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Environmental Education Center to Hold Spring and Summer Programs for Tots Through Teens

Programs to be designed for all ages of kids would provide opportunities for education and adventure.

Somerset County Environmental Education Center to hold afternoon "Tree House Gang" program for ages 3 to 5:

The Naturalists of the Environmental Education Center in Basking Ridge will in April hold an afternoon program for children ages 3 to 5, the Tree House Gang, that is designed to be both entertaining and education, the Somerset County Park Commission announced.

The Tree House Gang, scheduled to run four consecutive Mondays beginning April 4, will introduce children to science and nature through an enhanced learning program incorporating outdoor hikes, hands-on activities, interaction with live animals, and crafts, according to a news release from the park commission.

The classes will take place from 12:45 to 3:15 p.m. at the at 190 Lord Stirling Road in Basking Ridge. The afternoon classes run from 12:45 to 3:15 p.m., on four consecutive Mondays; April 4, 11, 18, 25. Each session features a different theme. A snack will be provided during all sessions. Fee is $65 per person. For information and registration log onto the parks commission website  or call 908-766-2489. Information on this event and other Somerset County Park Commission activities may be found online at the county parks commission website. 

Environmental Education Center will again offer "Xtreme Adventures" for teens this summer:

The Somerset County Park Commission's Environmental Education Center has again scheduled its action-filled summer program series for teens age 13 to 15, “Xtreme Adventure.” As in past summers, the activities are a chance for young people to enjoy the great outdoors rather than sticking inside with video games and computers.

All adventures will begin at the 190 Lord Stirling Road in Basking Ridge. Teens can sign up for one or more events, to be led by the center's naturalists, on a series of exciting, educational, and enjoyable day trips, according to the park commission.

White Water Rafting, from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 12, will take adventurers west to the Lehigh River to meet a licensed white water rafting guide and a cruise down the rapids, a picnic, and a swim. The fee is $100 per person.

Waterfalls, from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 19, will take participants on a journey to explore various hiking trails that will lead to hidden waterfalls. The fee is $25 per person.

Rock Climb, scheduled for 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 26, will start with a journey to the Shawangunks, also known as “The Gunks”, in the Catskill Mountain Range to meet a licensed climbing guide and hike a short distance to the rock cliffs. Instruction on climbing, belaying, and repelling will be included. Fee is $175 per person.

Kayak, scheduled for 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 2, will take adventurers south to the Wading River in the Pine Barrens to learn how to wet exit a kayak, discover proper kayak strokes, and finally put the skills to the test. The fee is  $50 per person.

Hike and Swim, scheduled for 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 9, will take travelers on a hike to a section of the most famous trail on the east coast, the Appalachian Trail, for a walk in the footsteps of numerous famous hikers. Teens will learn the proper technique for following trail markers before being rewarded with a cool, refreshing swim at Crater Lake, a glacial lake at the top of the Kittatinny Ridge located in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The fee is $25 per person.

The most extended trip, Sedge Island Overnight, is scheduled from 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 16 through 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 17. The trip will be a journey to an isolated section of New Jersey’s largest estuary, Barnegat Bay, for kayaking, snorkeling, fishing, birding, crabbing, star gazing, and more. The Sedge House is a rustic bunk room style lodge with Clivus toilets and no showers. Teens are sure to have a blast but are also expected to help with group chores. The fee is $200 per person.

Registration will begin on Saturday, May 14, 2011. Information and online registration may be found at at the parks commission website or at 908-766-2489.

Limited number of openings left for Eco-Explorers summer program for ages 7 to 9 at EEC:

There are a limited number of openings remaining for Eco-Explorers, a summer science and nature program for children ages 7 to 9, to be held at the Somerset County Park Commission's in Basking Ridge.

Eco-Explorers will offer a series of two-week sessions of day-long programming exploring nature by hiking, canoeing, games, crafts, and exciting day trips, all based at or from the EEC at 190 Lord Stirling Road.

Eco-Explorers runs for two-week sessions from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday. The fee for each two-week session is $720.

Scheduled sessiona are Monday, June 27 through Friday, July 8, “Swamp Scientists” (No program on Monday, July 4); Monday, July 11 through Friday, July 22, “E is for Earth”;  Monday, July 25 through Friday, August 5, “Creature Feature"; Monday, August 8 through Friday, August 19, “Forest Fanatics."

Registration may be done online at the parks commission website, in person at the Environmental Education Center, via mail, or by telephone if using a credit card at 908-766-2489. Enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Somerset County Park Commission Environmental Education Center is located within Lord Stirling Park, in the Basking Ridge section of Bernards Township, and is nestled within 425 acres of the western portion of the Great Swamp Basin of the Passaic River. A swamp vivarium, and an environmentally based library are located within the Center itself.

Blue “BOBO (Buy One – Bring One) Fridays” bins now are located at the Environmental Education Center and Lord Stirling Stable in Basking Ridge, as well as at the Somerset County Park Commission headquarters at North Branch Park in Bridgewater.  The public is invited to drop off canned food or personal-care items for donation to Somerset County food banks.

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