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Richard J. Sullivan Center

RJS Center Background

In December 2001, the Pinelands Commission opened the Richard J. Sullivan Center for Environmental Policy and Education. The nearly 12,500-square-foot facility is located on the grounds of Fenwick Manor, the 5-acre historic farmstead which houses the offices of the Pinelands Commission. The Sullivan Center is comprised of office space, a lecture hall/public meeting room, conference room, library and technology resource center.

The center is named for former Pinelands Commission Chairman Richard J. Sullivan, who served in that capacity from 1988 to 1998. A champion of the Pinelands, Mr. Sullivan was also the first Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection from 1970 to 1974 and was a chief architect of the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan.

The Richard J. Sullivan Center houses two of the Commission's staff offices and hosts Commision meetings and special events such as the Pinelands Speaker Series.

The long-term objectives of the Richard J. Sullivan Center for Environmental Policy and Education are to:

  • foster awareness, appreciation, understanding and commitment to the New Jersey Pinelands;
  • support the mission of the Pinelands Commission to improve the Pinelands Protection Program;
  • better enable those individuals and organizations charged with implementing Pinelands programs to achieve their objectives;
  • provide opportunities for public dialogue to address and discuss planning, scientific and regulatory issues, information and long-term strategies;
  • promote the acceptance of the Richard J. Sullivan Center as a integral social, cultural, and educational component of the Pinelands community; and
  • ensure efficient and effective use of Pinelands programmatic resources.

Pinelands Exhibits

The New Jersey Pinelands Commission is now working on the fabrication and installation of interactive exhibits that will transform its headquarters, the Richard J. Sullivan Center (RJS Center), into a Pinelands Visitors Center. These exhibits will greatly enhance the Commission’s ongoing efforts to educate the public about the 1.1-million acre Pinelands National Reserve (PNR). The PNR covers parts of seven counties in southern New Jersey, and it is home to 850 species of plants and nearly 500 species of animals, including more than 130 threatened or endangered wildlife species. The Pinelands Commission is an independent state agency that oversees land-use, development and the protection of natural resources in the Pinelands. (Click here) for pdf images of the proposed design plan.

The Commission worked with the National Park Service (NPS) to complete an assessment of the need and feasibility of housing Pinelands-themed exhibits at the RJS Center. Using funds from the NPS, the Commission hired Content Design Collaborative, LLC of Scituate, MA, to design informational and engaging exhibits for the center.The design plan was completed in July 2012. The plan calls for relocating the existing receptionist/front desk in the lobby of the RJS Center to make room for a large map of recreation sites and other exhibits that will orient visitors and introduce them to the Pinelands. The main exhibit would be housed in the 320-square-foot room.  There, visitors would be able to feel the grains of sand and gravel that make up the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer, which is the lifeblood of the Pinelands’ ecology. The “uplands” section of the room would detail the vital role of fire in shaping the region’s landscape, while exploring the dwarf pine and oak trees found in the Pine Plains, as well as the story of Elizabeth White and her efforts to cultivate the blueberry. The “wetlands” section would focus on rare plants and animals, such as the Pine Barrens tree frog, as well as cranberry agriculture. A large aquarium of native Pinelands fish would be featured in the “surface waters” section of the exhibit. Cultural artifacts such as cannonballs and duck decoys will be showcased in the center of the room.