Adult and Family Nature Programs

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WINTER TREE ID

  • Date: Wednesday, February 21
  • Time: 9:30 AM to 11:00 AM
  • Location: Sourland Mountain Preserve
  • Ages: 8 through Adult, All children must be accompanied by an adult
  • Cost: $8 per person 
  • Instructor: Laura Bush, Principal Park Naturalist

Have you ever wondered how to identify trees after all the leaves have fallen? Don’t wait until summer! Learn how to identify trees by looking at their bark, buds, and shape. This trail is rocky and can sometimes be wet.

FULL MOON WALK

  • Date: Saturday, February 24
  • Time: 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM
  • Location: Arboretum  
  • Ages: 5 through Adult, All children must be accompanied by an adult
  • Cost: $8 per person
  • Instructor: Debra Reed, Park Naturalist

The hush of a winter night, one of the most stunning times of the year. Come out and watch the sunset while going for a walk in the park. Take some time to reflect, while encompassed in the beautiful tranquility that surrounds you in winter. Find out what is happening in nature during this transition from daylight to darkness.  

WOOD DUCK EXPLORATION

  • Date: Sunday, March 3
  • 1:00 PM to 2:15 PM woodduck
  • Location: South Branch Reservation, Wings Section
  • Ages: Adult
  • Cost: Free
  • Instructor: Debra Reed, Park Naturalist

Wood ducks arrive in Hunterdon at the beginning of March to raise their young. Join us to learn about these ducks, and other 
waterfowl that frequent the area. While walking along the river we will examine and prepare their nesting boxes for the 
soon-approaching mating season. Perhaps, if we are lucky, we will spot an early migrant to the area. 

Build a Bluebird Box

  • Date: Thursday, March 14, 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM
  • Location: Echo Hill Park
  • Ages: 8 through Adult, All children must be accompanied by an adult
  • Cost: $15 per box     
  • Instructor: Tom Sheppard

Welcome bluebirds to your home by building and installing a nesting box for them. During this program, we will learn about our Eastern Bluebirds and the challenges they face. We will then assemble boxes together. Wood will be pre-cut and screws are provided. Please bring your own Phillips screwdrivers. Limit one box per family.

Rain Barrel & Rain Garden Workshop

  • Thursday, March 21, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
  • Echo Hill Park
  • Ages: 13 through Adult, All children must be accompanied by an adult
  • Cost: $73 per barrel 
  • Guest instructor: Lauren Theis, Education Director, Raritan Headwaters Association

A rain barrel is attached to your home’s gutter and collects rainwater that can be used for watering plants. This is a great way to prevent runoff that may collect pollution, and also to prevent erosion. Rain gardens also collect storm water but direct it straight into a garden that cleans the water by trapping pollutants in the stems of native plants while draining the clean rainwater back into the groundwater. Lauren Theis of Raritan Headwaters Association will show us the importance of saving rainwater and teach us how to do it effectively. She will provide all materials to create your own rain barrel during the workshop. Additional family members working on the same rain barrel may attend for free.  

Jurassic Jersey

  • Wednesday, March 27, 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM 
  • Location: Echo Hill Park
  • Ages: 8 through Adult, All children must be accompanied by an adult that is also registered for the program 
  • Cost: $8/person
  • Instructor: Tom Sheppard, Chief Park Naturalist

Let’s explore the world of dinosaurs with our brand-new class, inspired by one of our enthusiastic homeschool participants! Dive into the fascinating realm of these ancient creatures as we unravel the mystery behind the term "dinosaur" and delve into the thrilling tale of the first dino discovery in New Jersey. Join us as we uncover the incredible inhabitants and events that shaped New Jersey during this prehistoric period.  

Tree ID Walks with Dennis Skillman

  • Wednesdays, March 27, 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM
  • Cold Brook Preserve
  • Ages: Adult
  • Cost: Free but pre-registration is required
  • Instructor: Dennis Skillman, Volunteer & Liz Braidwood-Fulmer, Recreation Program Coordinator 

Retired arborist and NJ Certified tree expert, Dennis Skillman has agreed to share his passion for trees with us. Dennis has a college degree in Ornamental Horticulture and worked many years in the tree business. He might even share a few stories about his many miles of day-hiking and extended overnight backpacking trips throughout the United States. Join us as Dennis points out various trees and shrubs and shares helpful tips on how you can learn to identify them. Please dress for an outdoor hike with proper footwear for hiking. Bring trekking poles if you have some. 

Spring Break Nature Day

  • Wednesday, April 3, 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM
  • Echo Hill Park, 42 Lilac Dr, Flemington, NJ 08822
  • Cost: $38 per child - Pre-registration required
  • Session A: Grades K-2 Drop-off program
  • Session B: Grades 3-5 Drop-off program
  • Instructors: Debra Reed, Laura Bush, Tom Sheppard, and Liz Fulmer

Join park staff for a day of nature fun over spring break! We will enjoy activities such as an insect study, stream study, and shelter building. Please bring a lunch and a refillable water bottle. Please wear sturdy close-toed shoes and dress for the weather. Bring closed-toed water shoes for the stream and other shoes/pants to change into afterward.

Morning Bird Walks

  • Thursdays, 7:00 AM – 8:30 AM
  • Ages 12 to Adult | All children must be accompanied by an adult that is also registered for the program.
  • Cost: Free
  • Instructor: Tom Sheppard, Chief Park Naturalist

The early morning bird walks are back. Join us as we look for the spring migrants and local breeding birds around the county. We will use both eyes and ears to determine which birds are around us, as well as to observe other signs of the spring season. This is a great chance to brush up on your songbird identification skills.  Binoculars are available to borrow.

April 11 Assiscong Marsh

April 18 Deer Path Park

April 25 Arboretum

May 2  Uplands 

May 9  Echo Hill Park

May 16 Sunnyside

May 23 Tower Hill 
May 30 Hoffman Park Lot 1

 

Spring Amphibian Exploration

  • Sunday, April 21, 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
  • Location: Sourland Mountain Preserve
  • Ages: 6 through Adult, All children must be accompanied by an adult that is also registered for the program
  • Cost: $8 per person 
  • Instructor: Debra Reed, Park Naturalist

Spring has arrived! Alongside its arrival are the delightful sounds of spring peepers and the presence of salamanders. Step outside to observe and listen to the various indicators of spring, witnessing the emergence of new life in our surroundings. Take a guided walk with a park naturalist to explore the unfolding transition from winter to spring and discover the wonders of nature in this season of renewal.

Tree ID Walks with Dennis Skillman

  • Wednesdays, April 24, 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM
  • Miquin Woods Preserve
  • Ages: Adult
  • Cost: Free but pre-registration is required
  • Instructor: Dennis Skillman, Volunteer & Liz Braidwood-Fulmer, Recreation Program Coordinator 

Retired arborist and NJ Certified tree expert, Dennis Skillman has agreed to share his passion for trees with us. Dennis has a college degree in Ornamental Horticulture and worked many years in the tree business. He might even share a few stories about his many miles of day-hiking and extended overnight backpacking trips throughout the United States. Join us as Dennis points out various trees and shrubs and shares helpful tips on how you can learn to identify them. Please dress for an outdoor hike with proper footwear for hiking. Bring trekking poles if you have some. 

Lichen Workshop and Walk


Saturday, April 27, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Location: Echo Hill Park
Ages: Adult
Cost: $8 
Guest Instructor: Dennis Waters, Visiting Scientist w/Chrysler Herbarium, Rutgers University 

A recent survey discovered that there are more than 250 kinds of lichen growing in Hunterdon County. Join us to learn about these fascinating and ecologically important organisms. We will begin with a brief introduction to lichens—what they are and how they live—followed by a walk to nearby spots in Echo Hill Park to view some of the local species in Hunterdon County.

Bluebells Hike

  • Saturday, May 4, 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
  • Location: Uplands Reserve/Bernadette Morales Nature Preserve
  • Ages: 8 through Adult | All children must be accompanied by an adult that is also registered for the program.
  • Cost: $12 per person
  • Instructor: Laura Bush, Principal Park Naturalist

Virginia Bluebells are one of America’s favorite wildflowers. Native to our area, they bloom for a few weeks in early spring, and “hide” later in the summer. They are also deer- and critter-resistant! Explore Bernadette Morales and Uplands Reserve with naturalist Laura Bush to enjoy the bluebells, stroll along a bubbling brook, and see the ruins of the estate of Judge Large, a prosecutor in the Charles Lindbergh case. This is a moderately hilly hike, about three miles in total. 

Constellations and their Myths

  • Friday, May 10, 8:30 PM to 10:00 PM
  • Location: Hoffman Park Lot 1
  • Ages: 10 through Adult | All children must be accompanied by an adult that is also registered for the program.
  • Cost: $8/person
  • Instructor: Tom Sheppard, Chief Park Naturalist

Step back in time before computers, TV, and even books; all civilizations had was the vast expanse of the sky above them. Join us for a captivating night of stargazing. With a slight crescent moon, the sky should be quite dark. Immerse yourself in an exploration of the season’s constellations and the fascinating myths and stories woven into the celestial tapestry. It's a journey through the cosmos you won’t want to miss!

Native Bee House Construction

  • Monday, May 13, 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
  • Location: Echo Hill Park
  • Ages: 8 through Adult, All children must be accompanied by an adult
  • Cost: $15 per house
  • Instructor: Debra Reed

Interested in supporting our native pollinators? Join us in constructing a dwelling for native bees. Learn more about native bees like the Orchard Mason Bee, a pollinator for early blooming plants such as fruit trees. These bees make their nests inside hollow plant stems or holes previously crafted by other insects in wood. Learn about the life cycle of these bees and then create a bee house filled with hollow plant stems to provide a conducive habitat for these invaluable native bees.

Tree ID Walks with Dennis Skillman

  • Wednesdays, May 29, 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM
  • Teetertown Preserve, Port Murray
  • Ages: Adult
  • Cost: Free but pre-registration is required
  • Instructor: Dennis Skillman, Volunteer & Liz Braidwood-Fulmer, Recreation Program Coordinator 

Retired arborist and NJ Certified tree expert, Dennis Skillman has agreed to share his passion for trees with us. Dennis has a college degree in Ornamental Horticulture and worked many years in the tree business. He might even share a few stories about his many miles of day-hiking and extended overnight backpacking trips throughout the United States. Join us as Dennis points out various trees and shrubs and shares helpful tips on how you can learn to identify them. Please dress for an outdoor hike with proper footwear for hiking. Bring trekking poles if you have some.