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June 20, 2018

Hi Cindie,

My name is Theresa Fritsch and my husband Frankie and I have participated in the Somerset County Bocce league on spring Tuesday nights for the past 7 years.   We’ve watched it grow from a league of about 8 or so teams to 19 teams in 2018.  Last night was championship night and the first time I’ve ever seen so many league members join in the fun of watching the finals and enjoying a night out.  The weather cooperated for us allowing the night to turn into a true championship event.

Please accept this email as our deepest expression of gratitude to you, your staff and Somerset County for not only keeping the bocce program going but for also giving it the attention to allow it to grow.  Karren Newman was instrumental in starting and caring for the league and we couldn’t have asked for a better successor in Dina Healey.   Dina has brought a new level of coordination and structure to the league that has attracted a whole new group of participants ranging in all ages.  She still maintains the leagues original intent for fun play yet has introduced a competitive level that holds participants interest and engages them enough to want to come back each year and vie for a title.   

Every Tuesday, Dina communicates with the teams to address any weather concerns, is always at the courts on time and has them ready for play (bocce sets are arranged at each court, score sheets are at the ready and she is prepared to address any last minute team play alterations).   Last night in particular, she coordinated a snack night, had the courts raked and ready for championship play, and had lights ready in the event the evening play lasted after dusk.   Although Frankie and I played in both championship rounds, it was wonderful to look around and see so many league members engaged in free bocce play, snacking, engaging with each other and watching some competitive bocce.  Everyone stayed the entire evening which turned out to be quite entertaining for everyone!   Dina was truly the facilitator of a wonderful evening!

What makes bocce special is it is a game for all ages and skill level – it’s universal and truly a diverse outdoor activity that anyone can play.  My uncle is in a wheelchair and even he played from his wheelchair last night!  

Thank you again for ensuring the resources continue to be available to allow bocce to thrive in Somerset County!  And especially for giving us Dina!!

Best Regards,

Theresa & Frankie Fritsch
“The Nats"


In an e-mail to Geoffrey Soriano on 6/14/18 - I'm an amateur photographer. I had the pleasure of visiting the van der Goot rose garden (Colonial Park) last weekend and cannot say enough good things about it. Such beauty and so well maintained. A real treasure that I will be returning to soon. Joseph Fanaroff

Review 6/18 - Colonial Park has been a favorite place to visit for our family for many years. A wonderful place for activities and exercise, and even more for restful relaxation while enjoying natural beauty. We especially enjoy the Rose and Sensory Garden. The recent renovations there to the walkways have been a great improvement. All the Gardens, Arboretum and recreation areas are well maintained not only for their beauty, but for safety, as well. A local treasure for any season.  – Margie Hartman Soriano


June 2018

Hello, Carrie,

I've been very remiss with not sending you a note since the trip but have been very busy with physical therapy while still doing LOTS of outdoor stuff that I can do. But I just wanted to let you know what a really fabulous trip Ben put together. I know he'd been working toward it for about 2 years & it showed! We got to all sorts of great birding locales and increased our life lists thanks to him. Thanks to Monica as well for supporting this effort, & to both of them for all the hard work they put into it. Just wanted you to know they deserve congratulations & gratitude for the trip! 

Terri Petner


June 2018

Dear Carrie,

I just wanted to let you know what a wonderful trip to Arizona Monica and Ben took us on!!  It truly was a great trip.  I know they spent so much time and effort in the planning and it certainly showed.  They are both so considerate and caring to everyone -  and this is all the time, not just in Arizona!  Ben and Monica do their best to make sure everyone gets a look at the bird in question--not always an easy task as you can imagine.  As the trip progressed from site to site and we talked about how beautiful it was, Ben kept saying it's only going to get better--  he was so right!!  The Research Station was in a gorgeous location and offered great accommodations.  I believe most of us wished we could have stayed longer.

We are fortunate to have such wonderful people working at the EEC.  You have a great staff. I look forward to more exciting adventures in the great outdoors with them!

Thank you,

Valerie Arena


May 2018

Dear Mr. Soriano,

I have been attending activities at the Basking Ridge Environmental Education Center for over two years, and think it's time that I tell someone how grateful I am for all that your wonderful employees do.

The first day trip that I took was with Monica, which immediately made me sign up for more.  She is such an effective leader: competent, organized, charismatic, and thoughtful.  She seems to think of everything.  I've never heard a single negative word about her and how she handles her job.

Then there's Ben, our brilliant young ornithologist.  He compares favorably with professional leaders from the established birding companies with whom I travel.  It isn't just the knowledge, but also his leadership skills, knowing the pace at which to proceed, and the trip preparation.  We all enjoy his sense of humor.

Christa is also a delight, well-prepared and patient.  I've been with her fewer times, but would be glad to go anywhere with her.

Ben and Vanessa have both given excellent programs at the Sr. Center in Basking Ridge, and kept the attention of what is normally a rather restless audience, some of whom are there primarily for the lunch.  Holding their attention requires lively presentation skills and tact to get the audience to interact with the presenter.

I've had less contact with Rich, but what I have had has also impressed me.

I also thank the office staff, always pleasant to deal with. 

And lastly, I think the stick drawing to assign seating on the vehicles is a great idea.  I recently returned from an overseas trip where there was no seating assignment method, and some participants took advantage.  The EEC's method is truly the luck of the draw, and is fair to everyone.

I thank your employees for all they do, and hope to continue participating in your programs.

Doris M. Stoner


May 2018

Dear Ben and Monica,

It is difficult to put into words how much I appreciate all of the preparations and detailed information you have compiled for the trip to Arizona. As you can well imagine I am so excited about the trip and you have made it easier to prepare, pack, study and learn! Thank you so much for the attention to all the details and having all the meetings prior to the trip! The trip promises to be amazing, as you both are!

See you soon.

Elaine Seckler


May 2018

Dear Naturalists,

Thank you all for this year's amazing experiences. We learned so much from you and look forward to building a long lasting relationship. I have attached the letters that went home to parents to brag about your work and the wonderful opportunities this gave to our students. 

Thank you all again for all you do. I'm already looking forward to next year!

Jessica Glover
K-4 Math and Science Supervisor
Montgomery Township School District


April 2018

Hi Kurt and Monica--

A huge thank you from Troop 60378!!

Thank you again for a wonderful Sunday-morning canoe class for our Girl Scouts. We truly appreciated Monica's incredible knowledge, kindness and patience working with our girls. Our scouts all commented on how much fun it was to earn their Paddling Badge at the EEC!  

Have a great spring--and we hope to see you again soon for another activity.

Kind regards,

Ellen Polito and Heather Watson-Kramer


SCPC FB Message board 6/27/18 - I got a hole in one at Green Knoll golf course yesterday. Please make sure you give Gary and his staff kudos for how well maintained the course is! - Courtney Johnson


Wednesday, May 23, 2018


We have just finished the 2018 golf season for Immaculata High School at Green Knoll. I want to pass along some feedback about the staff and the course.

As usual, Gary Wendorf did a great job ensuring the coaches from all of the schools who call Green Knoll home were kept up to date with course plans and new policies. He proactively ensured that we knew about the renovations to the clubhouse and how it might impact the players while construction was underway. He also reached out early to let us know about the new policy requiring all players be registered Somerset County golfers. Gary's assistance here made the process as smooth as possible.

I also wanted to call out Ed Johns and Bob Sedlak, who were usually on duty when we practiced or played for their day to day efforts to help us prepare for the season and make match day operations as smooth as possible. Ed was always organized and ready for us when we arrived at the course. Any unexpected changes were handled smoothly and with a friendly smile. Bob was a magician in his role as the starter. It was not unusual for there to be three teams competing to be on the course at the same time and, of course, everyone wants to be out on the course first. Bob was able to juggle the tees to get everyone out and moving and give reminders about pace of play. He also ensured that the high school teams had the least amount of impact on the general public as well.

Lastly, my hats off to the greens staff for giving us a superbly conditioned golf course. Whether it was fairway divots filled by the staff, the condition of the greens, or the ability to play when other courses were closed due to the very difficult spring weather made Green Knoll a great place for our team to play. Almost every visiting coach had positive comments about the condition of the course.

Paul Manore
Head Coach - Immaculata High School


05-03-2018 - This garden is beyond words.  I’m so happy that I’m lucky enough to experience it.  - Addyana Rufino,

05-04-2018 - TOTALLY AWESOME, - Mona & Greg,

05-06-2018 - Relaxing, Rejuvenating, Refreshing. - John & Joan Kenyon, Metuchen, NJ

05-15-2018 - A place to dream & a place of peace.  Thank you!  - Jim and Gloria Edwards, Bridgewater, NJ

05-15-2018 - A breath of fresh air! -Manohar & Deepa Singh

05-16-2018 - Loved our time here - great hospitality!  Wonderful tours. - The Garden Club of Westfield

05-20-2018 - Lovely, so glad I finally got here!  - Lisa Weaver, Highland Park, NJ

05-26-2018 - Best place in Somerset County! - Len & Wendy Michielli

05-26-2018 - Thank you for this beautiful place. - Zan Davies,

05-27-2018 - Wet but still beautiful as always. - Matt, Ashley, Eric and Carolyn, South Carolina

05-28-2018 - I arrived on my 47th birthday.  The beauty of Leonard J. Buck Garden helped remind me of all the special moments in life.
                      - John P. Cahill, Bedminster, NJ

05-30-2018 - A perfect view around every corner.  Variety! - Tom & Brenda Watt, Bernards Township, NJ

06-01-2018 - Love this place!  - Jeff & Carolyn Green,

06-06-2018 - Well maintained, so clean & friendly employees.  Will be back soon, - Christine Brewer

06-09-2018 - Love your gardens & especially the snapping turtle.  - Mack & Mackenszie Walsh, Galloway, NJ

06-09-2018 - Very soothing. - Jane Castner. Clinton, NJ

06-12-2018 - Perfect spring day!  Found blessings everywhere. - Wendy Milligan, Bridgewater, NJ

06-14-2018 - Congratulations for such a beautiful collection of plants.  What a wonderful place!! - R. Sondahl, Bridgewater, NJ

06-14-2018 - Beautiful place. I had the chance to see plants I have never seen before.  - Maria Constanza Noriega, Columbia

06-17-2018 (Father’s Day) - I came here today in honor of my Dad.  I love it here.  - Amy Stewart.

06-17-2018 - A visit on Father’s Day.  Peaceful.  The Boccini Family

06-20-2018 - Such peaceful tranquility here and wonderful walking paths.  Thank you!  - Wendy Messie


FB Sunday, 6/3/18 - Had the most wonderful time today at the Friends of Lord Stirling Spring Hunter Pace. The trails were stellar and the course wonderful. -Dolly Marie Fish

LSS FB 5/7/18 - Yesterday's Family Fun Day was great! So many memories. I wish you guys can do more days like that.
-Shannon McAdams

LSS FB 4/26/18 - So many good memories at this place from when I was young. Very safe place to learn to ride and make great friends along the way! Also fantastic trails! -Rachel Furland