Department of Environmental Protection

New Jersey Forest Service

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Group Programs at the Forest Resource Education Center

School groups visit the FREC to experience the forest through fun, hands-on activities and experiential learning.

Seeds to Trees
At the NJ Forest Nursery students experience the work involved in the collecting, sorting, processing, and germinating of seeds. The nursery produces more than 300,000 tree seedlings yearly. The group tours the greenhouse, nursery fields, and orchards. Acorn planting and a hayride may be included if seasonal timing and weather permit.

Sensory Awareness
This trail enhances perceptual skills and increases sensory awareness of our surrounding environment. A guide rope directs students to tactile signs and "talking trees" along the trail. A boardwalk leads from the upland portion of the trail through a hardwood swamp to the headwaters of the Toms River. Here students can sit and observe, reflect, and do creative drawing and writing.

Swamp Life
Grades 6-12
An investigative hike on the Swamp Life Trail introduces the fascinating forested wetlands. Students find swamp creatures, visit an informational kiosk with a "talking tree," and look for swamp clues such as snags, blown down trees, pond life, and vernal pools.

Changing Forest
Grades 6-12
This program focuses on change in forest composition over time, called succession. Along the trail the group sees evidence of wildfire and insect infestation and the effects of carefully planned prescribed burning and forest management techniques. Students also discover how pioneers of this area utilized the forest.

Fire Ecology
Grades 6-12
Students hike along the FireWise Trail and stop at several locations to identify evidence of wildfire, and observe fire management techniques including prescribed burning, fire buffers, and fire breaks. Learn the tower observer's job at the "fire tower" and how to be firewise.

Forest Discovery
Grades 3-8
During the hike students learn forest ecology, detect animal signs, and identify and use of a variety of tree species. Along the trail observe effects of competition, lightning, wind, and human activities on the health and growth of the forest. The group also stops at a scenic overlook of the Toms River, and learn about tree rings using a cross-section of a 225 year old tree called the Indian Oak.

Forest Products
Grades 3-12
Participants in this hands-on program learn about trees and shrubs used to make forest products, and may get an opportunity to touch, taste, and smell samples. Students also observe milling of sawlogs into lumber, growing shiitake mushrooms, bee pollination, and participate in making maple syrup at the sugar shack.

The FREC also provides programs for college classes, clubs, and adult groups.

Programs must be:

  • Booked in advance
  • Scheduled Monday–Friday
  • Between 9:30 am–2 pm
  • Groups between 10 to approximately 40 people per program requested.
  • Number of programs available is dependent on staff availability.
  • Schools with large numbers should plan on booking multiple days in smaller groups.
  • Groups must be of a specific age or grade level

On the day of your program, remember:

  • Programs are taught outside; dress for the weather
  • You may have lunch after the program, but you must take your trash with you.
  • Wear long pants and closed-toe shoes to protect from poison ivy and ticks.


Phone Number

495 Don Conner Blvd
Jackson, New Jersey 08527



Grounds Dawn - Dusk
Interpretive Center 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Map / Directions

GPS Coordinates
40.093047, -74.323132