In-person Nature Programs

Registration Instructions:

Pre-registration required. Submit our registration and medical forms with cash/check payment to H.C. Parks. Mail to P.O. Box 2900, Flemington, NJ 08822 or drop off at the Hunterdon County Arboretum, 1020 State Highway 31, Lebanon, NJ 08833. Children must be accompanied by an adult.  


NEW DATE! Reptiles AliveIMG_7366

  • Date: Sunday, February 19 
  • Time: 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM 
  • Location: Echo Hill Lodge
  • Ages: all (children must be accompanied by an adult)
  • Cost: $3 per person (pre-registration required)
  • Class size: 15 participants
  • Instructor: Debra Reed, Park Naturalist

Live animals are fun and educational for everyone! Join us for an interesting and interactive afternoon as we learn about these scaly critters. Many snakes and turtles live here in Hunterdon. Find out if snakes are slimy and how fast a turtle moves. Discover what reptiles need our protection and which reptiles should be observed at a distance. This program is an exciting experience for the entire family. 

A Crisis Like No Other: Understanding & Defeating Global WarmingA-Crisis-Like-no-Other-Understanding-and-Defeating-Global-warming (2)

  • Date: Thursday, January 12
  • Time: 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM
  • Location: Echo Hill Lodge
  • Ages: adults
  • Cost: $3 per person (pre-registration required)
  • Class size: 25 participants
  • Guest Instructor: Robert De Saro, President of Energy Research Company

This seminar will discuss what global warming is, how serious it is, why it is occurring, and what we can do about it. The concepts are easy to understand by any citizen concerned about our environment. No special technical background is needed. The solutions are also easy to understand, and though while perhaps difficult to implement, not impossible and very much necessary. Mr. De Saro is a Clinton Township resident. He is an energy expert and author of A Crisis Like No Other: Understanding and Defeating Global Warming published by Bentham Science Publishers. 

Winter Wilderness Skills, SORRY SOLD OUT, call for wait list

  • Date: Sunday, January 15
  • Time: 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
  • Location: Echo Hill 
  • Ages: 8 through adult (children must be accompanied by an adult)
  • Cost: $3 per person (pre-registration required)
  • Class size: 15 participants
  • Instructor: Debra Reed, Park Naturalist

Do you know what to do if something doesn’t go according to plan on your cold outdoor adventures? Join us to learn the essentials of preparing for the outdoors, how to build a basic shelter and fire, and some basic first aid skills. 

Full Moon Hike & CampfireIMG_6043 SORRY, SOLD OUT; call for wait list.

  • Date: Sunday, February 5 
  • Time: 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM 
  • Location: Teetertown Preserve   
  • Ages: all (children must be accompanied by an adult)
  • Cost: $5 per person (pre-registration required)
  • Class size: 15 participants
  • Instructor: Debra Reed, Park Naturalist

The hush of a winter night, one of the most stunning times of the year. Come out and watch the sunset while going for a walk in the park. Take some time to reflect, while encompassed in the beautiful tranquility that surrounds you in winter. Find out what is happening in nature during this transition from day light to darkness. We will end with a campfire and some nighttime activities. 

Screech-Owl Boxes

  • Date: Thursday, February 16
  • Time: 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
  • Location: Echo Hill Park
  • Ages: 10 through adult (children must be accompanied by an adult)
  • Cost: $20 per kit (one kit per family group)
  • Class size: 8 kits
  • Instructor: Tom Sheppard, Chief Park Naturalist

Eastern Screech-Owls are beautiful birds and can easily adapt to most woodlots if a cavity hole is available. However, if your woodlot does not have a cavity hole to offer, fear not, they will easily adapt to an artificial nesting box. We have learned about these boxes with virtual programs; now let’s get together and build in person. We will learn a little bit about screech-owls and then use the rest of our time to assemble the boxes. Wood will be pre-cut, and screws will be provided. Please bring your own #2 screwdriver. Limit one box per family.

Evening Walk for Screech-Owls 

  • Date: Friday, February 24IMG_7706
  • Time: 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM
  • Location: Sunnyside Section of the South Branch
  • Ages: 12 through adult (children must be accompanied by an adult)
  • Cost $3 per person (pre-registration required) 
  • Class size: 10 participants
  • Instructor: Tom Sheppard, Chief Park Naturalist

February is the time for owls. This nighttime walk will focus on owling etiquette. During this walk, Tom will attempt to call to Eastern Screech-Owls for a response. Depending on the assumed distance, he will try to draw one in for viewing. The group is not permitted to bring flashlights or headlamps. The trail at Sunnyside is wide and flat and Tom will provide red lights for the limited walking that will be done for the program.

Walk for WaterfowlIMG_8474

  • Date: Sunday, February 26  
  • Time: 1:00 PM to 2:15 PM 
  • Location: Wings, 52 Deer Path Road, Flemington 08822
  • Ages: adults
  • Cost: $3 per person (pre-registration required)
  • Class size: 10 participants
  • Instructor: Debra Reed, Park Naturalist

Wood ducks arrive in Hunterdon at the beginning of March to raise their young. Join Debra Reed to learn about these ducks, and other waterfowl that frequent the area. While walking along the river we will examine and prepare their nesting boxes for the soon-approaching mating season. Perhaps, if we are lucky, we will spot an early migrant to the area. Binoculars are available to borrow.

Waterfowl Walk

  • Date: Friday, March 17
  • Time: 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
  • Location: Assiscong Marsh
  • Ages: adults only
  • Cost: free! (pre-registration required) 
  • Class size: 12 participants
  • Instructor: Tom Sheppard, Chief Park Naturalist

At 24 acres in size, the Assiscong Marsh is the largest marsh in the County. It has been home to or has hosted over 200 species of waterfowl and wading birds. Join Tom Sheppard, Chief Park Naturalist, for a walk along the marsh to see what may be around on this date.

Spring Equinox Hike

  • Date: Monday, March 20
  • Time: 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM
  • Location: Wescott Preserve (63 Strimples Mill Road, Stockton)
  • Ages: adults
  • Cost: free! (pre-registration required)
  • Class size: 10 participants
  • Instructor: Debra Reed, Park Naturalist

Spring is here! The Spring Equinox means that the first day of spring has finally arrived. Take some time to celebrate the new life that surrounds you in nature. Join Park Naturalist Debra Reed for a walk to see what is happening in nature during this transition from winter to spring.  

Star Program

  • Date: Friday, March 24
  • Time: 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM
  • Location: Hoffman Park
  • Ages: 8 through adult (children must be accompanied by an adult) 
  • Cost: free! (pre-registration required)  
  • Class size: 15 participants
  • Instructor: Tom Sheppard, Chief Park Naturalist

Join Tom for a night of gazing into the heavens. Sky permitting, we will look at our two neighboring planets, Mars and Venus, and our closest neighbor, the Moon. We will take a look at some of the craters and other features along its crescent phase. Our remaining time will be to used to view the seasonal constellations and other sky features.

Build a Bluebird Box Workshop

  • Date: Wednesday, April 5
  • Time: 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM
  • Location: Echo Hill Main Lodge
  • Ages: 8 through adult (children must be accompanied by an adult)
  • Cost: $15 per box (pre-registration required) 
  • Class size: 10 boxes
  • Instructor: Tom Sheppard, Chief Park Naturalist

Welcome bluebirds to your home by building and installing a nesting box for them. During this program, we will learn about our Eastern Bluebirds and the challenges they face. We will then assemble boxes together. Wood will be pre-cut and screws are provided. Please bring your own Phillips #2 screwdriver. Limit one box per family.

Lichens on the Rocks

  • Date: Tuesday, April 11
  • Time: 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM
  • Location: Sourlands
  • Ages: adults
  • Cost: free! (pre-registration required) 
  • Class size: 5 cars
  • Guest Lecturer: Dennis Waters, Lichenologist

Many know that lichens are a fusion of an alga and a fungus and may even know the rhyme that includes a “Fun Guy.” But, there is a lot more to this realm of lichens. Join us as we take a walk with Dennis Waters, Lichenologist, who has recently completed a four-year inventory of lichens throughout Hunterdon.

Woodlands Wildflower Walk

  • Date: Monday, April 17
  • Time: 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM
  • Location: Musconetcong Gorge Preserve (182 Dennis Road, Bloomsbury)
  • Ages: adults
  • Cost: free! (pre-registration required)  
  • Class size: 10 participants
  • Instructor: Debra Reed, Park Naturalist

Our parks in spring are a remarkable sight; we hope you’ll join us to enjoy Mother Nature. Come take a walk in the woods as we learn about the short-lived beauties that bloom in the forests at this time of year. Spot wonderful blooms and enjoy stories on this fun and informative walk. Expect a rocky trail with an uphill slope on the return. 

Bluebells Hikebluebells

  • Date: Monday, April 24
  • Time: 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
  • Location: Bernadette Morales/Uplands
  • Ages: 8 through adult (children must be accompanied by an adult) 
  • Cost: $6 per person (pre-registration required) 
  • Class size: 15 participants
  • Instructor: Laura Bush, Principal Park Naturalist

Virginia Bluebells are one of America’s favorite wildflowers. Native to our area, they bloom for a few weeks in early spring, and “hide” later in the summer. They are also deer- and critter-resistant! Explore Bernadette Morales and Uplands Reserve with naturalist Laura Bush to enjoy the bluebells, stroll along a bubbling brook, and see the ruins of the estate of Judge Large (a prosecutor in the Charles Lindberg case). This is a moderately hilly hike, about three miles in total. Meet at the parking lot of Bernadette Morales Nature Preserve, 103 Capner Street, Flemington.

Eggstrodinary Birds

  • Date: Sunday, April 30
  • Time: 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
  • Location: Echo Hill 
  • Ages: 4 through adult (children must be accompanied by an adult)
  • Cost: $5 per person (pre-registration required)  
  • Class size: 10 participants
  • Instructor: Debra Reed, Park Naturalist

Beautiful bird melodies fill the air in springtime. Come learn about these musical winged animals through hands-on activities. We will explore how birds build their nests and protect their eggs, then take a short walk out in the park to look at our local birds and listen to them sing. 

Full Moon Hike

  • Date: Friday, May 5
  • Time: 7:45 PM to 9:15 PM
  • Location: Hoffman Park, Main Entrance
  • Ages: 8 through adult (children must be accompanied by an adult)
  • Cost: free! (pre-registration required)
  • Class size: 20 participants
  • Instructor: Laura Bush, Principal Park Naturalist

Come explore the park after dark and see the moonlight reflecting off our ponds! Under the light of a full moon, we will listen to early insects and learn about the adaptations of nocturnal animals. We will also learn about the phases of the moon. Meet at 26 Baptist Church Road, Hampton (Union Township).

Reptiles Alive

  • Date: Friday, May 12
  • Time: 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM
  • Location: Echo Hill Main Lodge
  • Ages: 6 through adult (children must be accompanied by an adult)
  • Cost: free! (pre-registration required)
  • Class size: 25 participants
  • Instructor: Tom Sheppard, Chief Park Naturalist

Reptiles are often misunderstood as scaly, slimy, no-good animals. Learn the truth about some of the County’s reptiles as you view our live snakes and turtles. During this program with Chief Naturalist Tom Sheppard, we will dispel some of those myths behind these animals and how they are needed within our environment.  

Bees and Other Pollinators

  • Date: Monday, May 15
  • Time: 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
  • Location: Echo Hill 
  • Ages: adults
  • Cost: free! (pre-registration required)
  • Class size: 10 participants
  • Instructor: Debra Reed, Park Naturalist

Most of the world’s plants need to be pollinated. Pollination is not just interesting; it is essential for ecological survival. Without pollinators, humans would not survive. Come learn about our bees, butterflies, and some not so well-known pollinating flies, wasps, and beetles. 

Birding Musconetcong Gorgebirding musconetcong gorge swainsons thrush

  • Date: Saturday, May 20
  • Time: 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM
  • Location: Musconetcong Gorge Preserve
  • Ages: 8 through adult (children must be accompanied by an adult)
  • Cost: $6 per person (pre-registration required)
  • Class size: 15 participants
  • Instructor: Laura Bush, Principal Park Naturalist

At the height of spring migration, let’s bird a new location, Musconetcong Gorge Preserve in Holland Township. Principal Park Naturalist Laura Bush will guide the group through the forest habitat where Hooded Warblers, Worm-eating Warblers, and Swainson’s Thrushes have been observed in the past. We will meet at the main parking area, 182 Dennis Road, Bloomsbury 08804. Expect to walk at least 1 ½ miles on a rocky trail with an uphill slope on the return. For birders of any ability level; binoculars will be available to borrow. Please note, there are no restroom facilities at this location.

Crazy Creeks

  • Date: Sunday, May 21
  • Time: 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM
  • Location: Echo Hill 
  • Ages: 4 through adult (children must be accompanied by an adult)
  • Cost: free! (pre-registration required)
  • Class size: 10 participants
  • Instructor: Debra Reed, Park Naturalist

Our creeks are filled with interesting and weird wildlife. Spend the afternoon in the water looking at these fascinating creatures, learning what they are, and learning how they help keep our waterways clean. Please dress to get wet, wear closed toed water shoes, and bring a towel to dry off afterwards. 

Bird Study Scouting Merit Badgebird study merit badge bins and book

  • Date: Wednesday, May 24
  • Time: 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
  • Location: Echo Hill playground
  • Ages: Boy Scouts or Venture Scouts ages 11 through 17 (children must be accompanied by an adult)
  • Cost: free! (pre-registration required)
  • Class size: 10 scouts
  • Instructor: Laura Bush, Principal Park Naturalist

Earn your Bird Study Merit Badge with Counselor Laura Bush! The majority of the two hours will be spent on preparing our field notebooks, and identifying birds by sight and sound (requirements 5 and 6). We will also go over how to use binoculars and field guides (requirements 3 and 4, but scouts will have to be tested on this at a later date). Please bring a notebook and pencil, and binoculars if you have them (also available to borrow). Scouts will need to schedule an additional meeting time with Laura or her colleagues after they have completed the additional requirements for the badge on their own. 

Evening Moon Walk

  • Date: Friday, May 26
  • Time: 8:30 PM to 10:00 PM
  • Location: Hoffman Park
  • Ages: 12 through adults (children must be accompanied by an adult)
  • Cost: free! (pre-registration required)
  • Class size: 15 participants
  • Instructor: Tom Sheppard, Chief Park Naturalist

Join us as we examine the Moon up close with a telescope. The Moon is now about at its half phase. We will examine the various features and landscapes of the Moon along the terminus before moving out to other features in the evening sky.