SUSSEX COUNTY, NJ – On December 1, 2023, Jennifer M. Coffey will assume the role of President of the Board of Directors for the Friends of the New Jersey School of Conservation (Friends).
Coffey will transition from her current role as a Friends Advisory Council member to President as current President Kerry Kirk Pflugh moves into her new position as Executive Director at the New Jersey School of Conservation (NJSOC), after having served as board president.
“It is a tall order to follow in Kerry’s footsteps as Board President, but I am thrilled for the opportunity to be her partner on this mission.” said Jennifer M. Coffey, Friends Advisory Council member and Executive Director of the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC). “In America’s most densely populated state, it’s important to connect kids and families to the magic of nature and wilderness. The NJSOC campus is truly a gem in the State of New Jersey and is an indispensable resource for climate research, recreation and environmental education.”
Coffey is a leading environmental advocate, serving as the voice of the state’s local environmental commissions in the halls of Trenton.
Under her tenure, ANJEC has been a leading voice advocating the state transition to clean energy. Coffey also led the fight to limit single-use plastics that culminated in landmark legislation Governor Murphy signed into law in 2020 that put the state at the forefront of combating plastic pollution.
She takes the helm of the Friends after it has been transformed over the past few years from an entity that assisted in private fundraising and volunteer support into a body that rescued the school from closure in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Friends led a broad-based coalition that worked in close partnership with Governor Murphy, state Sen. Bob Smith (D-Middlesex) and Assemblyman John McKeon (D-Essex) to reopen the school and to invest millions of dollars in state funding to bring the campus up to a state of good repair.
These efforts culminated in a long-term lease the organization signed with the state Department of Environmental Protection this past spring, which awards the Friends long-term stewardship of the school.
Fresh off these historic victories, the school, under Pflugh and Coffey’s leadership, is preparing to implement a new strategic plan designed to expand access to outdoor education for students of color and underserved communities even as it strengthens community outreach and research initiatives.
“It cannot be understated how passionate and determined the Friends of the New Jersey School of Conservation are,” Pflugh said. “We saved this historic environmental resource and have great plans to restore it to its full operating capacity so that’s students from all over the state can visit and learn about climate, ecology, and outdoor activities and skills.”