Olivia Glenn does it all. From balancing her career as the South Jersey Metro Regional Manager of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, to her role as a wife and mother of two children under 7-years old, to her newest role as the New Jersey Vice-Chair, Olivia has learned a thing or two about multi-tasking. We interviewed the new NJ Vice-Chair to get to know her better! Here’s what the Camden native had to say:
What’s your role at the New Jersey Conservation Foundation?
My geographic focus comprises the urbanized corridors of Gloucester, Camden, Burlington and Mercer Counties with a special emphasis on the City of Camden. My work includes land preservation, park planning and working with the Circuit Coalition.
How long have you worked on the Circuit Trails?
New Jersey Conservation Foundation has been involved with the Circuit Trails since its inception. I joined the effort in 2014.
What makes the Circuit so unique?
The Circuit Trail enhances our connectivity by making the numerous, regional trail projects part of a larger whole, whereby the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The Circuit Trails also pushes us beyond the conventional notions of “sense of place” that we associate with singular, discrete destinations. The Circuit propels us in a watershed context and helps reinforce that we are all connected.
What’s your favorite Circuit trail?
The Camden Greenway Phase One Loop on the Cooper River Trail… particularly in Farnham Park in Camden. I am a native of the City of Camden, and this park is also where I cultivated my love of nature. It is surreal to have the opportunity in my professional life to improve a place that is so special to me.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned from working on the Circuit Coalition?
I have learned that there are many great examples of trails bringing communities together right here in the Delaware Valley! Trails have been a great nexus to bring together multiple stakeholders, including transportation experts, environmentalists, hospitals, schools and corporations with local communities. One great example on the PA side is the St. Luke's Hospital's tailonthetrail.org initiative on the D&L Trail.
On the NJ side, I think of the wonderful work done in Mercer County on the Lawrence Hopewell Trail where the community, corporations, county government, nonprofits and trail advocates came together to create a great shared space.
Why should NJ residents take time to appreciate the Circuit Trails? What impact does it have for their community?
Getting on the Circuit is good for us on both a personal and a community level. On a personal level, it can improve our health outcomes and make us happier, as studies have shown. On a community level, there are environmental, economic and social benefits. Investing in and giving back to green spaces always gives back! We've seen the benefits of trails on property values and how retail establishments located along trails draw business from trail users. Beyond recreational and economic benefits for a community, trails can be very utilitarian for transportation and commuting.
What is your favorite time of year to experience the Circuit?
October. I love when the leaves change color and it’s comfortable enough to enjoy being outdoors without breaking a sweat…or freezing!
What are your goals for the upcoming year?
Four major goals are: (1) working with resident counties and local partners to secure stable sources of funding, including but not limited to NJTIP, TAP, and TE; (2) promoting the Circuit Trails through social media with partners and trail users so that it is very recognizable to a greater segment of the general population; (3) touting the existing beautiful trails, proposed projects and engaged partners that are in New Jersey; and (4) mobilizing new stakeholders to become Circuit Trails partners.
Photo: Olivia Glenn standing on the newly opened 0.6-mile long Delaware Avenue Extension Trail