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Environmental Education Center

190 Lord Stirling Rd, Basking Ridge, NJ
908 766-2489   
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.

Project E.A.R.T.H – Swamp Search!
Join us for an exciting scavenger hunt on the Environmental
Education Center trails to learn about the importance of the Great Swamp as an ecological and recreational resource. Learn interesting facts about the Great Swamp and its inhabitants. This event is for friends, families, scouts or other groups to get outside and travel our trails to find answers to our scavenger hunt questions. Then return to the EEC for a program by Rizzo's Reptile Discovery, with live reptiles including a live alligator. This program will educate and entertain visitors of all ages. See the Family Program Series for more information.

This is a rain or shine event – please call the EEC for scavenger hunt status in case of inclement weather. If it is raining on the event day, or has rained significantly the week before, we suggest participants wear waterproof boots/shoes to protect against traversing through puddles and mud on our trails. 
Sunday, April 30, 2017

Trail Scramble - New at the EEC!
Sunday, June 4, 2017 - Registration begins May 17th
Join us for our new family event on the EEC trails! Run or walk the trails through a series of obstacles and educational challenges in celebration of National Trails Day.  Balance on a log, hop across stumps, crawl or jump over hay bales, and navigate through a variety of natural barriers along a two mile trail.  Come prepared to get dirty and have fun. Family Friendly.  Children under the age of 15 must be accompanied by a registered adult.  Space is limited. Pre-registration is required. Rain or shine! Sponsored by REI Co Op
$10 per person
Course Code:  51807
EEC-01  12:45pm
EEC-02 1:00pm
EEC-03 1:15pm
ECC-04 1:30pm
EEC-05 1:45pm
EEC-06 2:00pm

Garden Social (All Ages)
Join a Naturalist (and lover of all plants!) for an in-depth tour of the gardens at the Environmental Education Center.  Stop in any time between 1:00pm and 3:00pm to experience scent, touch, native, shade and deer resistant gardens all within a stone's throw of each other. Savor intriguing herbal refreshments, win New Jersey native plants, play garden games, and, of course, expand your knowledge of all things botanical. Rain will move event indoors.  For additional information or to express interest in attending, please contact Maria Rossi, 908-766-2489 ext. 334 or
Sunday, June 11

The County Caper
The County Caper is a one day game that takes families and friends on an interactive tour of Somerset County parks and facilities. It is designed to encourage everyone to explore, learn, and protect our parks and other natural areas. Sunday, August 21, 2016 is the date to remember for this special event open to everyone with a yearning to discover all Somerset County has to offer. Pre-registration is required and ends at 4:30pm on August 16.
$20 per team
Sunday, August 20

The County Caper Accelerated!
The County Caper Accelerated! is a one day game that takes adults (15 years and older) on an interactive tour of Somerset County parks and facilities. Challenge your mental and physical capabilities while completing fun tasks throughout the day as your team races against the clock. Saturday, August 20, 2016 kicks off this exciting event for those who crave adventure in their own backyard. Pre-registration is required and ends at noon on August 19.
$20 per team
Saturday, August 19

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, tin piercing, 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 1, 2017

Birding Big Sit - NEW EVENT
(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 want and join one of our Naturalists to find hawks, warblers, sparrows, and more. With your help we might be able to see over 100 species! Pre-registration is not required.
Saturday, October 7


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
Friday, October 13
(Rain Date: Saturday, October 14)

Live Animal Show 
(All Ages)
Join us for a wild afternoon of fun! Eyes of the Wild will be presenting a live animal show where you will meet some of nature's coolest creatures. Pre-registration not required.
Suggested donation: $5 per person
Sunday, October 15

40th Annual Festival of Trees - APPLICATION (pdf) Schedule of Musical Performances (pdf)
December is the time to visit the Environmental Education Center and get into the holiday spirit. The Festival of Trees is an indoor exhibit of decorated trees by various community groups and individuals. Come and enjoy live holiday music on select Saturdays and Sundays. Snowflake Café on all Saturdays and Sundays. Daily hours: 9:00am – 4:30pm.
Environmental Education Center, Basking Ridge 
908 766-2489
December 2 - 29, 2017 
Suggested donation: $5 per person 
(closed December 24-26 in observance of the Christmas holiday)
9:00am – 4:30pm

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 not required.
Saturday, December 9
Sunday, December 17

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 2:00pm and stay a while. Each snowflake you make will take about 20 minutes. Pre-registration not required.
Wednesday, December 27

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Family Program Series

Fascinating Fungi
Explore the visible members of the fungi kingdom with mushroom expert Dorothy Smullen, former President of the NJ Mycological Association. Learn how to recognize morels, chanterelles, boletes, and other native mushrooms that are essential members of the ecosystem. Dorothy will take you on a Powerpoint tour of the world of mushrooms and then lead a short walk on the EEC trails to find some local fungi. Mushrooms love a rainy day. Come prepared to be outside rain or shine.
Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Wild Life of Limericks – a Child's Safari!
(All Ages)
Jean Merrill, author of the book The Wild Life of Limericks, will read her limericks to young visitors accompanied by an adult. Take a visual and verbal safari to learn fun facts about animals around the world. Learn what a limerick is and how to create limericks of your own to entertain and educate your friends. Pre-registration not required.
Sunday, October 8, 2017

Do Male and Female Bees Like Different Flowers?
(All Ages)
Are some foods "boy foods" or "girl foods?" If so, do you think the reasons are cultural? Do animals have cultures? How about insects? Why might male and female bees visit different plants? In 2016, Michael Roswell, a Doctoral Candidate from Rutgers University, led a research project to see if, for wild bees, there are "boy foods" and "girl foods." His data suggests there are. Come by to discuss the data and explore reasons for the patterns that emerged. Together we will think about what makes a bee male or female, or both. Pre-registration not required.
Saturday, January 27, 2018

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Bernards Township Community Art Show
Bernards Township is partnering with the Environmental Education Center to host the sixth annual non-juried art show with a wide variety of mediums and subjects. The artists are all Bernards Township adult residents and the subject matter is family friendly. Come to the EEC to see artwork created by your friends and neighbors. A reception will be held on Saturday. March 18 from 11:00am-Noon.
Saturday, March 18 through Sunday, April 23, 2017
9:00am-5:00pm except Good Friday and Easter

A Closer Look – Patterns in Nature and the Microcosmic World 
This season the Ridge High School Ceramics Students have created tile designs and "think big" sculptures that were influenced by their research and observations of the Microcosmic World. With the help of micro/macro photographic imagery, miniscule micro-organisms display their awesome physical attributes and inherent natural beauty. These microscopic elements of magnificent design have inspired this artistic endeavor that invites us all to take a closer look! A reception will be held on Wednesday, May 3, from 5 to 7pm.
Saturday, April 29 through Sunday, May 28, 2017

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.

Drawn Together
Experience work by artists from the Hunterdon Watercolor Society, the Printmaking Center of New Jersey (PCNJ), and the International Nature Printing Society. Enjoy a collaborative exhibition that illustrates the world around us utilizing different techniques and mediums. Join us for an opening reception on Saturday, September 23 from 1:00pm-3:00pm.
Saturday, September 2 through Monday, October 2, 2016
9:00am-5:00pm except Labor Day

Somerset County Parks Art Exhibit
Employees and volunteers of the Somerset County Park Commission display their artistic talents and their perspective of wildlife and park activities. Join us at the EEC for a Park Commission view of nature and what the parks have to offer. Photography, wood carvings, paintings, and other media may be included.
Saturday, October 21 through Sunday, November 19, 2017
9:00am-5:00pm 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!
Friday, January 5 through Sunday, February 4, 2018
9:00am-4:30pm 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. Both sessions will include in-the-field time to help participants improve use of their own digital camera to capture nature images as well as computer time to learn how to organize and edit digital files. The morning session will also include presentations on composition and digital workflow. The afternoon will include presentations on bird/wildlife photography and digital editing. 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, June 3
EEC-01 9:00am-Noon
EEC-02 1:00pm-4:00pm


Birding with the EEC PDF
Canoe and Kayking Trips
Garden Discovery Tours 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 908 766-2489 ext. 322. (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 908 766-2489 ext. 323

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
Speciality 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
    • County Caper
    • Events
    • Family Program Series
    • Festival of Trees
    • Live Animal Show
    • Swamp Search
    • Temporary Exhibits
    • Trail Scramble
Program Calendars
Trails & Facilities
    • Auditorium
    • Biomimicry STEM Lab
    • Discovery Room
    • EEC Brochure
    • Gift Shop/Library
    • The Great Swamp Experience
    • Pond View Room
    • Room Rentals
    • Temporary Exhibits
    • Trail Map
    • The Tree House

  Volunteers are needed and appreciated   throughout the year. Please contact
  Jane Bodnar at 908 766.2489 ext.323 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 Jane Parks at 908 766.2489 ext.336 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