Lighthouse Camp for Natural Resource Education

Environmental Educators Roundtable

Save-the-Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2018, 3:00-7:30 pm, for our 21st Annual Environmental Educators Roundtable

Terry O'Leary and McDuffy Barrow, of the Forest Resource Education Center, teach a group of educators about bees at the 2010 Environmental Educators Roundtable.

Terry O’Leary and McDuffy Barrow, of the Forest Resource Education Center, teach a group of educators about bees at the 2010 Environmental Educators Roundtable.

The Ocean County Soil Conservation District has been effectively and successfully coordinating the Barnegat Bay Environmental Educators Roundtable since 1997. A primary task of the Steering Committee, a group representing nearly twenty area groups and agencies, is to assist local educators in enhancing the inclusion of Barnegat Bay watershed-specific information and materials into their lessons, activities and programs. The Barnegat Bay Environmental Educators Roundtable provides a mechanism for environmental educators to share resources and information related to the watershed. The enthusiasm instilled in teachers is carried back to their schools and colleagues, and helps to promote environmental education opportunities within the watershed. It is the perfect venue to provide teacher-training opportunities and continue the promotion of the Discovering Barnegat Bay activity guide. The program and itinerary for the Roundtable varies and improves each year, with additional partners and customized programs adding to the appeal for teachers to attend.

“Excellent workshops I will use in my own class and will share with other teachers in our school! Thank you!!”

The Roundtable has a proven success rate with Ocean County educators as indicated by the evaluation summaries from the past. Continued promotion of the Discovering Barnegat Bay activity guide, as well as the educational programs and opportunities available from all participating agencies, organizations and groups, allows a comprehensive approach to watershed education and provides teachers with a “one-stop-shopping” approach. It is well known that teachers are more likely to present and teach topics with which they are familiar and comfortable. The main goal and objective of the Annual Barnegat Bay Environmental Educators Roundtable is to provide this opportunity and to ultimately improve the health of the bay and its watershed.

Celebrating our 20th Annual Environmental Educators Roundtable

The Ocean County Soil Conservation District celebrated our 20th Annual Barnegat Bay Watershed Environmental Educators Roundtable on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at the Lighthouse Center for Natural Resource Education, Waretown, NJ. Doors opened at 3:00pm for networking, resource sharing and a delicious light dinner. Workshops began at 4:30pm. Our Keynote Speaker, Dr. John Wnek and his MATES students enlightened participants about the great they are doing to enhance Diamondback Terrapin habitat and remove derelict ghost crab traps from the Barnegat Bay, in an effort to reduce unnecessary terrapin fatalities.

Our 2017 workshops showcased lessons and activities from “Discovering Barnegat Bay!” – the OCSCD educator’s curriculum. All participating educators received a free curriculum guide containing 40 lessons based on soil, water, natural wonders, people and places, history and geography of the Barnegat Bay watershed.

2016: 19th Annual Environmental Educators Roundtable

The 2016, 19th Annual Environmental Educators Roundtable supported the theme “We All Need Trees”, a topic promoted by the NACD (National Association of Conservation Districts) for the 2016 nationwide Poster Contest. Workshops emphasized the importance of trees in the Barnegat Bay watershed and in our lives. Presenting organizations included the Forest Resource Education Center: “Tree ID Walk & Talk” and “Sounds From the Forest”, New Jersey State Forest Service: “Silviculture and Sustainable Forest Management”, NJ Sea Grant Consortium: “Weather, Climate, Trees and the Importance of Understanding Storm Surge”, New Jersey Pinelands Commission: “The NJ Pinelands – More Than Pine Trees”, Ocean County Parks & Recreation: “What Trees Lived Here Before My school Was Built?”, Kateri Environmental Center: “Tree Mysteries”, and Cedar Hollow Consulting, Naturally!: “EcoTour – Streaming the Rivers and Creeks of the Barnegat Bay Watershed”. Keynote Speaker, Karen Walzer of Barnegat Bay Partnership, introduced participants to Jersey-Friendly Yards, a new website designed for the home or school gardener, offering step-by-step support to create an environmentally friendly garden or landscape using native trees, shrubs and perennials.

2015: 18th Annual Environmental Educators Roundtable


Participants get “Sedimental About Beaches” with NJ Sea Grant Consortium

The 18th Annual Environmental Educators Roundtable celebrated the “International Year of Soils” by offering a variety of engaging workshops that allowed participants to dig a little deeper into the workings of soil. Keynote Speaker, Rob Tunstead of NRCS, shared his research that centers on mapping the soils on the bottom of the Barnegat Bay. Presenting organizations included Ocean County Parks & Recreation: “Guided Tour of the SHIP Gardens at Jakes Branch County Park” and “Shifting Sands”, Kateri Environmental Center: “What’s a Wetland?”, Cedar Hollow Consulting, Naturally!: “Touring the Pygmy Pine Forest”, NJ Sea Grant Consortium: “Sedimental About Beaches”, and NRCS: “Get to Know Your Soil”.

nj-sea-grant-consortium-rose-higgins-and-diana-burich ocscd-improve-your-soil-health-display-1 teachers-in-the-dining-hall-7-copy oc-composting-display-2-copy

2013: 16th Annual Environmental Educators Roundtable

Heide Winzinger, an NJ born folk singer, performs at the Roundtable.

Heide Winzinger, an NJ born folk singer, performs at the Roundtable.

The 2013, 16th Annual Environmental Educators Roundtable was hosted on April 24, 2013 by the Ocean County Soil Conservation District.  As with previous years, the 2013 Roundtable included a variety of hands-on workshops where teachers gained free valuable activities and knowledge to bring back into their classrooms. In addition to the workshops, participants had access to free resources and the opportunity to take home educational door prizes.

The 2013 Roundtable hosted fun and creative workshops along with a great perofrmance from NJ folk singer Heide Winzinger. For more information about Heide Winzinger, please click on the following link:

Please also explore some of the presentations from this year’s workshops, along with information about presenters:

Terry O’Leary of Cedar Hollow and Bob Birdsall of Birsall Nature Photography presented a “Virtual tour of the Great Bay Blvd. Peninsula in Tuckerton, NJ“. This tour explored diverse habitats as well as the rich history of the land along this peninsula.

Birdsall Nature Photography

Joanna Marino and Danielle Donkersloot of the NJ AmeriCorps Watershed Ambassador Program hosted a hands-on workshop, “Volunteer Water Monitoring Training – Collecting Real Data to Protect our Rivers and Streams“, training teachers how to become a Stream Monitor. This workshop gave teachers the skills to identify living creatures in NJ’s freshwater streams, as well as determine the health of a stream by simply looking at it. Now teachers can bring their classes into the field and have their students become hands on scientists!

NJ AmeriCorps Watershed Ambassador Program

John Wnek, from the M.A.T.E.S. Academy in Manahawkin, NJ hosted a workshop called “Lessons from a Storm: the Effects of Sandy and How to Incorporate Storm Related Lessons in the Classroom” which gave teachers new perspective on how to include topics such as Superstorm Sandy in their lessons. Please click here to download a PDF of Dr. Wnek’s presentation.

Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science

Joel Mott of the NJ Pinelands Commission presented “Pinelands Overview: a Synopsis of New Jersey’s Pinelands”, a workshop to designed to give teachers the impression that they are taking a hike through the Pinelands. This presentation gave insight to some of the native vegetation, secret locations, and the history of the Pines. Teachers who attended this presentation gained the skills to not only teach about the Pinelands, but also to take their classes outside and use their investigative skills to identify new plants and animals.

New Jersey Pinelands Commission

Claire Antonucci and Diana Burich of the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium hosted a fun, hands on workshop “Understanding Sea Level Rise and How It Will Affect New Jersey’s Shorelines” which explored different techniques for teaching sea level rise in a classroom of all ages. Teachers not only learned the connection between sea level rise and climate change, but learned exciting new hands on activities to help them convey these messages to their students. Please click here for a PDF copy of their exciting presentation.

New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium

Becky Laboy of Island Beach State Park hosted “Shells on the Shore of Island Beach State Park” which took a look at how shells are made, who lives in shells, and why they are on the beach.

Island Beach State Park

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