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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 1, 2014

Contact:  Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795
Lawrence Ragonese (609) 292-2994
Bob Considine (609) 984-1795

DEP CELEBRATES 20th ANNUAL FALL FORESTRY FESTIVAL THIS SATURDAY
FREE EVENT FEATURES NATURE HIKES, CRAFTS AND DEMONSTRATIONS

(14/P108) TRENTON – The Department of Environmental Protection’s Forest Resource Education Center in Jackson this Saturday will host the 20th Fall Forestry Festival, a fun and educational experience that provides a wealth of ways for visitors of all ages to learn about trees and gain appreciation for the outdoors. The festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., rain or shine.

“This festival offers something for everyone, whether you’re a novice or an expert in trees and outdoors pursuits,” said DEP Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources Richard Boornazian. “This is the perfect outing to appreciate the changing of the seasons and the importance of trees and the great outdoors in all of our lives.”

“Whether you’re an avid birder, a member of a scouting organization, or eager to learn more about the outdoors, the activities at the Fall Forestry Festival help to stir passions and a greater understanding for our forests,” added State Forester Lynn Fleming.

Visitors will get the chance to meet Smokey Bear, take a hayride, or join one of the 13 hikes scheduled throughout the day. Professionals in the natural resource field will also be on hand to give tips on composting, beekeeping, invasive insects and diseases, maple sugaring, managing your backyard forest, and more.

Acorn planting, as well as pumpkin painting and birdhouse building are just a few of the hands-on experiences for children, teens, and parents to enjoy. The interpretive center will debut a new exhibit on how to landscape to protect homes from wildfires.

“When people live right on the edge of the forest, we have to consider the possibility of fire impacting homes,” said State Fire Warden Bill Edwards. “We will be providing information on  FireWise gardens, which is the practice of making smarter landscaping choices to best protect our homes from wildfires.”

In 1994, the Department of Environmental Protection’s Forest Resource Education Center in Jackson hosted the first Fall Forestry Festival, drawing attention to the work the center does in educating the public about forest stewardship — managing New Jersey's forest resources so that we have healthy trees and forests, clean air and water, and places to learn about and enjoy the outdoors.

“Twenty years after the first Fall Forestry Festival, people are more excited about learning about the forest than ever,” said retired DEP forester John Benton, who helped organize the first event. “This is the digital age, but there’s something about digging in the soil to cover an acorn and anticipating it becoming a towering oak one day. You can’t get that tactile connection to nature from your phone screen.”

Admission and parking are free. Food will be available for purchase. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and bring insect repellant.

For a full list of events and driving directions, visit: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/forest/fall_festival.html
 or call the Forest Resource Education Center at (732) 928-0987.

Many programs may fulfill requirements for scouting badges. Email the FREC to be added to the scout mailing list at forestrycenter@gmail.com

The Forest Resource Education Center, operated by the DEP's State Forestry Services, is committed to providing exceptional conservation education programs that promote benefits of trees and forest stewardship to all age groups at no cost. It is the sole public facility in NJ focused on forestry education.

The New Jersey Forest Tree Nursery, located on the same property, grows 650,000 seedlings yearly for reforestation efforts across the state.

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Last Updated: September 30, 2014