Highland Park/Middlesex County Chapter

Our chapter was formed in 2010 in Highland Park to serve the Middlesex County area. Mary Denver, who founded the chapter, recently passed away; we miss her; she was a passionate nature lover and wonderful motivator.

Our chapter’s main activities are lectures and nature walks.

April is Native Plant Month!

Herve Barrier, leader of the NPSNJ Highland Park/Middlesex County Chapter has created an iNaturalist project called ‘Native Plant Month 2024 – NJ’.

This is a BioBlitz, following 3-unity rule:

  1. Unity of time: April 2024
  2. Unity of place: NJ
  3. Unity of action: Photograph as many native and non-native plant species as possible and post the observations on iNaturalist.org.

iNaturalist is a citizen science platform designed for anyone interested in nature. It allows users to share observations of plants, animals, and other organisms from around the world. When someone sees a plant or animal, they can take a photo with their smartphone or camera and upload it to iNaturalist. This platform then uses technology and a community of experts to help identify the species. It’s like a social network for nature enthusiasts where people can learn from each other and contribute to scientific data.

As of my last update in April 2023, iNaturalist has over a million users from all corners of the globe. These users range from amateur nature lovers to professional scientists, all contributing observations from their local areas or from places they visit. This wide user base helps create a rich, diverse database of the natural world, accessible to anyone with an internet connection. Whether living in a bustling city or in the countryside, users across the world share a common interest in exploring and documenting nature through iNaturalist.

The ‘Native Plant Month’ project will be open for observations only during the month of April. During this time period, we can all go to parks, forests or backyards, take pictures, and post them in iNaturalist and add them to the project.

The objective is to report as many native species as possible and to get as many people involved as possible (everybody is a naturalist!). Anybody can participate (members, non-members, family, friends, friends of friends, etc.). Non-native plants can be reported as well since in many cases we don’t know if it is native or not until the identification has been ascertained.

What to do:

  1. Become an iNaturalist member and practice reporting plants, animals, mushrooms, etc.
  2. Join the ‘Native Plant Month 2024 – NJ’

Be safe and enjoy nature.



If the species is endangered or you do not want to reveal the location (e.g. it’s in your backyard) you can ‘obscure’ its location.

As NPSNJ recommends, take all safety precautions when in nature (e.g. ticks are present all year round).


If you have any questions about the Highland Park / Middlesex Chapter please contact us at

Highland Park Chapter Events

Upcoming Events

Some Past Events

In February, 2020, our Highland Park Chapter, lead by Mary Denver & Belinda Beetham celebrated its 10 year anniversary with champagne toast and cake The Highland park chapter is one of the first chapters and is the longest active chapter, bringing together people who love native plants or want to learn about them with interesting speakers and hospitality.

In addition, Mary and Belinda are the primary volunteer stewards of the Native Plant Sanctuary of Highland Park, not only hands on, but working with Highland Park Borough, planning, winning funding grants, and recruiting volunteers. Volunteers included helpers from Rutgers & 4-H Club. With these volunteers, they have removed tons (literally) of Amur honeysuckle shrubs, Japanese knotweed, and other invasive plants and have planted many hundreds of native trees, shrubs, and forbs, ferns, and grasses. 

Mary and Belinda, along with another organization, were just awarded the $2000 Park Partners Grant from Highland Park Borough for the NP Sanctuary for 2020.

Our first meeting was February 23, 2010. Our chapter was formed to help serve the central New Jersey community. Eight of us gathered at the Highland Park Environmental Center (seven in the photo plus the photographer).