HAMILTON, NJ -- After years of stewardship to the Abbott Marshlands, Warren Libensperger was recently honored by the Friends of the Abbott Marshlands and Mercer County officials. During his walk out to the trail last month, Libensperger was surprised by a small group of socially-distanced volunteers as well as Kelly Rypkema and Alexandria Kosowski of the Mercer County Park Commission who presented him with the Mary Allessio Leck Award for 2020.  

In presenting the award, its namesake Mary Leck said that Libensperger "is an amazing volunteer, contributing in myriad ways to make the marshlands he loves a better place for others to visit."

He first became involved as a marsh volunteer in mid-1990s helping plant the berm in Roebling Park to replace an unsightly rutted road at the edge of Spring Lake. Libensperger has participated in numerous trash clean-ups, pruned bushes, removed fallen branches and camps and camping detritus, and helped with trail maintenance to help make the marsh look its best.  

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And he didn't stop there.   

LIbensperger has made benches on the path to the Eagle’s Nest on the Duck Island towpath trail and used his own lawnmower to cut the grass on the D&R Canal towpath connector trail to Lamberton Road.  

During the award presentation it was noted that "If he saw something that needed doing, he did it –sprayed roots white for night walks, built boardwalks over muddy places on trails, and bridges and walkways over tidal channels to allow access to trails. He helped install markers for the first tidal water trail."

Rypkema and Kosowski presented Libensperger with a proclamation from Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes and a letter of appreciation from Executive Director of the Mercer County Park Commission Aaron T. Watson for his numerous years volunteering to protect the Abbott Marshlands. 

A longtime Hamilton resident, Libensperger attended Lalor Elementary School and grew up near the marsh where he hunted, fished, swam, and hung out as a child. He knows the marsh trails and waterways "better than anyone else" with years of recollections about the marsh and its history.

At the award presentation, he was commended "as a true friend of the marsh; his reach is far and wide. He brings a devotion and commitment to the care of the marsh that is unique.  He is kind, considerate, and unassuming; he engages people at the end of the field trip line; he is also helpful to park staff and visitors."

The Friends for the Abbott Marshlands is a grassroots organization of volunteers dedicated to enhancing appreciation and protection of the Abbott Marshlands which includes parts Hamilton, Bordentown City, Bordentown Township, and Trenton with surrounding upland designated as the Abbott Farm National Historic Landmark by the United States Department of Interior. 

Located at 157 Westcott Avenue in Hamilton Township, the Tulpehaking Nature Center is the main educational facility for the Abbott Marshlands.   

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