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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 should call 908 722-1200, ext. 5332 to schedule a weekday demonstration (schools) or weekend demonstration (scouts).
Suggested donation: $1 per person
February 16, 17, 23, 24
March 2, 3, 9, 10
Saturdays - 10:00am, Noon, and 2:00pm
Sundays - Noon and 2:00pm

Project E.A.R.T.H – Swamp Search!
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. This program will educate and entertain visitors of all ages. See the Family Program Series for more

This is a rain or shine event – please call the EEC for scavenger hunt status in case of inclement weather. If it is raining on the event day, or has rained significantly the week before, we suggest participants wear waterproof boots/shoes to protect against traversing through puddles and mud on our trails.
Sunday, April 28, 2019

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Family Program Series

Armchair Birding
(All Ages)
Spend a part of your Friday evening at the Environmental Education Center hearing first-hand birding stories and learning about birding around the world. The sessions will be run on either the first or last Friday of each month. There will be a new topic or "destination" each time. Pre-registration is not required. Check our Facebook page ( for any changes or cancellations to the programs.
Fridays, March 1, March 29, and April 26

Nip Invasive Species in the Bud!
This program presented by Dr. Michael Van Clef from the New Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team (NJISST) will provide an overall summary of the invasive species problem here in the state, and inform homeowners how they can help make a difference! Learn which plant species to avoid, and which native plant alternatives to incorporate into your landscaping designs to help attract beneficial pollinators and birds!
Thursday, March 14, 2019

Rare Herps!
(All Ages)
Join Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey biologist, Allegra Mitchell, as she talks about some of the rarest reptile and amphibian species in the state. Learn what makes these animals special and why they are vital to maintain a balanced ecosystem. Allegra will discuss the threats to these species and how CWF, the state, and other agencies are working to protect these important and often misunderstood creatures! This will be a lecture style PowerPoint presentation.
Sunday, April 7, 2019

The Butterfly Guy
(All Ages)
As the grand finale to our "Project E.A.R.T.H. – Swamp Search!" meet Rick Mikula, the Butterfly Guy and his amazing collection of live and mounted butterflies and moths. See more information about our Project E.A.R.T.H. – Swamp Search in the Special Events section. The Butterfly Guy will present an entertaining and educational program for all ages. The program will be held rain or shine.
Sunday, April 28, 2019

Evening Bird Walks - New Program
(All Ages)
Spend your Friday evening with us as we bird the EEC in the magical hours before sunset. We will hike the trails looking for warblers, tanagers, orioles, and whatever else may cross our path. Pre-registration is not required. Check our Facebook page ( for any changes or cancellations to the programs. Please wear boots, as springtime in the swamp can be muddy.
Fridays, May 3 and 17

Saturday Bird Walks
(All Ages)
Spring has arrived and so has our spring Saturday Bird Walks. Join a Naturalist on a stroll around our grounds looking for the plethora of migrants that pass through our area this time of year. Immerse yourself in the sounds and colors that make spring the best time to be out birding. Pre-registration is not required. Check our Facebook page ( for any changes or cancellations to the programs. Please wear boots, as springtime in the swamp can be muddy
Saturdays, May 4 and 18

Backyard Bears
(All Ages)
Bear sightings are increasing throughout the state of New Jersey. Do you know what to do if you see a bear? This lecture style PowerPoint presentation will help you become educated in bear etiquette. You are sure to learn "the bear necessities" and walk away with a better sense of understanding. Pre-registration is not required.
Sunday, May 5

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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.
Friday, January 5 through Sunday, February 4, 2019
9:00am-4:30pm except Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

"NOBODIES WATCHING" Drawings, Paintings,
Photography, Sculpture

To counter the practice of "you know, pave paradise and put up a parking lot," Ridge High School art students delved into the vast potential for activism and art as it relates to the environment. Taking a cue from the Great Swamp and the successful grassroots campaign that prevented its destruction from becoming a massive jetport project, students researched environmental concerns for this exhibition. The work is both sensitive and bold. It is a great example of how artwork can be immediate, or can recur as events linked over time. Nobodies Watching explores the role of artist and works of arts as a catalyst for social and political change. A reception will be held on Thursday, February 21 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm.
Saturday, February 9 through Sunday, March 10, 2019
9:00am-5:00pm except Lincoln's Birthday and Presidents' Day

Bernards Township Community Art Show
Bernards Township is partnering with the Environmental Education Center to host the eighth annual non-juried art show with a wide variety of mediums and subjects. The artists are all Bernards Township adult residents and the subject matter is family friendly. Come to the EEC to see artwork created by your friends and neighbors. A reception will be held on Saturday, March 16 from 10am to 11am.
Saturday, March 16 through Sunday, April 21, 2019
9:00am-5:00pm except Good Friday and Easter

This year the Ridge High School Advanced Ceramics Students are proud to showcase custom ceramic sculptures of some of the amphibious inhabitants of the Great Swamp! These hollow formed sculptures have been fabricated in the style and techniques of the ancient native cultures of the Western Hemisphere. As a tribute to work done by the Pre-Columbian Natives of Ancient Mexico, Central and South America, some of the sculptures have been crafted into functional vessels, while still maintaining their swamp creature appearances! There will also be large scale sculptures of swamp inhabitants to wow those in attendance as well! A reception will be held on Thursday, May 2 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm
Wednesday, May 1 through Sunday, May 26, 2019



Captured by Camera
Nature Photography Workshop at the EEC
Expert photographers from the Camera Naturalists Photography Club will host a photography seminar at the EEC consisting of two sessions which can be taken separately or together. The morning session 10:00-12:00pm will focus on composition for bird and wildlife photography, and the afternoon session 1:00pm-3:00pm will feature in-the-field time to help participants improve use of their own digital camera to capture nature images. The aim is to assist all levels of photographers, with any kind of camera to become more confident and skilled in the art of nature photography. Sign up for both sessions and receive a $10 discount. Both sessions will be held rain or shine. For more information about the workshop and the Camera Naturalist Photo Club visit
$40 per person per session
Course Code: 51808
Saturday, May 11
EEC-05 10:00am-Noon
EEC-06 1:00pm-3:00pm


Birding with the EEC PDF
Canoe and Kayking Trips
Garden Discovery Trips PDF
2019 Southeastern Arizona Birding and Nature Trip PDF

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

E-mailthe 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
On-line Registration