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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.

Hawkwatch at the EEC - New program
(All Ages)
Join a Naturalist on the back deck of the Environmental Education Center and watch migrating raptors on their journey south. Stay for as long as you would like or drop in to see what has been spotted. Pre-registration is not required.
Saturday, September 29

Birding Big Sit
(All Ages, 8 years and older)
Fall migration is in full swing, so let us see how many species of bird we can identify from the back deck of the Environmental Education Center in one day. Swing by the EEC whenever and for however long you w ant and join one of our Naturalists to find hawks, warblers, sparrows, and more. With your help we might be able to beat last year's total of 70 species! Pre-registration is not required.
Saturday, October 6

The Lord Stirling 1770s Festival
Return to the past and experience daily Colonial life and craft industry at the annual Lord Stirling 1770s Festival. Colonial craftspeople ply their trades while a Town Crier announces the local news. A Revolutionary War military detachment camps on the former estate lawn of Lord Stirling and conducts maneuvers. Stroll the grounds of "The Buildings" and tour Lord Stirling's personal 1762 wine cellar. The Lord Stirling 1770s Festival also features displays of authentic artifacts discovered on site by our archeological field project. Children of all ages enjoy the hayrides, clay crafts, stenciling, butter making, and Colonial games. Experience what life was like here in the fall of 1770 and learn about our local Revolutionary War hero, Lord Stirling. Craft sales are prohibited to ensure an enjoyable and educational living history event.
Suggested donation: $5 per person
Sunday, October 7, 2018

Halloween Happenings at the Environmental Education Center"

By the Light of the Moon
(All Ages)
Listen for animal sounds. Make sparks fly. Hone your night vision and more as you traverse the swampy trails with a Naturalist beneath the stars. Indoor activities may include live critters, face painting, and more! Light refreshments will be included. Space is limited. Pre-registration is required. We recommend wearing your boots and leaving your stroller at home due to wet, dark, and uneven terrain. Program time includes a one-hour walk plus indoor activities and refreshments.
$6 per person
Course Code: 52004
Friday, October 12 (Rain Date: Saturday, October 13)
EEC-46 6:45pm-8:15pm
EEC-47 7:00pm-8:30pm
EEC-48 7:15pm-8:45pm
EEC-49 7:30pm-9:00pm

Live Animal Show
(All Ages)
Join us for a wild afternoon of fun! Rizzo's Wildlife World will be presenting a live animal show where you will meet some of nature's coolest creatures. Pre-registration is not required.
Suggested donation: $5 per person
Sunday, October 14

41st Festival of Trees Application Schedule of Musical Performances
Help Festival of Trees support a worthy cause…
AGAPE HOUSE in Somerville

December is the time to visit the Somerset County Park Commission
Environmental Education Center (EEC) to welcome winter and get into the holiday spirit! The festival is an indoor exhibit of decorated trees by various community groups and individuals alike. Enjoy live holiday music and relax in the Snowflake Café with refreshments on the weekends.

Please call 908 722-1200 (ext. 5328) or email to participate by decorating a tree, to volunteer to be a live musical performer, to get a schedule of live musical performances (available late November), to make group reservations or for more information.
Suggested donation: $5 per person
Saturday, December 1 through Friday, December 28, 2018, 9:00am-4:30pm.

**Please note the EEC will be closed December 24 & 25**

Please visit our website or check out our Facebook page for more information. See you in December at the EEC – the perfect lead into the holiday season!

Storytime in the Trees
(All Ages)
Join a Naturalist amid the twinkling lights of the Festival of Trees and enjoy seasonal stories of winter mystery, adventure, and good will towards all. Pre-registration is not required.
Saturday, December 1
Sunday, December 2
Saturday, December 8

Snowflake Party!
(All Ages)
It is snowing inside at the Environmental Center! Come and join the fun as we prepare for it to snow outside. Drop in and make a giant snowflake to take home. We provide the directions, supplies, music, and have some winter fun! No need to pre-register, just stop by anytime between 10:00am and 3:00pm and stay a while. Each snowflake you make will take about 20 minutes. Pre-registration is not required.
Saturday, December 22
Wednesday, December 26

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Family Program Series

NJ Lighthouse Challenge Weekend! - New program
Join Somerset County Park Commission Naturalists on a two-day adventure! We will be traveling by van to explore the historical New Jersey coast and stopping at the most iconic lighthouses along the way. The weekend of October 20-21 is the New Jersey Lighthouse Challenge Weekend. Staying Saturday night at the Victorian Motel near the beach, in the heart of Cape May we will be within easy walk¬ing distance of many restaurants, cafes, and delis. We will make 'happy' stops each day for the purchasing of lunch, drinks, snacks and so forth. The cost of participants' meals is their responsibility.

This trip is for active adults and seniors with an interest in lighthouses, coastal environments, and New Jersey History. Registration closes Saturday, September 1 at Noon.
$280 per person
Course Code: 50803

EEC-01 Saturday, October 20 - Sunday, October 21

Armchair Birding - New Program
(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 the last Friday of each month. There will be a new topic or "destination" each time. Pre-registration is not required.
Fridays, October 26, November 30, December 28, January 25

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, October 28

Dinosaurs Rock
(All Ages)
Join us for an afternoon all about dinosaurs! During this visual and interactive presentation you will see museum quality life-size, genuine dinosaur fossils and other prehistoric specimens that are 10,000 to over 500 million years old! Children can participate in a hands-on fossil dig activity where they will uncover genuine fossils such as dinosaur bone, shark teeth, ammonites, petrified wood, and more. Leave with your very own fossil to take home and start your own collection! Pre-registration is not required.
Suggested donation: $5 per person
Sunday, November 4

Recipe for a Reptile
(All Ages)
Reptiles have some unique and interesting adaptations. Come to the Environmental Education Center to learn what they are and meet some live reptiles! Pictures, animal objects, and stories will also be presented. Pre-registration is not required.
Sunday, November 11

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The Great Swamp Experience
"The Great Swamp Experience", located on the lower level of the EEC, features interactive displays, vignettes, taxidermy, and archeological artifacts highlighting the history and ecology of the Great Swamp. Open 7 days a week from 9:00am to 4:30pm, visiting children can crawl into a beaver lodge, feel animal fur, or explore the toddler area. For adults, habitat vignettes share educational content of the flora and fauna found in the swamp's river, meadows, ponds, marshes, and forests. Historical exhibits include information about the Wisconsin Glacier, mastodon bones, Paleo-Indians, and Lord Stirling. Visitors will also have the opportunity to learn about hydrology, sustainability, and the park's geographic location. Admission is free. Children must be monitored by an adult.

Jersey Wild
From carnivorous plants from the Pine Barrens to the endangered bobcats of the Highlands, New Jersey harbors some truly amazing creatures and wild places. This photographic exhibition, featuring the work of ecologist and nature photographer Tyler Christensen, represents more than ten years spent photographing the beauty and fragility of New Jersey's species and ecosystems. This exhibit includes rare up-close images of New Jersey's wild bobcats captured using motion-activated cameras, and photographs of many other beautiful and vulnerable animals and plants that call our state home.
Saturday, September 1 through Monday, October 8, 2018
9:00am-5:00pm except Labor Day

Birds of Prey
The Raptor Trust presents: "Birds of Prey," featuring the art of James Fiorentino and Michael McNelly.

James Fiorentino is one of the most renowned wildlife and sports artists in the country.  He is the youngest artist ever inducted into the prestigious New York Society of illustrators and his works hang in major museums and galleries throughout the world alongside the works of artists such as Andy Warhol and Norman Rockwell. A long-time friend of The Raptor Trust, James' series of raptor images in this show were all originally painted for his book, "Northeastern American Hawks."

Michael McNelly graduated from The Hussian School of Art in 1976 and has explored themes related to wildlife and nature throughout his career. His clients have included The New York Times, The Cousteau Society, and The Nature Conservancy. Michael has received many honors, including The Philadelphia Academy of Science's Award of Excellence. Michael's raptor illustrations featured in this show were all originally included in the books, "New Jersey's Owls" and "New Jersey's Hawks" by Raptor Trust Founder, Len Soucy.

Join us for an opening reception on Sunday, October 21 from 1:00pm-3:00pm. All proceeds from the sales of this show benefit The Raptor Trust.
Friday, October 19 through Sunday, November 18, 2018
9:00am-5:00pm daily, except Election Day and Veteran's Day

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. This colorful display is sure to brighten your day!
Monday, January 7 through Sunday, February 3, 2019    
9:00am-4:30pm daily, except Martin Luther King, Jr. Day


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 will concentrate on photograph composition for bird and wildlife photography. The afternoon session will include in-the-field time to help participants improve the 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, October 13
EEC-03 10:00am-Noon
EEC-04 1:00pm-3:00pm


Birding with the EEC PDF
Canoe and Kayking Trips
Garden Discovery Tours 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
  Jane Bodnar 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