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montage of events

2016 Special Events at the Environmental Education Center
The following annual events are conducted at the Environmental Education Center. The EEC is located at 190 Lord Stirling Road in Basking Ridge. For directions, please click here. For additional information, please call the EEC at 908 766-2489.

Nature Through a Child's Eye
This annual children's environmental art exhibit features Somerset County kindergartners through sixth graders who have expressed their love of our natural world, our environment, and our Earth through their artwork.
FREE
Saturday, January 9 through Sunday, February 8, 2016
9:00am-4:30pm except Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Maple Sugaring
Maple sugaring is a tradition in the Northeast that began centuries ago with the Native Americans and colonists. People of all ages are invited to see this tradition brought to life at the Environmental Education Center (EEC). You will see how trees are tapped, view sap-collecting methods past and present, and see the boiling process that produces delicious New Jersey maple syrup. This 90-minute program is conducted at our Sugar Shack, a ½-mile hike from the EEC. Please arrive at the EEC 20-30 minutes before the program start time and dress appropriately for the weather conditions. Boots are recommended as the trails can be wet, muddy, and/or covered by snow. Organized groups (such as schools) may schedule weekday demonstrations by calling the EEC at 908 766-2489, ext. 332.
Suggested donation: $1 per person
February 20, 21, 27, 28
March 5, 6, 12, 13
Saturdays - 10:00am, Noon, and 2:00pm
Sundays - Noon and 2:00pm

ECO-RALLY! Click here for PDF
April 1 – April 15, 2016

Register as an individual or as a team of friends, families,
scout groups, co-workers, sports teams, etc. All are welcome to enter!

Receive a list of the simple tasks you complete to minimize your carbon footprint! Tasks may include, but are not limited to:

• Turn the lights off when you leave a room
• Ride your bike or walk instead of driving
• Use reusable bags when shopping
• Plant a native plant garden or tree

Then create a display of posters, pictures, etc. showing your contribution to the environment! Awards will be given for creativity and outstanding achievements.

See the awards on display and have fun at the Swamp Search on Sunday, April 24!

To request an application or for further information regarding the Eco-Rally please contact 908 766-2489 ext. 334 or e-mail mrossi@scparks.org

Project E.A.R.T.H – Swamp Search!
April 24
Join us for an exciting scavenger hunt on the Environmental Education Center trails to learn about the importance of the Great Swamp as an ecological and recreational resource. Learn interesting facts about the Great Swamp and its inhabitants. This event is for friends, families, scouts or other groups to get outside and travel our trails to find answers to our scavenger hunt questions. Return to the EEC for a program by Rick Mikula, "The Butterfly Guy" with his amazing butterfly exhibit including some live butterflies. See the Family Program Series for more information. Rain or shine, please call the EEC for scavenger hunt status in case of inclement weather.
Free
12 Noon - 4:30pm
Environmental Education Center, Basking Ridge
908 766-2489

The County Caper Accelerated!
August 20
The County Caper Accelerated! is a one day game that takes adults on an interactive tour of Somerset County parks and facilities. Challenge your mental and physical capabilities while completing fun tasks throughout the day as your team races against the clock. This exciting event for those who crave adventure in their own backyard.
Fee $20
9am-4pm
Environmental Education Center, Basking Ridge
908 766-2489

The County Caper
August 21
The County Caper is a one day game that takes families and friends on an interactive tour of Somerset County parks and facilities. It is designed to encourage everyone to explore, learn, and protect our parks and other natural areas. This special event is open to everyone with a yearning to discover all Somerset County has to offer.
Fee $20
8am-5pm
Environmental Education Center, Basking Ridge
908 766-2489

The Lord Stirling 1770s Festival
October 2
Travel back in time as exhibitors and militias recreate colonial life on the site of Lord Stirling's Manor. Enjoy an educational and exciting day in the 1770's.
Suggested donation: $5 per person
11:30am – 4:30pm

Environmental Education Center, Basking Ridge
908 766-2489

"Halloween Happenings at the Environmental Education Center"

"By the Light of the Moon"
October 14
All ages.
Led by a Naturalist, adventurers will explore the Great Swamp while listening for animal sounds and using their night vision to walk the swampy trails beneath the stars. Walks will depart every 15 minutes with concurrent indoor activities including a maze, live critters, refreshments, and more. Rain date: October 17
6:30pm - 7:30pm
Fee: $6 per person
Environmental Education Center, Basking Ridge
908 766-2489

Halloween Hullabaloo
October 16
All ages are welcome to join us for a wild afternoon rumpus! At 1pm, a live animal will be presented. Following the program, try your hand at a plethora of carnival-like games for the whole family. Light refreshments and music included. It is sure to be oodles of fun! Pre-registration not required.
Suggested donation: $5 per person
1pm - 3pm
Environmental Education Center, Basking Ridge
908 766-2489


39th Annual Festival of Trees
December 2 – 28
December is the time to visit the Environmental Education Center and get into the holiday spirit. The Festival of Trees is an indoor exhibit of decorated trees by various community groups and individuals. Come and enjoy live holiday music on select Saturdays and Sundays.
Environmental Education Center, Basking Ridge
908 766-2489

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Rider and her horse

2016 Special Events at Lord Stirling Stable
The following events are held at the Lord Stirling Stable. The Stable is located at 256 South Maple Avenue in Basking Ridge. For directions, please click here. For additional information, please call the Stable at 908 766-5955.

Private Horse Hunter Pace (Co-sponsored by Friends of Lord Stirling Stable)
September 11
Open to private horse owners. The 6-8 mile marked course includes 30+ jumps, all with ample room to bypass for riders who prefer to stay on the flat. Ribbons will be awarded in Junior, Open, Senior, Hilltopper, and Family divisions.
Fee: $30 per Junior rider (under 18 years of age), $35 per Adult
Teams depart between 9am – 1pm
Lord Stirling Stable, Basking Ridge
908 766-5955

Holiday Horse Shows
December 3 - 4
Cheer for Lord Stirling Stable's students as they showcase the horsemanship skills that they have been working on in lessons. Show classes range from beginner through advanced jumping levels. A drill team performance highlights the lunch break each day. Ribbons awarded. The public is welcome; admission and parking are free.
9am
Lord Stirling Stable, Basking Ridge
908 766-59

Holiday Festival (Friends of Lord Stirling Stable)
December 3 - 4
Take a hayride to see Santa Claus, ride a pony, decorate ornaments, and enjoy many other activities. Find that perfect gift at the Silent Auction, which benefits the School Horse Retirement Fund. Fees vary; admission, parking, hayrides & pony rides are free.
10am – 4pm
Lord Stirling Stable, Basking Ridge
908 766-5955

Jingle Bell Trail Ride
December 11
A short break from holiday preparations can feel like a vacation when you are on the back of a horse! Registration is open from November 28 – December 8. For riders at Intermediate 2/C-2 and higher levels.
11am – noon
Fee: $28 Somerset County resident/$36 non-resident
Lord Stirling Stable, Basking Ridge 908 766 5955
908 766 5955

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Leonard J. Buck Garden

2016 Special Events at Leonard J. Buck Garden
The following events are conducted at Leonard J. Buck Garden. Buck Garden is located at Layton Road in Far Hills. For directions, please click here. For additional information, please call Buck Garden at 908 234-2677.

Art and Photography Exhibit
Weekdays: February 22 - March 11     10am - 4pm
Suggested donation
Showcasing the four seasons at Leonard J. Buck Garden, this exhibit will feature photographs, paintings, and drawings of Buck Garden.  See the garden’s many faces through the works of talented artists and photographers.  This exhibit will be held at the Leonard J. Buck Garden Visitor Center in Far Hills.  For additional information please call (908) 234-2677, ext. 21. 

Bonsai for Beginners NEW
April 5        9am – 11:30am
Fee: $15
Join bonsai enthusiast, Fred Aufschlager, for an enlightening demonstration and lecture on the art of bonsai.  Proper cultural techniques for root pruning, repotting, and artistic styling and branch wiring will be taught. Pre-registration is required by calling (908) 234-2677,
ext. 21.

Spring Plant Sale and Earth Day Celebration
April 23 and 24     Saturday 10am – 5pm, Sunday 12pm – 5pm
Suggested donation
Enhance your garden with some spectacular new plant treasures, and help us celebrate Earth Day. Weekend highlights include a plant sale featuring many choice selections of rock garden plants, perennials, ferns and woody shrubs, hypertufa planting troughs, inspiring garden lectures, and guided tours of this magnificent naturalistic rock garden. This event will be held at the Leonard J. Buck Garden in Far Hills. For additional information, please call the Buck Garden at (908) 234-2677, ext. 21. 

Woodland Walks
Sunday afternoons in April and May (except holiday weekends)     2 pm
Fee: $7
Brighten your spring with a captivating and informative tour of the Leonard J. Buck Garden. Enjoy the magnificent drifts of native wildflowers and spring perennials blooming throughout the garden, as well as azaleas, dogwoods, and many colorful flowering shrubs and trees.  Discover the great variety of plants growing among the rock formations and woodlands, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty that surrounds you. Tours will be held on April 3, 10, 17 and 24 and May 1, 8, 15, and 22.

Flower & Landscape Garden Photography Workshop
May 3       9am -11:30am  
Fee: $35
This Flower & Landscape Photography Class is offered to beginner and intermediate photography enthusiasts by professional photographer Brien Szabo of brienszabophoto.com. This class will involve technical instruction in the Buck Garden Visitor Center, followed by outdoor photography of plant close-up and landscape scenes. The workshop is designed for both digital and film photographers. Pre-registration is required by calling (908) 234-2677, ext. 21.

Make a Hypertufa Mini-Trough
June 3        10am – 11:30am
Fee: $40
Hypertufa is a handmade material which resembles “tufa,” a rugged volcanic rock used to make planting troughs. These containers are especially suited for small rock garden plants. You will learn how to make your own hypertufa mini-trough and receive instructions for curing it at home. Wear work clothes as the process can be messy. Workshop fee includes the cost of supplies. This class is intended for new hypertufa students. Experienced hypertufa-makers should enroll in one of this year’s Do-It-Yourself Hypertufa sessions.
Pre-registration is required by calling (908) 234-2677, ext. 21. Enrollment is limited to 10 participants.

Do-It-Yourself Hypertufa
August 5        10am – 11:30am
Fee: $35
Do you already know how to make hypertufa, but don’t want to handle that huge bag of Portland cement, or get your house all dusty? Then come to this session. All the materials will be provided, as well as some basic information. You bring a form and make your own trough.
Pre-registration is required by calling (908) 234-2677, ext. 21. Enrollment is limited to 10 participants.

Art in the Garden - Watercolors in the Garden
September 15      Rain Date: September 16     9:30am – 3pm
Fee: $40
Nature and wildlife artist Beatrice Bork will lead a one-day class at Leonard J. Buck Garden to capture the garden’s beauty in watercolor. Students will be guided in choosing a location when painting outdoors, paint application, mixing colors, composition, and how to create a finished watercolor painting. Basic drawing skills are recommended. Call for art supply list and bring your lunch. Ms. Bork, internationally known nature and wildlife artist, has received many special achievements and awards during her career. Pre-registration is required by calling (908) 234-2677, ext. 21.

Do-It-Yourself Hypertufa
October 7        0am – 11:30am
Fee: $35
Do you already know how to make hypertufa, but don’t want to handle that huge bag of Portland cement, or get your house all dusty? Then come to this Do It Yourself Hypertufa session. All the materials will be available, as well as some basic information. You bring a form and make your own trough.
Pre-registration is required by calling (908) 234-2677, ext. 21. Enrollment is limited to 10 participants.

Flower & Landscape Photography – Autumnal Brilliance
October 18    9am – 11:30am
Fee: $35
While each season in Buck Garden has its own special qualities, none is quite as spectacular as fall with colorful trees and shrubs.  Lecture and field session will cover the use of light, composition, landscape photography, close-ups, and how to find the right picture.  The workshop will be taught by nature photographer, Brien Szabo. The class is designed for all levels of digital and film photographers. Pre-registration is required by calling (908) 234-2677, ext. 21.

Thankful Lights—Floating Luminaries
November 18         5pm - 6:30pm
Fee: $15
Borrowed from a traditional Japanese ceremony, floating a candle on water is thought to awaken the spirit of nature within all of us. You will create your own lantern and decorate it with a personalized  message, attach it to your illuminated float, and release it on Buck Garden’s Lower Pond. Come, see, and experience how magical the floating lights are as they drift on the water into the night. Materials will be supplied. Pre-registration required by calling (908) 234-2677, ext. 21.

2016 Autumn Displays at Leonard J. Buck Garden

Why Do Leaves Change Color?
October 3 – October 16                         M-F 10am-4pm, Sat. 10am-5pm, Sun. 12 noon-5pm
Suggested Donation

The colors of the trees and shrubs during the fall season are spectacular, but did you ever wonder what produces those colors?  Visit Leonard J. Buck Garden and study the Fall Exhibit on display in the Visitor’s Center. Learn about the changes that take place which turn the green leaves of summer into the brilliant hues of fall. The informative display is produced by the Somerset County Master Gardeners “MGKeepBuggingMe” team.

Arachnids Crawl into Buck Garden During Halloween Season
October 19 - November 2                      M-F 10am-4pm, Sat. 10am-5pm, Sun. 12 noon-5pm
Suggested Donation

An informative and scary exhibit, not to be missed this Halloween season.  Much like bats and black cats, spiders are a symbol of Halloween, but what makes them so scary? Learn about some of the spiders that make New Jersey their home and what the wolf spider looks like. Did you know spider webs are being researched for their potential use in bullet proof vests and artificial tendons?  Learn how they are made, at this display produced by the Somerset County Master Gardeners “MGKeepBuggingMe” team. Visit and learn more about these creepy crawly creatures that make us so fearful.

tour of the Perennial Garden

2016 Special Events at Colonial Park Gardens
The following programs/events will be held in the Colonial Park Gardens in Franklin Township. For additional information or to register for programs that have a fee, please call 732 873-2459 ext. 21 or the NJ Relay Service at 711 for individuals with a hearing and/or speech impairment. Online registration is also available at www.somersetcountyparks.org. All programs are rain or shine, unless otherwise noted. If you have individualized needs due to a disability, please call the Therapeutic Recreation Department at 908 526-5650 and we will be happy to arrange reasonable accommodations. Three weeks notice is required to ensure that appropriate accommodations can be provided.

TROPICAL HOUSEPLANT WORKSHOP
Saturday, January 30, 2016 10am – 12pm Fee: $15 per person (limit 30 people)
Pre-registration by Friday, January 22 is required.

In this two hour session, participants will learn about a variety of different houseplants and discover what these plants need to grow successfully. There will be a PowerPoint presentation of tropical houseplants, and the basics of plant selection, care, and maintenance will be discussed. The horticulture staff will demonstrate repotting, watering, and fertilizing as well as propagation of some of the most popular houseplants. The program will be held in the Park Commission Headquarters, located at North Branch Park, 355 Milltown Road, Bridgewater. Please meet at the reception area.

VOLUNTEER ROSE PRUNING EVENT
Saturday, March 19, 2016 8am – 12pm Free (Suggested donation)
Volunteer members of the Jersey Shore Rose Society and the Penn-Jersey Rose Society will join Colonial Park Gardens staff in the Rudolf W. van der Goot Rose Garden to complete our annual spring rose pruning. Park visitors are welcome to stop in to have their rose questions answered by our expert rosarians. It will not only be a day of pruning roses, but also a time for sharing rose information and techniques on growing them.

SPRING PRUNING DEMONSTRATION
Saturday, April 2, 2016 9 – 11am (rain date: April 9) Fee: $15 per person (limit 30 people)
Do you want to prune the shrubs or roses in your backyard, but don't know where to start cutting? Join the Horticulture staff at the Colonial Park Gardens as they demonstrate and discuss the basic pruning techniques and proper tools used for pruning. Please dress for the weather as this will be an outdoor presentation. The program will be held in the Colonial Park Arboretum. Meet at the entrance of the Colonial Park Gardens Horticulture Office, Parking Lot F.

FLOWER BUDS – LET'S GET GROWING" CHILDREN'S GARDEN WORKSHOP
Saturday, May 14, 2016 10am – 12pm (rain date: May 21)
Fee: $15 per child, ages 5 to 8 (limit 10 children and must be accompanied by an adult)
Pre-registration by Friday, May 6 is required.

Join the Colonial Park Gardens horticulture staff in creating a new children's garden along Colonial Park Drive! Kids will be creating a butterfly, hummingbird, and goldfinch-friendly garden, which will be enjoyed and admired by all. Participants will sow seeds, plant annuals, and perennials, and will get to take home flowers and seed packets to start their own home garden! All supplies will be provided. The program will be held on Colonial Drive in Colonial Park across from Parking Lot C. Meet at the entrance sign of Parking Lot C.

ROSE DAY FESTIVAL
Saturday, June 11, 2016 11am – 5pm Free (Suggested donation)
Colonial Park Gardens annual Rose Day Festival celebrates one of the first signs of summer…Roses in Bloom! In the heart of the park, the Rudolf W. van der Goot Rose Garden displays thousands of many varieties, both modern and of historic significance. Visitors are invited to celebrate and revel in the day by strolling through the gardens, enjoying music and live entertainment, meeting local artisans, and indulging in some great food! Back by popular demand, roses plants will also be for sale. You will be sure to find a fun activity for festival-goers of any age!

CHILDREN'S CONTAINER GARDENING WITH EDIBLE PLANTS WORKSHOP
Saturday, June 25, 2016 10am – 12pm
Fee: $15 per child, ages 7 – 10 (limit 10 children and must be accompanied by an adult)
Pre-registration by Friday, June 17 is required.

Edible flowers and unusual plants….what fun! Join the Colonial Park Gardens horticulture staff for a tour of the beautiful Fragrance and Sensory Garden. You will learn about edible plants and then get to create your own edible container garden to bring home! You may have heard about the natural sweetness of stevia and the savory flavors of sage and thyme. Now kids can come and experience these sensory sensations themselves! All plants and supplies will be provided. Meet at the entrance of the Colonial Park Rose Garden/Fragrance & Sensory Garden, Parking Lot A.

17TH ANNUAL GARDEN PARTY
Saturday, July 16, 2016 11am – 3pm Free (Suggested donation)
The Garden Party will feature lectures, demonstrations, and Horticulture staff to answer questions. Plants and complimentary refreshments will also be available. Music will round out a beautiful summer's day in the park. The event will be held in the Colonial Park Perennial Garden, Parking Lot F.

SENSE AND SCENTS-ABILITY "ALL ABOUT THE BIRDS AND THE BEES"
Saturday, August 6, 2016 11am – 2pm Free (Suggested donation)
Begin the day with a tour of the Fragrance and Sensory Garden and learn about the many plants that attract pollinators. You will get a chance to see, smell, touch, and taste the essence of summer herbs. Following the tour, there will be a lecture by a local NJ beekeeper who will speak about our state insect, the honeybee! Expect the unexpected while enjoying a relaxing visit to the garden. Meet at the entrance of the Colonial Park Rose Garden/Fragrance & Sensory Garden, Parking Lot A,

AUTUMN IN THE PERENNIAL GARDEN
Saturday, September 10, 2016 9 – 11am Fee: $15 per person (limit 30 people)
Fall is almost here and the Perennial Garden is at its peak. Join the Horticulture staff for a field study of fall blooming perennials. We will discuss plant care and gardening techniques as well as answer your gardening questions as we stroll through the garden. The program will be held in the Colonial Park Perennial Garden, Parking Lot F.

FLOWER & GARDEN PHOTOGRAPHY
Saturday, September 17, 2016 9 – 11:30am Fee: $35 per person (limit 12 people)
Pre-registration by Friday, September 9 is required.

Experience the Perennial Garden with your camera like never before. Join professional photographer Brien Szabo for a brief lecture in the Horticulture Building and then hands on adventure in creating stunning flower images and garden landscape photographs in the Perennial Garden. You will be immersed in both creative and technical approaches that are aimed at improving your photography or simply giving you alternative ideas to help spark your own creativity. The class is aimed at all levels of photography. Every participant will have the opportunity to work one on one with the instructor. Meet in the Horticulture Building next to the Colonial Park Rose Garden, Parking Lot A.

THANKSGIVING FLORAL ARRANGEMENT CLASS
Saturday, November 19, 2016 10am – 12pm Fee: $25 per person (limit 15 people and includes supplies)
Pre-registration by Thursday, November 10 is required.

Create a long-lasting fall holiday centerpiece with harvest flowers, fruit and even vegetables, to enjoy all week leading up to your day with family and friends! Colonial Park Gardens' staff will provide instruction, hands-on assistance and materials to help you strike the right balance in your centerpiece design. We will also share important tips on how to keep your arrangement looking fresh and beautiful through Thanksgiving and well past the leftovers! The program will be held in the Park Commission Headquarters, located at North Branch Park, 355 Milltown Road, Bridgewater. Meet at the reception area.

HOLIDAY KISSING BALL WORKSHOP
Saturday, December 3, 2016 10am – 12pm Fee: $45 per person (limit 15 people & includes supplies)
Horticulture staff will share with participants on a number of holiday tips on how to create your own beautiful holiday kissing ball using fresh materials. You will be dazzled by what you can create, and the experience is certain to put you into the holiday spirit. The program will be held in Park Commission Headquarters located at North Branch Park, 355 Milltown Road, Bridgewater. Meet at the reception area.




Turkey Trot

2016 Special Events in the Parks

Duke Island Walkers
January 1, 2016
Start the New Year by joining our weekly walking program that will meet at the Duke Island Visitor Center every Wednesday morning at 9:30am beginning January 5, 2010. Warm up with coffee, tea, and refreshments following the walk. For more information, call the Recreation Department at 908 722-1200 ext. 226.

4rd Annual Sourlands Smackdown
April 16, 2016
Join us for something completely different! Come out to New Jersey's only outdoor bouldering competition! It will be a fun day for all!
9am onsite registration or register online
Sourland Mountain Preserve, Hillsborough/Montgomery
908 231-0802 ext. 22

National Trails Day
June 4
Come celebrate National Trails Day and help us maintain the beautiful trails.
Park TBA Rain date is June 8.
Free
Washington Valley Park, Bridgewater
908 231-0802 ext.22

Friday Nights at the Drive-in Movies
July 15, 22, 29
Join us at Duke Island Park for a bit of nostalgia, as we present our 2016 Drive-in Movie series on Friday evenings in July. Wear your pajamas, bring your teddy bears, lawn chairs and blankets as we enjoy The Peanuts Movie on July 15, Ferngully: The Last Rainforest on July 22, and Home on July 29. Movies begin at 8:30pm and are shown on a big screen. Popcorn and refreshments will be available. Don't forget your bug spray!
Free
8:30pm
Duke Island Park, Bridgewater
908 722-1200 ext. 351

Mischief Night Madness - Colonial Park Putting Course
October 28
Enjoy a game of miniature golf with the ghouls. Wear your costume and get a free goodie bag. Free cider and donuts along with moonlight hay rides, spooky tales from the witch's cauldron, and a Park Ranger guided night hike.
Fees: $10 per family, $8 for two ghostly golfers
4pm - 9pm
Colonial Park Putting Course, Franklin
908 722-1200 ext. 226

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Golfer at NVGC

2016 GOLF TOURNAMENTS

The 2016 golf tournaments require pre-registration and an entrance fee. Application forms are available at the Golf Shops.

57th Annual Dr. Michael S. Kline Memorial Somerset County Golf Tournament
(Men and Women)
First Round September 10, 11 & 17, 18     All courses
Open to registered golfers, ages 10 and older. Players must have a 2016 USGA Handicap. Flights conducted at designated courses. Awards in each flight. Medal play. Call for entry fees.
Tee times vary
Branchburg, Bridgewater, Franklin and Warren
908 369-1458 ext. 427

38th Annual Senior Golf Tournament (Men and Women)
September 14      Spooky Brook Golf Course
18-Hole Medal Play
Open to registered senior golfers, ages 62 and older, men and women. Players compete in flights based on age. Awards in each flight. Fee: TDB
Quail Brook Golf Course, Franklin
732 560-9199

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