Your water. Your environment. Your voice.

History of the ‘Shed

In 1949 a handful of farsighted community leaders joined forces to form the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association. Concerned at the time about agricultural runoff, soil erosion and stream sedimentation, the Watershed Association became central New Jersey’s first environmental group. Since that time, our focus has evolved. Today we protect clean water and the environment through a combination of conservation, advocacy, science and education. Thanks to the loyal support of our members and volunteers the Watershed Association has grown into one of the largest and most respected watershed associations in the country.

Here’s just a sampling of some of our major milestones…

Three important figures in Watershed Association history:

Kathleen Peyton, Watershed Association founder

The Conservation Chair for the Garden Club of Princeton, Mrs. Peyton took interest in one of the nation’s first watershed association – the Brandywine Valley Watershed Association -and felt it could work as a model for an organization to protect natural resources in central New Jersey. Part of a committee of five, she helped identify the 265-square-mile region now known as the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed and solicited the help of the Soil Conservation Service to take on the first surveys of this area for soil erosion.

David Hunter McAlpin Sr., Watershed Association founder

A charter trustee of the Conservation Foundation, which merged with the World Wildlife Fund in 1990, Mr. McAlpin sought the advice and support of Conservation Foundation founder Henry Fairfield Osborn Jr. who saw a critical need for grassroots organizations to protect the environment at the watershed scale. With Osborn’s guiding spirit, Mr. McAlpin and a committee of five helped attract enough interest in soil erosion and forest management issues to transform the all-volunteer group into a permanent fixture in the community. Mr. McAlpin also served as Association President and Membership Chairman during his tenure.

Dr. Muriel Gardiner Buttinger, Watershed Association benefactor

Dr. Muriel Gardiner Buttinger was the Watershed Association’s primary benefactor. A student studying medicine in Vienna at the beginning of World War II, Dr. Buttinger risked her life working to transport Jews out of the country – for which she was later awarded the Austrian Cross of Honor. After the war, she and her family moved to the historic Drake Farmstead in Hopewell. A psychiatrist dedicated to children and an early and avid supporter of the Watershed Association’s work, Dr. Buttinger ultimately gifted her farm – more than 400 acres of land – to the Watershed Association, laying the foundation for the Watershed Reserve and Honey Brook Organic Farm.



Spring Fling Mini-Camp

April 6-10, Monday - Friday, 9:30AM - 4:00PM each day, girls/boys 6-12 years old, Daily fee: $75M/$90NM

Spend your spring school break at the Watershed Reserve with the Teacher-Naturalists! We will hike the trails, perhaps visit the Stony Brook or Wargo Pond to search for signs of spring, build shelters in the woods and have an afternoon campfire each day! The new Watershed Center is 'home base' but we will spend every day outdoors. Register for one day or all week. Registration and pre-payment are required. Multi-day and sibling discounts and extended care are available.

Learn more!


Volunteer at the ‘Shed

Discover the many ways you can help at the Reserve. We have volunteer opportunities available in many different capacities. Are you good at event planning? Clearing trails? Conducting scientific research? Or are you looking for a corporate work day for you and your coworkers? Click here to learn more and complete a volunteer application..


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