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A Closer Look - The Merits of Biologic Diversity in the Highlands Region

“Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it”

Henry David Thoreau

Human need is the revenue of preservation – always!  Rare is the case that we protect large swaths of landmass strictly in the name of biologic diversity. The good news for biophiliacs and farsighted ecologists alike is that the Highlands Region's 1,343 square miles affords drinking water for 6 out of 10 residents of the state that rely on the free ecosystem services provided by the inner-workings of flora and fauna that cleanse and purify the resource before it reaches the gullets of human physiology. The impetus to protect water quality and quantity is the predominant cord wood that fuels land preservation in the Highland's Region of our wondrous state. By proxy does the  rest of life therein survive.  This is not a criticism, judgment, or indictment of how our species goes about land preservation,  simply an observation of fact.


In point of fact a simple internet search makes the point more obvious. Google-up the Highlands Region's significance using keywords like - New Jersey Highlands, Highlands ActHighlands  Council, and the Highlands Coalition, and your probing will likely be met with information pertaining to "water preservation, forest conservation, recreation assurance, historic conservancy, agriculture strengthening, and watershed protection. Dig deeper and you may find a couple of references pertaining to flora and fauna and general wildlife.  It’s as if we're afraid to call the incredible denizens of the Highlands out by name, always masked behind the term “natural resources." This presentation sets no premise to minimize the import of water as the primary resource of the region but rather attempts at getting us there via the underpinnings of inherent natural diversity that makes it taste so good!  My intention is simple - heighten awareness of the Highlands by placing at the forefront the mind-numbing array of life forms that call this phantasmagorical ecosystem home. In concert with Thoreau's message above my purpose for so doing is to drive home the philosophy that we can’t relate to what we don’t understand, and we’ll never preserve what we don't love.


It is to this love of life that I solicit your attendance to join me on a photographic journey of the region's “deep-nature” in the hope that the hour we’ll spend together results in the understanding that through preservation of the Highlands geophysiographic region we save a major portion of our state's rich natural heritage. I hope to clearly demonstrate that it is precisely this natural heritage that, when properly fortified with significant forest buffer,  allows the ecologic engine responsible for the purification of water to function in willing perpetuity. Tethering the machinery with the result is in my humble opinion a more meaningful and accurate approach to finding the regions true significance.  Long overdue, this program will give face to the Highlands as a living and breathing entity responsible for a myriad of free ecological services - diversity that on its sole merit provides us with a moral imperative to ensure its continuance.


The program is designed for adults and young adults alike with a basic understanding of ecologic principals and for anyone else that wishes to better understand what those principals are.




Program Information:


Approximately 1 hour




Ruby-throated Hummingbird

on Cardinal Flower

(B 38)

Killdeer Brooding Chicks

(B 39)


Northern Copperhead Snake -
State Species of Special Concern
(R 11)

Prothonatary Warbler
 (B 35)

Blue-headed Vireo
(B 36)

Red Eft
(A 13)

Eastern Amberwing

(I 12)
Jumping Spider

(SP  1)

Chipmunk and Acorn

(M 12)




Indigo Bunting Song

(B 37)