Registration: Unless otherwise noted, registration is strongly suggested for all educational programming. Please register by clicking the green Tickets button on the detail page (click the Read More button at the end of the description to get to the detail page) for the event you want to attend.
Donations: Unless otherwise noted, current GSWA members may participate free of charge and non-members are asked to make a voluntary donation of $10/adult and $5/child (6 to 17 years). Families of 4 or more are asked to contribute $35 for the group. There is no suggested donation amount for children ages 5 and under. Please refer to the event descriptions for any exceptions.
How to prepare: When attending an outdoor program, please dress appropriately for the weather. Conditions may be wet, muddy, hot, or cold. Long pants and sturdy shoes or hiking boots are strongly recommended for most hikes and walks.
If applicable, please feel free to bring your own water in a reusable water bottle, and your own snacks. Binoculars and field guides are welcome as conditions permit their use.
You are welcome to bring a flashlight to nighttime outdoor events, but please turn them off when requested.
In this in-depth how-to breakfast briefing, GSWA Director of Education and Outreach, Hazel England, will discuss the benefits of managing stormwater by installing a rain garden in your home. Rain Gardens are shallow depressions, planted with shrubs and perennials that absorb stormwater runoff from roofs, driveways, and other impervious surfaces, helping to recharge groundwater, slow flooding, and reduce nonpoint source pollution in our waterways. Hazel will discuss everything from how to pick the right location for your rain garden, to how to create it, and what plants to include. You’ll leave armed with the knowledge needed to create your own rain garden this spring. Registration required. Register online or by calling 973-538-3500.
Do you know your spring peepers from your wood frogs? What does a leopard frog sound like and can they be found in your neighborhood? Join GSWA and Tedor Whitman of Cora Hartshorn Arboretum for this hands-on training session to become an official FrogWatch volunteer. FrogWatch is a citizen science program that uses volunteer’s observations to create a database of frog and toad sightings, helping to establish long-term and large-scale data on amphibian populations. During the training, you’ll learn how to recognize different species of frogs and toads from their appearance and calls, and how to record your observations into the database. We will work with you to select places around the region to monitor and you will be frog counting in no time! Registration required. Register online or call (973) 538-3500.
If you are interested in becoming a stream monitoring volunteer or just learning more about stream health, this is the training for you! An indoor classroom session helps you learn how to conduct visual and biological stream assessments, and recognize environmental factors that may impact stream health. An outdoor session helps you practice your new-found skills, visually assessing streams and collecting and identifying macroinvertebrates at a local stream site. Afterwards, you will be a fully trained stream assessment volunteer and ready to conduct a new assessment this fall! This training will be conducted in conjunction with the AmeriCorps New Jersey Watershed Ambassador Program. Registration required. Register online or call (973) 538-3500.
Have you ever tried dandelion wine? Do you know what types of wild plants can be harvested and eaten? Join us for this exciting spin on our always entertaining tasting events, where we will experiment with different food and drink made from New Jersey plants! This event is free to nonmembers and members who bring a nonmember friend as a guest (members coming alone or with other members can join in on the fun too, for a donation of $25). Not only that – but for each nonmember that walks through our door, an anonymous donor has pledged to contribute $25 to GSWA, and to match any gifts made to the organization, dollar-for-dollar. Registration required. Register online or call (973) 538-3500.
Join Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipeline for a spirited fundraiser on Thursday, March 30th, 7-9pm at Valley Stables tavern, 588 Ramapo Valley Road (Route 202) in Oakland. Each ticket entitles you to two pints of beer brewed with New Jersey’s clean water, and Valley Stables appetizers. We’ll see you there, and please spread the word among your friends! Register online.
With temperatures rising, the forest floor will be hopping with new life as frogs and other amphibians crowd into shallow puddles of water to breed and lay their eggs. These puddles, better known as vernal pools, provide a perfect opportunity to learn more about Mother Nature here in New Jersey. But hurry! They disappear quickly.
GSWA’s annual Vernal Pool Exploration provides a fun, outdoor learning experience for kids and adults alike. Discover the differences between a spring peeper, a chorus frog, and a wood frog. Find out how far an endangered spotted salamander will walk to find a mating pool. And, learn how much everything we have come to appreciate about the springtime depends on a few unassuming puddles of water on the forest floor.
Warm clothing and waterproof footwear — especially hiking boots — are very strongly recommended for this hike. Registration required. Register online or by calling 973-538-3500.
Urban watersheds are exposed to high concentrations of microplastic pollution due to the inability of wastewater treatment processes to remove these pollutants from widely used products. Join GSWA and NY/NJ Baykeeper’s Sandra Meola as she discusses her studies on microbead pollution. In her study, microbead densities in Raritan and Passaic River surface waters were calculated, adsorbed persistent organic pollutants and plasticizers were analyzed, and toxicity effects determined by exposing model organisms to microbeads. Project partners Ironbound Community Corporation and NY/NJ Baykeeper participated in water sample collection, analysis, and creation of materials for community education and engagement. Register online or by calling 973-538-3500.
Join us for the next installment of our “Downstream Adventures” hiking series at Watchung Reservation. We will be explore scenic gorges, visit the remnants of the deserted village of Feltville, and hike alongside the Blue Brook and Lake Surprise. Registration required. Register
online or by calling 973-538-3500.
Grab your kayak or canoe and join GSWA as we paddle upstream from the Fisherman’s Parking Lot at
the Lord Stirling Environmental Education Center. We’ll traverse beaver dams and explore the
river, with Somerset County Park land on one side, and the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge on
the other. Our eyes will be peeled for turtles, snakes, migratory birds, and other creatures as we
paddle through the peaceful waters.
Please note that there are two times for this event, and each time is limited to eight boats (not
individuals).9:00 AM – 11:00 AM OR 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM.
You must bring your own boat, paddles, and personal flotation device (PFD). You will not be able
to join the guided paddle without a PFD, which will be inspected before we leave. You should be
dressed to get wet (including your shoes) and bring your own water. You will be asked to sign a
waiver prior to participation. Registration required. Register online at GreatSwamp.org or by
Join Brooke Maslo of Rutgers cooperative extension to learn more about an exciting collaboration between ecologists, engineers, and landscape architects on a floodplain restoration and open space design in Woodbridge – an urban community badly impacted by hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy. Brooke will share the work she has spearheaded on the restoration and transformation of urban residential areas purchased through blue acres funding into natural habitats, with improved flood storage potential as recreational areas of community open space. This project highlights the benefits of improving storm resiliency in a community and through example showcased how this can be achieved. Registration required. Register online or by calling 973-538-3500.
Calling all would-be explorers, adventurers, and buccaneers! The Great Swamp Scavenger Hunt is back for another year of outdoor fun!
Think you know a thing or two about New Jersey’s Great Swamp? Then it’s time to test your powers of navigation and observation to find out.
Begin the Scavenger Hunt just after 10 a.m. by checking in at GSWA’s Home Base under the pavilion at the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge’s Helen C. Fenske Visitor Center. (The Visitor Center is located just inside the Lee’s Hill Road park entrance at 32 Pleasant Plains Road in Harding Township, NJ.)
We will provide you with a route to travel, questions to answer, and a list of treasures to find throughout the 55-square-mile Great Swamp Watershed region. It’s your job to navigate to each treasure site, seek answers to the questions and riddles provided, and then return to Home Base with all your spoils.
Remember to hurry back to 32 Pleasant Plains Road at 3 p.m. because your day of pilfering booty will earn you several chances to win some special prizes at our Scavenger’s Tricky Tray!
A free cookout waits for all who participate, so don’t forget your barbecue enthusiasm. We love it when our guests participate in the picnic! Feel free to bring along a covered side dish (to share or not). We’ll supply the burgers, dogs, and drinks.
Register online or by calling 973-538-3500.
What makes a weed a weed? How can you tell your oriental bittersweet from your Japanese barberry and why should you care that you can? Invasive plants are spreading in our forests and open spaces, and harm the environment as they reduce biodiversity and resources for native wildlife. New Jersey spends millions in labor and resources to remove invasives each year. Join us for this informative, hands on session on how to identify New Jersey’s top ten least wanted, as we learn from the plants themselves to know both terrestrial and aquatic invasive plants and appropriate native replacements. You’ll never look at burning bush in the same way again! Registration required. Register online or by calling 973-538-3500.
This program is being run in conjunction with Morris County Park System’s Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center and the Americorps Watershed Ambassador.
Hone your inner naturalist and practice your being-out-after-dark skills with Director of Education and Outreach, Hazel England. She’ll guide you through the forests of The 116 acre Primrose Farm preserve, to emerge to the incredible hill top meadow, perfect for exploring the spring night sky. With the mating season in full swing, May is the perfect time to explore the forest in search of active wildlife. We’ll listen and look for owls, foxes, spring insects, and other nocturnal creatures. Registration required. Register online or by calling 973-538-3500.
The cool forests and boardwalks of our 53 acre Conservation Management Area are the perfect place to escape to on warm late-spring evenings. With the forest in full bloom, Great Swamp Watershed Association Director of Education and Outreach, Hazel England will guide you in identifying spring ephemerals and lead you to explore the numerous vernal pools filled with frogs, tadpoles, and frog eggs. Hiking is on our flat mulch and boardwalk trails in Harding Township. Registration required. Register online or by calling 973-538-3500.