Lawrence Nature Center renamed after longtime open space advocate Anne Demarais
A special ceremony to unveil a new sign, officially renaming the Lawrence Nature Center for longtime open space advocate Anne Demarais, will be held at 11 a.m. April 22.
The Lawrence Nature Center is located at 481 Drexel Ave.
Lawrence Township officials agreed to change the center’s name to the Anne Demarais Nature Center in her honor in December 2021. Demarais has been a leader in open space preservation, outdoor education and trail development.
A resolution authorizing the renaming of the Lawrence Nature Center in Demarais’ honor stated that the longtime Lawrence resident has dedicated her time and efforts to create “thoughtful and rewarding recreational and educational experiences throughout the township.”
Demarais understood that it was necessary to build a coalition among like-minded residents, business owners, educators and township officials to work together to achieve anything of lasting value, the resolution said.
She worked together with officials to create “such special natural destinations as the Lawrence Greenway, the trails at Drexel Woods and the Lawrence Nature Center,” the resolution said.
Demarais was involved in creating the Lawrence Greenways trail network since its inception in 1990. She was an advocate of the 22-mile-long Lawrence Hopewell Trail that links the two townships.
She advocated for preserving the former AT&T Pole Farm on Cold Soil Road, which is now part of the Mercer Meadows Park in the Mercer County parks system. Thousands of radio antenna poles were erected at the Lawrenceville Transmitting Center to enable telephone calls to be made to Europe and South America. It closed in 1975.
Demarais also encouraged Lawrence Township to purchase the 37-acre Drexel Woods property for open space preservation. It was one of the last remaining wooded parcels in the southern part of the township, and was slated for residential development.
Soon after the township bought the Drexel Woods property, it purchased a brick ranch house next to the property. The house, which was informally known as the Rinck House after its owners, became the centerpiece and headquarters of the Lawrence Nature Center.