Seeds to Trees
At the NJ Forest Nursery students experience the work involved in the collecting, sorting, processing, and germinating of seeds. The nursery produces more than 300,000 tree seedlings yearly. The group tours the greenhouse, nursery fields, and orchards. Acorn planting and a hayride may be included if seasonal timing and weather permit.
This trail enhances perceptual skills and increases sensory awareness of our surrounding environment. A guide rope directs students to tactile signs and "talking trees" along the trail. A boardwalk leads from the upland portion of the trail through a hardwood swamp to the headwaters of the Toms River. Here students can sit and observe, reflect, and do creative drawing and writing.
An investigative hike on the Swamp Life Trail introduces the fascinating forested wetlands. Students find swamp creatures, visit an informational kiosk with a "talking tree," and look for swamp clues such as snags, blown down trees, pond life, and vernal pools.
During this hands-on program students take measurements along a 100 foot segment of the Toms River and record average stream width, depth, and the velocity of the current. Using the collected data, the class calculates the flow of the river in gallons per day. Then they discuss ways to improve their watershed.
Our forests and tree nursery provide a variety of habitats for wildlife. Students will learn about our techniques for improving wildlife habitat through forest management, providing nesting and roosting boxes and other methods. We will search for these animals or the evidence of their presence, dependent upon the season during the visit. Students may also get a chance to examine and touch furs, feathers and shells that once belonged to animals.
Stroll along the trail and identify trees and shrubs from Arborvitae to Zelkova by finding distinctive features such as patterned bark or unique leaf shape. Students "Adopt A Tree" in the ABC Arboretum such as the NJ state tree, Northern Red Oak or Gingko, an extraordinary tree with prehistoric "roots." Changing Forest
This program focuses on change in forest composition over time, called succession. Along the trail the group sees evidence of wildfire and insect infestation and the effects of carefully planned prescribed burning and forest management techniques. Students also discover how pioneers of this area utilized the forest.
Students hike along the FireWise Trail and stop at several locations to identify evidence of wildfire, and observe fire management techniques including prescribed burning, fire buffers, and fire breaks. Learn the tower observer's job at the "fire tower" and how to be firewise.
During the hike students learn forest ecology, detect animal signs, and identify and use of a variety of tree species. Along the trail observe effects of competition, lightning, wind, and human activities on the health and growth of the forest. The group also stops at a scenic overlook of the Toms River, and learn about tree rings using a cross-section of a 225 year old tree called the Indian Oak.
Participants in this hands-on program learn about trees and shrubs used to make forest products, and may get an opportunity to touch, taste, and smell samples. Students also observe milling of sawlogs into lumber, growing shiitake mushrooms, bee pollination, and participate in making maple syrup at the sugar shack.