Educational Programs & Resources

The Ocean County Soil Conservation District offers a variety of educational programs, workshops, and events for community members, as well as students, educators and professionals throughout Ocean County. Click-on any topic below to learn more about it! Or, contact Becky Laboy, Education Outreach Specialist, 609-971-7002 ext. 114,

Educational Programs and Workshops

The Ocean County Soil Conservation District offers a wide variety of educational programs and workshops to educate the community about the importance of soil health, build strong connections to our native landscapes, and inspire stewardship of our watershed. Learn more about the many educational opportunities in Ocean County provided by the Ocean County Soil Conservation District.

2016 Monthly Educational Program Series: “From Lawn to Garden – Going Green, Saving Green”
The Ocean County Soil Conservation District is excited to announce our 2016 monthly series of educational programs, From Lawn to Garden – Going Green, Saving Green. Programs are designed to promote low maintenance landscaping, highlight the ecologic and economic benefits of best landscape management practices, and inspire stewardship of natural resources. Program goals and objectives are supported by the Landscape for Life curriculum, which is based on the principles of the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) program. Each month features a new topic; all programs are FREE to the public. The From Lawn to Garden – Going Green, Saving Green monthly educational programs series is provided in collaboration with OceanFirst Bank, and is made possible in part through  funding from the Barnegat Bay Partnership.

Educational Outreach Programs & Workshops for Adults and Children

Environmental Educators Roundtable teachers learn new skills and activities.Programs are available to community members, scouts, teachers, students, garden clubs, environmental committees, non-profit organizations, and groups interested in learning about the importance of healthy soil. Check-out our schedule of monthly educational programs offered free to the public, or book a free program that supports your groups interests.


International Year of Soils Programs

iys-logo-for-webThe United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization has declared 2015 the “International Year of Soils” . Healthy soil is at the root of all life. It provides us with the food we eat, the fibers that make our clothing, and the fuel that runs our economy. It cleans our water and sequesters carbon, keeping it out of the atmosphere. The Ocean County Soil Conservation District is dedicated to promoting awareness of this finite resource. Join us for an educational and fun hands-on program as we explore the many roles of healthy soil in our lives. A new topic will be explored each month. Programs are located at Jakes Branch County Park. Pre-registration requested. Contact Becky Laboy at or 609-971-7002 ext. 114 for more details.

NJ Conservation Poster Contest

The New Jersey Conservation Poster Contest is an annual contest sponsored by the NJ Department of Agriculture, the NJ Association of Conservation Districts and the Ocean County Soil Conservation District, which aims to promote a better understanding of the connection between natural resources and humans, in a fun and creative way that engages students throughout the county, state and nation. The 2017 Poster Contest theme is: Healthy Soils Are Full of Life! The contest is open to all students in grades K-12. Cash prizes are awarded! Find out how you can participate in this exciting contest.

Trout in the Classroom

trout in the classroom 017Ocean County Soil Conservation District, in partnership with the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife and Trout Unlimited, provide a unique learning experience for students through the program Trout in the Classroom. Students raise trout from fry in their classroom then release the fish into a healthy New Jersey stream in the spring. Learn more about this exciting program!

Discovering Barnegat Bay Teacher’s Curriculum Guide

Discovering Barnegat Bay is an educational tool developed for educators to include information about the local natural ecosystem into their curriculum.Discovering Barnegat Bay is an interdisciplinary educational program created by members of the Barnegat Bay Environmental Educators Steering Committee in 2003 to address locally significant topics and resources. The discovering Barnegat Bay guidebook includes meaningful lesson plans, activities and resources for teachers and educators designed to support Language Arts, Science, Social Studies and Mathematics through the exploration of historical, cultural and natural resources of the Barnegat Bay watershed. The guidebook is accompanied by a discovering Barnegat Bay “Treasure Chest” containing a selection of resource materials. Teacher training for the discovering Barnegat Bay program takes place through meaningful workshops that can be scheduled to fit the needs of schools and staff. Please contact the Ocean County Soil Conservation District Education & Outreach Specialist to schedule an in-service at your school: (609) 971-7002 ext. 114 or email:

Educational Events

The Ocean County Soil Conservation District is an active leader in the community. The District exhibits their educational table display at local festivals and events, and disseminates complimentary literature to residents looking to build healthier home landscapes, gardens and community ecosystems.

Environmental Educators Roundtable

Terry O'Leary and McDuffy Barrow leading a group of educators through a trail at the 14th Annual Environmental Educators RoundtableEach year, the Ocean County Soil Conservation teams up with the Lighthouse Center for Natural Resource Education to host the Barnegat Bay Environmental Educators Roundtable.  This event is designed for educators throughout the watershed to come and participate in various workshops, enhancing their knowledge and resources for teaching the environment in the classroom.  This event has become extremely popular since its inception in 1997, and helped to promote environmental stewardship to not only educators but the students they teach each year.


Envirothon 2007 Student GroupThe Ocean County Soil Conservation District is a proud sponsor of the New Jersey State Envirothon. This annual competition culminates in one intense day where high school students test their knowledge of environmental topics through hands-on and interactive problem solving at five different stations. Winning teams move on to represent New Jersey in the North American Envirothon competition which is the largest high school environmental education competition in North America.

County-wide Projects

The Ocean County Soil Conservation District partners with many other organizations throughout the county and watershed to create a healthier community. Learn more about the many projects implemented by the District.

SHIP: Soil Health Improvement Project
Butterfly Garden at Jakes BranchThe Soil Health Improvement Project consists of 5 native plant demonstration gardens, hosted by Jakes Branch County Park, that offer homeowners an opportunity to see and learn about the many native plants available for sunny, shady, dry and wet landscapes in Ocean County. Learn more about this project and start creating your own native plant garden or landscape in your yard!

Outdoor Classrooms

Students planting an outdoor classroom

Students planting an outdoor classroom

The Soil District, along with various partners, has successfully designed, planted, and implemented over twenty-five different Outdoor Classrooms at schools throughout the Barnegat Bay Watershed.  These rain gardens give students and teachers the opportunity to have a change from the norm and get outside to learn about the environment in hands-on, exciting new ways.



Jersey-Friendly Yards

Jersey-Yards-Logo-ColorThe Ocean County Soil Conservation District, in partnership with NJDEP and Barnegat Bay Partnership, implemented 6 native plant demonstration gardens along the Metedeconk River in Brick and Point Pleasant. The gardens were planted with natives selected using the Jersey-Friendly Yards website, which was launched in the summer, 2015. Anyone can create a Jersey-Friendly Yard. Learn how to create a beautiful landscape that doesn’t harm the environment.

Educational Resources

Educational Resource Guide.

This comprehensive booklet was created originally by the Ocean County Soil Conservation District as a one-stop guide for all educational resources related to Barnegat Bay watershed education.  What began as a simple directory has grown into a compendium of resources and organizations offering numerous programs, publications, field trips, and watershed information that educators can incorporate into their lessons and activities.

S.O.S. Sustainable Opportunities through Soil

In 2012 the Ocean County Soil Conservation District partnered with the New Jersey Association of Conservation Districts and the Barnegat Bay Partnership to organize the Soil Health Conference:  “Sustainable Opportunities through Soil” hosted at Ocean County College in Toms River, NJ.  The main goals of this conference were to raise awareness of the importance of healthy soil in infrastructure as well as ignite conversation between a wide variety of professionals, ranging from lawn care specialists, to professors, to life-long soil scientists.  The conference was an enormous success.  Please find more information about the 2012 Soil Health Conference here.

Educational Resources:

Check out our Educational Resources Page for links to websites that are both fun and educational.


Ocean County Soil Conservation District
714 Lacey Road
Forked River, NJ 08731
(609) 971-7002