What has the new Hunterdon Chapter of The
Native Plant Society of NJ been up to? Plenty!

Launched in September of 2015, the Hunterdon Chapter joins eight other county and regional chapters of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey spanning the state from top to bottom. The Native Plant Society of New Jersey, founded in 1985, is a statewide non-profit organization focused on the appreciation, protection, and study of the native flora of the Garden State.

You don't have to be a plant professional to get involved, and the Society attracts all kinds of native plant enthusiasts. An interest in and desire to learn more about native plants has been seen in Hunterdon County by the growing number of people attending our meetings and outdoor events. Our meetings are free and open to anyone, member or not.

Last winter, local native plant expert Randi Eckel from Toadshade Wildflower Farm spoke about the many gains we can experience by increasing diversity in our gardens, fields and forests with native plants. Randi also ran an informative demonstration on starting native seeds. Kelly Mooij, Vice President of Government Relations at NJ Audubon, gave us the lowdown on several bills related to invasive species, supporting the use of native plants, growing habitat, and protecting pollinators.

This spring we heard about deer-resistant native plants from Jared Rosenbaum, co-owner of Wild Ridge Plants. This is clearly a hot topic since most people who grow landscape or garden plants have experienced the voracious appetites of our overabundant four-legged residents. Hunterdon Master Gardener, Ruth Claus, gave a presentation on the bounty of New Jersey's beautiful wildflowers.

Once the weather warmed, we got outside for a Musconetcong Gorge Walk in Holland township led by Mary Anne Borge from Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve and Joyce Koch to marvel at ferns, shrubs, and delicate spring wildflowers. In May, we hosted a trip to Wild Ridge Plants in Pohatcong led by co-owners Rachel Mackow and Jared Rosenbaum who gave a talk on native plants and took visitors on a tour of their native plant nursery. 

On a sweltering day in August, 13 native plant devotees visited the meadow at Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve. Jean Burrell, long time naturalist at the Preserve, led the group with a bevy of stories, and facts about historical uses for many of the meadow flora. 

Work continues on the Kracji Preserve in Holland Township, a one-acre parcel of land that the Native Plant Society of NJ owns. The property has been surveyed and boundaries marked with plans being made to work through the winter to eradicate most of the problematic invasive alien plant species. Volunteers will be needed to help with this work. 

We've got lots of great speakers and events lined up for the fall. To find out what's cooking, go to The Native Plant Society of NJ's website at www.npsnj.org , click on 'Events',  Events ,  select month and select/scroll down to the Hunterdon chapter. For specific questions, contact us at hunterdon@npsnj.org