A small crowd gathered to celebrate the life and achievements of Bob Perkins at the Troy Meadows Nature Preserve. Celebratory speeches were given by Len Fariello, Reverend Kenneth Austenberg, Anita Austenberg-Shotwell, Luca Fariello and William Fiore Esquire. A beautiful memorial plaque in Bob’s memory was unveiled, friends were reunited, and a good time was had by all.
Also in attendance:
Ranger Pauline, Ranger Raf, Ranger Hawk, Land Steward Dave Blinder, Ed & Sarah Sammans, Chuck Hantis, Dave Landry, Geoff Millington, Ellen Jones, Blaine Rothauser, Diane Louie (NJ Audubon)
Bob Perkins’ Obituary:
Robert (Bob) Logan Perkins, Jr., 89, was born on June 23, 1927 and passed away on June 16, 2017, just a few days short of his ninetieth birthday.
Robert’s legacy is preserving vast freshwater marshland in the central Passaic River Basin from Great Swamp north to Black Meadows, Troy Meadows and Great Piece Meadows.
He is the founding father of Wildlife Preserves, Inc., a private, nonprofit land conservation organization dedicated to the preservation of natural areas, open space, wildlife, and wildlife habitats for conservation, education, and research. He was an avid bird watcher and could recognize thousands of birds and hundreds of bird calls.
He was known for walking through swamps with a pair of binoculars and a canoe paddle to blaze his way. He was one of 105 students attended The Putney Boarding School in Putney, Vermont and graduated Yale in 1955.
In his youth, he raised funds from rich, private philanthropists who loved birds; he charmed hundreds of land owners and bought thousands of acres of natural lands under the name of Wildlife Preserves, Inc.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service praised Bob Perkins regarding his accomplishment for consolidating hundreds of individual lots of land into one contiguous parcel at Troy Meadows; a letter written in 1960 from the Fish and Wildlife Service states, “(He) did what no one else was able to do before him.” Wildlife Preserves donated, sold, and in some cases its lands were taken to create many parks and forests in the Northeast. Parts of the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuges, the Fire Island National Seashore and three Morris County Parks were saved and once owned and by Wildlife Preserves.
Mr. Perkins acquired marshlands from the Delaware Bay in Delaware and southern New Jersey, north through the Pine Barrens, along the central Passaic Basin to the Appalachian mountains of northern New Jersey, through New York State, and as far north as New Hampshire and Maine.
He acquired more land than he could keep track of and lost lots of parcels to foreclosure for lack of paying property taxes.