Naturalist Van Trips

Birding: Waterfowl & Woodcock

  • Saturday, March 23, 1:00 PM to 8:00 PM
  • Parking Location: Hunterdon County Arboretum
  • Ages: Adult
  • Cost: $29

March is a time when ducks migrate through Hunterdon and Warren Counties, stopping to rest at places like the Assiscong Marsh, Spruce Run, Round Valley, and Merrill Creek.  We will look for ducks and other water birds, as well as check on the eagles at Merrill Creek.  We will end the day looking for woodcocks with the hope of observing their interesting courtship display.  

Birding: Brig in Spring

  • Sunday, April 14, 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Parking Location: Hunterdon County Arboretum
  • Ages: Adult
  • Cost: $41

The Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge is famous throughout the US as one of the two best birding spots in New Jersey. “Brig” embraces more than 20,000 acres of coastal salt marsh, islands, open bays, and channels. We normally go to Brigantine in the fall for the wintering birds in the marshes. However, on this trip, we will look for early shorebird migrants and springtime birds.  

Raptor Trust and Lord Stirling Park Hike

  • Thursday, April 25, 8:30 AM to 2:00 PM
  • Parking Location: Hunterdon County Arboretum
  • Ages: Adult
  • Cost: $22

Our trip will begin at Lord Stirling Park in Somerset County. A spring hike of approximately one hour, covering around two miles, awaits us at the park. Following our outdoor adventure, we'll proceed to the Raptor Trust in Millington, a notable bird rehabilitation facility boasting an exhibition of 50 non-releasable birds of prey. You'll have the freedom to explore the captivating display birds at your own pace, taking in the remarkable sights and learning more about these majestic creatures. Dress to be outside. Bring lunch/snacks to enjoy in the van on the way home.  

Birding: Mine Road Excursion

  • Saturday, May 18, 6:30 AM to 2:30 PM
  • Parking Location: Hunterdon County Arboretum
  • Ages: Adult
  • Cost: $33

Mine Road was once one of the oldest commercial roads in the Northeast. Now, it is part of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and the main artery to explore the Jersey side of this recreational area. Join us on the trip as we explore Mine Road from Route 80 to Millbrook Village. Please be aware that we will stop multiple times along the road and explore the surrounding areas for migrants and local residents. Possible sightings could include Hooded Warbler and Worm-eating Warblers.

Rutgers Gardens and Geology Museum

  • Friday, May 24, 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM
  • Parking Location: Hunterdon County Arboretum
  • Ages: 8 through Adult | All children must be accompanied by an adult that is also registered for the program.
  • Cost: $41 per person, includes garden tour fee

Let’s explore some natural treasures at Rutgers University! Our first stop will be the Rutgers Gardens where we will do a tour with Director Lauren Errickson. We will visit the Bamboo Forest, Annual Garden, Succulent Garden, and the gazebo and giant Adirondack chairs. After the formal tour, we will break for lunch. Participants can bring food or purchase from the weekly Farmer’s Market with fares such as soup, salad, or sandwiches. After lunch, we will visit the Geology Museum where we will take a tour and do a scavenger hunt. The tour will focus on three areas: dinosaurs, the mastodon, and the Egyptian mummy. The Geology Museum is free but welcomes donations. Participants must be comfortable walking over uneven ground and navigating stairs. Seniors ages 65 and older receive a $2 discount; children ages 8 to 11 receive a $5 discount.