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Group Programs at the Pequest Trout Hatchery

The Division of Fish and Wildlife staff at the Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center is pleased to announce a year-round line of programming for schools and organized groups in grades pre-K - 12. All programs are designed to support most major subject areas while teaching about wildlife and the environment, and can be used to meet state standards for core course proficiencies as well as scout badge requirements.

Hikes focusing on wildlife habitat and natural resources, sessions on river ecology, fishing, biology and many other programs are offered. All programs are geared to be fun, hands-on learning experiences that participants are sure to enjoy.

For program details, see the descriptions below.

Educational game
Students participating in a Fish Fun Games Program
Guidelines for Booking a Program

Programs must be:

  • Booked at least one month in advance
  • Scheduled between the hours of 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
  • For groups between 10 - 25 students; requests for groups of up to 50 are welcome for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only.
  • If requesting multiple program dates, please complete one form for each date.
  • A program deposit of $50 is required, and must be received within one month after receiving confirmation of the program date.
On the Day of Your Program
  • Programs are taught outside; dress for the weather.
  • You may have lunch at our outdoor picnic areas, but you must take your garbage with you.
  • Wear long pants, appropriate footwear, hats and sunglasses to protect you from the elements.
  • Group leaders and chaperones are expected to assist students with activities.
Groups Are Expected To:
  • Notify us in advance of any special needs or considerations for your group.
  • Arrive on time. Lateness will not be tolerated. Please contact us if delayed while en route.
  • Arrive with at least the minimum number of students, but no more than the number scheduled for.
  • Behave. Group leaders are responsible for maintaining discipline.
  • Treat our equipment respectfully, as though it is your own.
  • Cancel with a minimum of 48 hours notice if you need to do so.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. How far in advance can I schedule my group program?
A. Program scheduling begins on January 2 of the year in which you wish to bring a group.

Q. Can I schedule a program for my Scouts?
A. Any organized group can schedule a program as long as they meet the program requirements listed above.

Q. Do you accommodate special needs groups, or individuals with a disability in a group?
A. Yes, provided you notify us at the time a program is scheduled so we can provide the best possible experience for your group.

Q. Can I schedule my group for multiple days?
A. Groups are welcome to visit the facility no more than twice a year.

Q. If I schedule my group for multiple days, do I need multiple deposits?
A. Your deposit check will be held until all your programs are complete. If you fail to meet our expectations on one of your scheduled days, and we keep your deposit check, a new check will need to be sent for the remaining programs. If you repeatedly fail to meet the rules and guidelines expected of your group, you might not be allowed to return for future programs.

Q. Can I pay with a credit card?
A. No. We are only able to take checks.

Q. Can I send a personal check?
A. Personal checks are welcome, as long as you realize that the check may be kept for failure to comply with program rules and guidelines.

Q. How do I get my deposit back?
A. Your deposit will be returned via mail as long as Pequest rules and guidelines are adhered to. If your deposit is kept for failure to comply with Pequest rules and guidelines, a letter will be sent to you explaining the reasons for doing so.

Q. Can you come to our site for a program?
A. Programs are provided at the Pequest site only.


Title Description Grades Length Times Offered
Trout Habitat Exploration Hike along the Pequest River looking at the river ecology and explore what makes the river a good home for trout. We will take a hands-on look at shelter, oxygen, water temperature, food and space in the river. 5 - 12 2 hours April - October
Fishing Basics Learn the basics of fishing – equipment set-up, knot tying, casting and more. This hands-on session will give you all the basics that you need to go fishing on your own. Presentation will be followed by an actual fishing experience at the Education Pond. 3 - 12 2 hours April - October
Life Cycle of A Hatchery Trout Take a tour of the Pequest Trout Hatchery where more than 700,000 trout are raised each year! The program includes a session on identification and biology, a 15-minute video showing behind-the- scenes operations at the facility and will end with a guided tour of the hatchery grounds. K - 12 2 hours Year-round
Fish Fun Games Learn about the habits of fish through a variety of hands-on games that will educate you about fish, their biology, their habits and some of the challenges that they face in rivers and ponds. K - 12 2 hours Year-round
Amphibian Amble Get your feet wet as we explore the differences between reptiles and amphibians at our pond. We will discuss the life cycles of amphibians, listen to their calls and discuss seasonal changes in these animals. We’ll even hop into our pond to round up some amphibians for a closer look. 2 - 12 2 hours Currently Not Available
Sensory Safari A hands-on introduction to the wildlife of New Jersey. Learn about these amazing animals and how to identify them through their skulls, hides, tracks and some of their vocalizations. K - 12 2 hours Year-round
Owls of New Jersey Join us as we discuss the nine species of owls that can be found in the Garden State. We’ll talk about their habitat requirements and life cycles, learn how to identify them by sight and sound and take a hike to look at their habitat. We’ll also look at ways to attract owls to your yard. Groups in 2nd grade and above can extend the program by dissecting an owl pellet and reassembling its last dinner to take home. K - 12 2 hours Currently Not Available
Aquatic Insect Safari Discover the differences between insects and bugs in this hands-on, get your feet wet program. We’ll hop into the river and dig up some insects to get a better look at what’s living in the river. We will also learn how scientists use these insects (and other organisms) to determine the health of a stream. 2 - 12 2 hours April – July
Hydrology Basics Hydrology is the study of water – its distribution and water cycle. Understanding the science of hydrology will give us a better insight into trout habitat and how humans can affect waterways. We’ll look at watersheds, water cycles and human impacts on our waters. K - 12 2 hours Year-round
Early Learner Reader Program Children have an innate interest in wildlife and the natural world around them. This reading program jump-starts their imagination about diverse animals and habitats using stories, songs and hands-on craft activities. Students will observe the natural world in a short walk at Pequest and learn about a specific wildlife species. 3 – 5 years 1.5 hours Year-round
Habitat Hike Students will visit three distinct habitats on the Pequest Wildlife Management Area. In this Session students will distinguish between three distinct habitats (upland field, forest and wetland), recognize that wildlife is dependent on the vegetation and define concepts such as succession, biodiversity, carrying capacity and species richness. 4 – 12 2 - 3 hours Year-round


To schedule a trip for your group use the Pequest Group Program Registration Form.

Questions? E-mail the program coordinator with any questions.

Public programs are also offered at Pequest.

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Department of Environmental Protection
P.O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: March 10, 2014