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Environmental Education Center

190 Lord Stirling Rd, Basking Ridge, NJ
908 722-1200 Ext. 5002   
EEC Home Page


Special Events

Annual events at the Environmental Education Center provide the general public with a wide array of fun-filled and educational experiences.

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 908 722-1200, ext. 5002.
Suggested donation: $1 per person
February 22, 23, 29
March 1, 7, 8, 14, 15
Saturdays - 10:00am, Noon, and 2:00pm
Sundays - Noon and 2:00pm

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Featured Program Series

Project E.A.R.T.H – Swamp Search!  Canceled
April 26
Join us for an exciting scavenger hunt on th e 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. This program will educate and entertain visitors of all ages. Please call the EEC for scavenger hunt status in case of inclement weather.
12pm - 4:30pm
Environmental Education Center, Basking Ridge
908 722-1200 ext. 5002

Rizzo’s Wildlife World Canceled
April 26
As the grand finale to our “Project E.A.R.T.H. – Swamp Search!” Rizzo’s Wildlife World will show off their collection of reptiles, mammals, and insects, as well as a ten foot long Burmese Python! This fun and lively presentation will offer everyone in attendance an opportunity to learn fun facts about each animal and best of all, attendees will be able to interact or touch the majority of the animals that are presented! The program will be held rain or shine. 
3:45pm - 4:30pm
Environmental Education Center, Basking Ridge
908 722-1200 ext. 5002

The Birds of the World
(All Ages, 10 years and older with parent)

One of the greatest joys of birding is seeing beautiful jays, cardinals, chickadees, and goldfinches right in your backyard. However, there are over 10,000 spectacular bird species found throughout the world. Over the next several months we will be learning about each and every bird family in taxonomic order. The lectures will cover a few new families at a time and will introduce their life histories, ranges, descriptions, and interesting facts. Each presentation will provide you with a new appreciation for the world of birds! Pre-registration is not required. Check our Facebook page ( for any changes or cancellations to the programs.

Friday, May 1: Hawks, Owls, Trogons, Hornbills, and Friends

Friday, May 15: Kingfishers, Toucans, Woodpeckers, and Friends

Friday, May 29: Falcons, Parrots, and Friends

*Programs will continue in the summer and fall of 2020.

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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. This colorful display is sure to brighten your day!
Tuesday, January 7 through Sunday, February 2, 2020
9:00am-4:30pm daily, except Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

“Birds of a Feather”
February 8 - March 15, except Lincoln’s Birthday and Presidents’ Day
“The skies are emptying out. The number of birds in the United States and Canada have fallen
by 29 percent since 1970. This year, scientists reported there are 2.9 billion fewer birds taking wing now than there were 50 years ago”, according to Carl Zimmer of the NY times. As a way to bring attention to this blight Ridge High School’s AP Studio Art class studied and explored the relationships of structure, pattern, and form of birds for large-scale drawings and paintings. Students from National Art Honors Society and Social Skills Club collaborated on larger than life size sculptures. Their observations rendered dynamic compositions both in twist of scale and bold quality of mark making. The students pushed the concept of “Birds” in a unique format, experimenting with materials to yield a truly remarkable exhibit!
A reception will be held on Wednesday, February 12 from 6pm to 8pm. Snow date: February 13, 6:00pm-8:00pm
9am - 5pm
Environmental Education Center, Basking Ridge
908 722-1200 ext. 5002

Bernards Township Community Art Show - CANCELED
March 21 - April 19, except Good Friday and Easter
Bernards Township is partnering with the Environmental Education Center to host their 9th annual non-juried art show, “Inspired by Nature”. Bernards Township residents age 16 and older will showcase their artwork in a variety of mediums.  Artist registration takes place in January and February, visit for more information. 
An opening reception will be held on March 21 at 10am.
9am - 5pm
Environmental Education Center, Basking Ridge
908 722-1200 ext. 5002

“Transformations of Nature, Natural and Manmade; Changes in Agriculture
and a Close Look at Metamorphosis”

This year the Ridge High School ceramics students will be collaborating with the RHS Advanced Placement Science classes to examine the idea of “transformations” by combining art and science in one exhibition. The exhibit will feature an integration of educational posters focused on transforming farmland away from the traditional Agribusiness model to a more environmentally-integrated and sustainable approach. While the work of the ceramics classes will be showcasing nature’s amazing transformations specifically within the context of the stages of metamorphosis of insects and reptiles. The resulting exhibit will be a combination of informative posters displays and a mix of handmade tiles, vases, and “think big” sculptures set up on pedestals.
A reception will be held on Tuesday, May 5 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm
Saturday, May 2 through Sunday, May 31, 2020
9:00am-5:00pm; closed Memorial Day


March 29
Come learn which native plants help to support butterflies! Whether you garden in sun or shade, there are many native plants that will attract butterflies to your garden. Author Jane Hurwitz, from the North American Butterfly Association will be presenting on butterfly gardening at home, a gardening method used to protect the entire life cycle of butterflies. This talk explores the relationship that butterflies have with specific native plants and suggests easy steps to protect these relationships in order to enhance our local ecosystems, as well as your own garden.
1pm - 2pm
Environmental Education Center, Basking Ridge
908 722-1200 ext. 5002

Macro Photography - Postponed
Camera Naturalists Photography Club will host a dual part photography seminar at the EEC. The first part will feature an outstanding Macro Photography program presented by Roman Kurywczak, an accomplished macro photographer, and leader of “Roamin’ with Roman” tours. The program will begin with a presentation on macro photography followed by a hands-on opportunity to try out the new skills you learned.

Participants will be given tips, suggestions, and an understanding of how to overcome some of the most common obstacles pertaining to macro photography. There will also be a demonstration of photo stacking to boost participants’ confidence with all aspects of macro photography, regardless of skill level.

The second part will provide participants a hands-on opportunity to take macro photos with their own equipment. This session will take place inside the Environmental Education Center and may continue outside, if weather permits. Please bring your own camera, macro (or 50-200mm range) lens, flash, and tripod. For more information about the workshop please contact Dan Ross at To learn more about the Camera Naturalist Photo Club visit
$20 per participant
Saturday, April 18, 2020


Birding with the EEC PDF
Canoe and Kayking Trips
Garden Discovery Trips PDF
Cape May Birding Trip PDF
Lighthouse Challenge Weekend PDF

Save the Date for our trip to Pine Barren’s Native Fruit for a Cranberry Bog Tour!

Trip date is Thursday, October 8 6:30am-4:30pm

Registration for this trip opens on Wednesday, September 16 at 9:00am in person or online and at 1
1:00am by phone.

resource Library

The Center houses a comfortable, user-friendly resource library. A large number of books and a variety of periodicals regarding the many facets of our environment are available during regular building hours. A wide range of children's environmental books and magazines are also available. The library has tables and chairs for on-site research and reading. Because it is a resource library, not a lending library, all materials must remain on-site. Our resource library and auditorium now have WiFi available for public use.
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Eight and one-half miles of relatively flat trails meander through 435 acres of The Great Swamp, of which approximately three miles are boardwalked. They are open every day from sunrise to sunset.

Cattails and sedges are found as you wander the boardwalks in the freshwater marsh. Along the Yellow Trail that takes you close to the Passaic River, the seasonally inundated floodplain is home to Pin Oak, Red Maple, and Ash. Along the southern perimeter of the park (the Blue and Red trails) succession is slowly changing abandoned farm fields to woodland. In these areas, wildflowers and shrubs mingle with grasses and saplings and provide homes for many birds, mammals, and insects.

The Special Use Trail (SUT) travels between the Center and Branta Pond. It is an easily accessible boardwalk trail for those who are looking for a short walk or for those with limiting abilities. It has a recently renovated Native Plant Garden, herb gardens, and a pleasant gazebo in which to sit and enjoy the surrounds.

Trail maps are available at the front desk or in PDF format by clicking here. Be sure to check out the kiosks at the trailhead and at the "dike" on the Red trail for seasonal information! (top of page)

Natural History Book and Gift Shop

A favorite stop for those looking for that special gift for a favorite outdoors friend, baby and children gifts, a special piece of jewelry or pottery, or maybe just a great book to add to one’s own personal book collection. A variety of  "must have’s" for all ages are located in the main floor lobby gift shop.

The selection changes on an on-going basis and many pieces are limited in number. Best to visit regularly or with specific requests, call 908 722-1200 ext. 5322. (top of page)

Room Rentals

Room rentals are available on a limited, first-come, first-served basis to groups and organizations with an environmentally related mission or agenda.

For more information or to book a room, please call Jane Bodnar at 908 722-1200 ext. 5323

Email the EEC with any questions or comments.(top of page)

Public Programs
    • January Programs
    • February Programs
    • March Programs
    • April Programs
    • May Programs
    • June Programs
    • July Programs
    • August Programs
    • September Programs
    • October Programs
    • November Programs
    • December Programs
Specialty Programs
    • Birding
    • Birthday Parties
    • Canoe & Kayak
    • Cross Country Skiing
    • Family Program Series
    • Forest Fitness
    • Garden Discovery
    • Libraries, Senior Centers &
      Other Groups
    • Maple Sugaring
    • Other Day Trips & Overnight Trips
    • Scouts
    • Summer Camps
    • Workshops

School Programs
    • Field Trips
    • In School Programs
    • Biomimicry Programs
    • School Program Guide
Trips & Outings
    • Birding
    • Canoe & Kayak
    • Garden Discovery
    • Other Day Trips & Overnight Trips
    • 1770s Festival
    • By the Light of the Moon
    • Live Animal Show
    • County Caper
    • Events
    • Family Program Series
    • Festival of Trees
    • Swamp Search
    • Temporary Exhibits
Program Calendars
Trails & Facilities
    • Room Rentals
    • Auditorium
    • Biomimicry STEM Lab
    • Discovery Room
    • Pond View Room
    • The Tree House
    • EEC Brochure
    • Gift Shop/Library
    • The Great Swamp Experience
    • Temporary Exhibits
    • Trail Map

   Volunteers are needed and appreciated   throughout the year. Please contact
  Gretchen Rotondo at 908 722-1200   ext.5323 or email your completed   application and waiver to

Volunteer Application for Adult
Volunteer Application for Minor
   Volunteer Waiver for Adults
   Volunteer Waiver for Minors/Dependents

  Corporate Volunteer Groups please contact Daniel Ross at 908 722-1200 ext.5336 or

Hours & Directions
The building is open 9am-5pm daily.
Exhibits are open 9am-4:30pm daily.
Registration is accepted 9am-4:30pm daily.
The building is closed on Holidays.
Trails are open dawn to dusk daily but closed on Deer Management days as scheduled.

 Click here for Directions
Donations & Sponsorship

Donations are gladly accepted.
Please make checks payable to:
The Somerset County Park Commission
and mail to Carrie Springer,
190 Lord Stirling Road
Basking Ridge, NJ 07920

Support Packet

Ask A Naturalist


Have a question about a plant or animal species you saw in Lord Stirling Park or northern New Jersey?

One of our naturalists can help you! Complete the form and an EEC staff member will do their best to solve your nature mysteries!

On-line Registration