Trails, Equity and Environmental Justice

Thursday, June 3, 12:00PM – 1:00PM

It’s spring – time to get out into New Jersey’s great green spaces and enjoy the fresh air. The Garden State has hundreds of parks, trails and sights to explore. It’s so easy – lace up your walking shoes and step out on a leafy path, grab your bike and hit a trail, or just take a seat on a park bench and people watch. However, if you’re a resident of one of New Jersey’s overburdened and highly urban communities, its likely your access to open space may be limited. Speakers in this session will discuss the history of practices embedded in racial injustice, the DEP’s efforts to ensure equal access to the benefits of nature and a healthy environment, and integrating transportation systems to offer better connections between trails and transit.

Session Materials:

Inclusionary Trail Planning Toolkit

Circuit Trails Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Report 

Trails Program Website

“Furthering the Promise” Guidance Document

Overburdened Communities Mapping Tool


Julia Raskin – Trails Program Manager, Natural Areas Conservancy (NAC)

Julia Raskin is Trails Program Manager at the Natural Areas Conservancy (NAC) where she is building a strategic framework for trail improvement, maintenance, stewardship, community outreach and programming efforts across the nature trail system in all five boroughs of NYC. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2009 and received her dual masters degree in Urban Planning and Environmental Policy from the University of Michigan. Before working at the NAC she was the Outreach Manager for Camden Parks and Greenways at the New Jersey Conservation Foundation. She has a strong passion for environmental justice, and cares deeply about improving access to open space for historically underserved communities.


Olivia Glenn – Deputy Commissioner for Environmental Justice and Equity, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

Olivia C. Glenn serves as a Deputy Commissioner to DEP Acting Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette.

Appointed in July 2020, Olivia is responsible for prioritizing the advancement of the Murphy administration’s environmental justice and equity goals. She heads the DEP’s effort to aid overburdened communities throughout New Jersey, as well as its work to bolster diversity, equity and inclusion within the DEP and other state agencies. She also oversees the DEP’s environmental education initiatives.

Olivia previously led the DEP’s Division of Parks and Forestry, serving since 2018 as its director and managing its 450,000 acres of natural and historic resources. From 2003 to 2009, she worked as the Division’s Urban Initiatives and Outreach Coordinator and subsequently served as special assistant to the DEP Deputy Commissioner. Olivia later was a member of the DEP’s Environmental Justice Advisory Council, spearheading its efforts in outreach, education and land management.

Olivia also worked with the New Jersey Conservation Foundation to make outdoor spaces and trails more readily available to Greater Philadelphia residents, especially people living in Camden. In 2018, the Camden Collaborative Initiative honored her with the Camden Environmental Hero Award. As Deputy Commissioner, Olivia chairs CCI’s Steering Committee.

Olivia earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Dartmouth College. She holds a master’s degree from the Yale School of the Environment, where she wrote her master’s thesis on park revitalization in Camden.

Renae Reynolds – Executive Director, Tri-State Transportation Campaign

Renae Reynolds is the newly appointed Executive Director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign (TSTC), a non-profit policy advocacy organization dedicated to mobility, accessibility and livability in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. TSTC uses data and policy analysis, along with strategic media outreach, to influence decision-making throughout the metropolitan region. Prior to assuming leadership at TSTC Renae spent 3 years working with the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, where she managed the organization’s transportation advocacy efforts aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the harmful impacts of transportation pollution in New York’s most vulnerable communities. She has also worked with the U.S. Forest Service in the NYC Urban Field Station on research and program initiatives focused on social resilience following the impact of natural disasters like superstorm Sandy and stewardship of green spaces in New York City. Renae received her Master’s in the Theories of Urban Practice at Parsons School of Design.

Brandee Champman – State Trails Coordinator, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

I have always had a love for the environment but the inspiration for a career in open space preservation came from the Geography of the Pacific Northwest program at Ramapo College. I spent a month traveling, hiking and camping throughout six different states while exploring national parks and forests, reservations, museums, fisheries, archeological/historical sites, and studying various geographical features that are unique to the Pacific Northwestern region of the country. The trip fueled a passion to pursue a profession focused on continued protection and appreciation of our precious open spaces.

After graduating, I completed an internship at a non-profit organization doing environmental restoration and conservation projects and immediately started networking to find my dream job. In 2012, I started my career with the Green Acres Program as an hourly assistant for the Recreational Trails Program. In May of 2015, I was promoted to the position of State Trails Coordinator and charged with managing the New Jersey Trails Program – including the federally-funded Recreational Trails grant program – as a one-woman show. I recently completed a Master’s in Public Administration from Rutgers University, and I look forward to helping the Trails Program grow and develop into an accessible, relevant resource for the residents of New Jersey.