, Rancocas Creek Farm and the Pinelands Preservation Alliance in addressing food insecurity and protection of the Pinelands natural resources.

celebrating 25 years of progress

Carleton Montgomery

The Pinelands Preservation Alliance was fortunate when Carleton Montgomery became executive director in 1998. He left behind a partnership in a thriving Washington DC law firm to make his home in South Jersey and his mission Pinelands protection. Since those early days, Carleton grew the organization into the leading voice advocating on behalf of the Pinelands and is credited with launching the Rancocas Creek Farm, Pinelands Adventures and The Pinelands Is for Everyone initiative. Under his direction, PPA continues to work with great partners in places like Hammonton, Burlington City and Camden. “Working with partners across the normal divisions between environmental, social service, agricultural, health, economic, and community development fields to find new ways to bring more people into a meaningful relationship with the nature around them is really essential for the future of the Pinelands,” Carleton recently stated. “I believe we have to expand and deepen the communities of people who care about the Pinelands by providing more people with experiences of nature; people who we weren’t reaching before. They will be our future Pinelands champions.”

The pine barrens Hall of fame

The Pine Barrens Hall of Fame recognizes those individuals who have played a significant role in preserving the natural and cultural resources of the region. We are proud to honor this year’s inductee, Michele Byers.

Michele Byers

Michele Byers’ legacy in land preservation and environmental advocacy is unequaled. During her 39-year tenure with the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, 22 of those years as Executive Director, she ensured the preservation of over 60,000 acres and established nature preserves throughout New Jersey to encourage hiking, birdwatching, and the enjoyment of nature for all New Jerseyans.  She played a critical role in the preservation of the now 11,500-acre Franklin Parker Preserve and worked to secure the passage of the NJ Highlands Water Quality and Planning Act which protects the drinking water supply for 64% of New Jersey residents. Throughout her storied career, Michele built strong partnerships within and outside of the conservation community and was instrumental in the creation of the Whitesbog Preservation Trust, the NJ Highlands Coalition, the Hunterdon Land Trust, ReThink Energy NJ, the NJ League of Conservation Voters, and the Pinelands Preservation Alliance. She successfully advocated for the protection of the NJ Palisades, leading an effort to ensure the ultimate demise of the Penn East Pipeline, and helped launch a multi-decade transformation of Camden City through a comprehensive parks and greenway initiative. Though now retired, her work, advocacy, and legacy continue to have a lasting impact on New Jersey’s natural lands.

Catalyst of Change

The Catalyst of Change award represents the spirit of innovation and collaboration that transcends boundaries and inspires community building for future environmental and agricultural sustainability. Seigha and Shenee Omuso will accept the inaugural Catalyst of Change award on behalf of The Opportunity League.

volunteers at the farm
The O League interns at Rancocas Creek Farm 2023.

Founded in 2009, The Opportunity League of Burlington, NJ (TOL) addresses community social, economic, and educational disparities and currently enriches the lives of over 400 households annually. TOL works to close the equity gap in the areas of food access, education and career pathways, recreation and sports, and economic development.

For 15 years, TOL has created, connected, and cultivated opportunities that remove obstacles to social, emotional, mental, and physical health and their consequences. To accomplish this, TOL focuses on asset-based community development, that is, utilizing community strengths and engaging key partners to develop initiatives that create healthy, equitable communities.

As a champion of food justice and sovereignty, TOL develops sustainable models for food access that is healthy, culturally relevant, and locally sourced in an environmentally responsible way (i.e. Villages, a resident-led nonprofit marketplace, community garden, learning center & business incubator). Other community development initiatives include local and international sports programming, workforce development and adult certification programs, early childhood education social-emotional learning (SEL), STEM learning & career discovery for youth, college readiness, and entrepreneurship.

The Opportunity League is proud to provide life-changing opportunities that empower ALL community members to live a life of good health, dignity & respect and to make positive contributions to their community. “We all do better when we all do better.”

2023 Gala Sponsors

Community Innovator

Gail Harris and Family
Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III



Charles Chapin
The Iannuzzelli Family
Ingrid Reed


Great Egg Harbor Watershed Association
Patricia A. Butenis
Rosina Dixon
Sparkman Media LLC
Gayle Miner

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