General Information
Phone Numbers
Fax: 609.895.1484
Emergencies: Dial 911
2207 Lawrenceville Road
Lawrence Township,

Office Hours M - F
8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Lawrence Township Anne Demarais Nature Center


This 45-acre township-owned property offers a stream, forest, meadow, network of trails and a community nature center. 

The Nature Center is located at  481 Drexel Avenue, Lawrence Township, NJ 08648.

Lawrence Township Anne Demarais Nature Center

Experience the Natural Beauty

The Lawrence Township Anne Demarais Nature Center sits on 45 acres of township-owned land, offering a diverse array of natural attractions and scenic landscapes. Explore hiking trails that wind through the lush Drexel Woods, venture into meadows to listen to birdsong and catch a glimpse of native wildlife, or relax in our butterfly garden to enjoy the beauty of fluttering wings. The Shabakunk Creek adds a tranquil element to the Nature Center, providing a peaceful setting to appreciate the outdoors.

Current Opportunities for Involvement

We're seeking enthusiastic volunteers to help improve the interior and exterior of the building. Whether you're an artist, gardener, interior designer, or have ideas for indoor displays, we invite you to contribute your talents. If you're interested in volunteering, please contact the Lawrence Township Recreation Department at (609) 844-7067, or email us at

Explore the Nature Center

Download the brochure to find a map of the Anne Demarais Nature Center and Drexel Woods, including all the trails for hiking and exploring.

Lawrence Recreation Nature Camp

Looking for a fun and educational summer camp? Sign up for the Lawrence Recreation Nature Camp and give your kids a memorable experience. Register here for the Lawrence Recreation Nature Camp

Collaborations and Partnerships

To bring programs and activities to the Lawrence Township Anne Demarais Nature Center, Lawrence Township Recreation Department partners with the Lawrence Environmental Education Foundation (LEEF). Learn more about the foundation here 

History of the Anne Demarais Nature Center

The Land

The land that is now part of the Nature Center has a storied past. It was originally home to the Lenni Lenape, who hunted and lived along the Shabakunk Creek. The name "Shabakunk" comes from a Lenni Lenape word meaning "shore land." During the construction of a sewer line in the 1950s, surveyors found remnants like axes and arrowheads, indicating the rich history of the area.

By the late 1700s, European settlers had moved in, and the land became part of a larger tract owned by Mahlon Stacy. Over time, the area was cleared and transformed into farmland, with different owners cultivating the fields. Although plans for residential development were proposed in the latter half of the 20th century, delays and community opposition kept the land undeveloped. Eventually, the township acquired the land in 1998, preserving it for open space and passive recreation.

The House

The house that forms part of the Nature Center has an intriguing backstory. Carl and Lucille Rinck built their home on a 9-acre parcel adjacent to Drexel Woods in 1941. They used recycled bricks from Carl's workplace, the Trenton Pottery, to construct the house. The Rincks also planted exotic trees on their property, creating a unique environment.

After Carl's passing, Lucille continued to share her love of nature with the local children, inviting them to explore the meadow and learn about the birds and wildlife. Upon her passing, with no heirs to inherit the property, the township purchased the Rinck's land, along with Drexel Woods, in 1998.

In 2002, the township invested in transforming the Rinck's house into the Lawrence Nature Center. Much of the renovation work was done by the Public Works department, with additional help from volunteers who contributed their skills in architecture, planning, and securing grants for the center's programs.

Visit the Lawrence Township Anne Demarais Nature Center to experience its rich history and natural beauty, and don't forget to contact us if you'd like to get involved.