Photo Credit: Dave Blood 

gardenclub1The Visitor Information Center is the keystone of a natural area surrounding the entrance to the Wildlife Drive, the Leeds Eco Trail and Boardwalk. Visitors can experience a native plant environment that is beneficial to resident and migratory wildlife. They are able to stroll through the garden, descriptive pamphlet in hand, and learn about and appreciate the natural wonders of native plants. The plants are also identified by natural stone markers embossed with the plant’s name.


The Garden Group is made up of Friends of who enjoy working with plants. Group participants meet on a weekly basis at the Refuge. The group is involved with many projects, both new and ongoing. Members have been very busy developing the native species garden around the center. The volunteer gardeners, with input and guidance from Refuge staff, have developed a site plan. Appropriate native plants have been researched to enhance the visual appearance of the new building while establishing a natural appearance.

   Photo Credit: Dave Blood


The soil surrounding the new building is rocky and inhospitable. This has been amended with the infusion of eco-soil obtained from the Atlantic County Utilities Authority. It has been roto-tilled to make planting possible.


This Visitor Information Center Is near the entrance to the Wildlife Drive and the newly restored Leeds Eco Trail and Boardwalk. The challenge of developing, with native plantings, about six acres of compacted, rocky soil in full sun and in a location known for the winds off the bay seemed daunting. Therefore, the project has been planned to be done in sections. Planting by the Garden Group will continue through the next few years.