On Thursday, April 16th, Harding Land Trust (HLT) members and guests joined the Board of Trustees for its Annual Meeting at the New Vernon Firehouse. Board President Tim Jones thanked members for their support over the past 25 years. He said, “I remind my daughters regularly as we drive from here to there how rare Harding is, how rare it is to find and live in a community that recognizes and cherishes its open spaces.”

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Jones said that HLT’s property inventory in Harding is now over 550 preserved acres, which has almost doubled over the last 5 years. He also announced upcoming HLT events such as the biennial House and Garden Tour on June 1st, the family campout in early June and the Fall Festival.

Changes to the current Board of Trustees were announced. Chris Yates, who has served as Secretary and Treasurer, has resigned from the Harding Land Trust Board in order to serve on the Harding Township Committee. Karen Shea, a Trustee since 2005, has decided to step down from the board after the upcoming House and Garden Tour on June 1st of this year. Mrs. Shea has been serving as Vice President of Development. Jones thanked both Mrs. Shea and Mr. Yates for their dedication and service. Two new trustees, Anne Flugstad-Clarke and Lindley Scarlett, were welcomed to the board.

After a brief business meeting, Michael Van Clef, founder and President of the conservation consulting company, Ecological Solutions was introduced as the evening’s speaker. Mr. Van Clef has a Ph.D. in ecology from Rutgers University and over twenty years of experience involving stewardship of natural resources, ecological research, and policy. Since inception, Ecological Solutions has assisted nearly 40 organizations within the conservation community toward solving some of its most difficult problems. His presentation focused on the New Jersey Strike Team’s “Do Not Plant List”.

The work of the Strike Team began in 2008 as a small project managing invasive plants in central New Jersey. In 2011, the state-wide nonprofit organization was formed. To date, the organization has completely eradicated 1300 invasive populations. Mr. Van Clef distributed a list of 162 commonly used invasive plants that should be avoided. He warned of the damage that these plants can do to our meadows and forests such as “loss of native shrubs & herbs, loss of tree seedlings to replace fallen canopy trees and loss of native fauna dependent upon native flora.” He also discussed homeowner-scale invasive species control and offered suggestions for native species homeowners to use in their own gardens and landscapes.

Micheal’s presentation is available for download here:



Do Not Plant Species List

NJ Invasive Species Strike Team’s Identification App can be downloaded for iOS and Android here