Pinelands Short Course

35th Annual Pinelands Short Course

Registration OPEN!

Event Date: SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 2024!

Hosted by Stockton University for the New Jersey Pinelands Commission 

Description: A day-long event featuring educational presentations that explore the unique history, ecology, and culture of the Pinelands.

Educators can earn 5 Professional Development Credits

Cancellation Policy: No refunds

Price: $60.00

Click below to register:
(Make sure to select Pinelands Short Course during registration) 
Reg Button

This year, check-in to receive a wristband and free gift!

We are asking participants to show thier wristband throughout the day. Make sure you have yours on to prevent missing a portion of the classes you select. 

Dragonflies & Damselflies of the Pinelands
Discover the fascinating lives of dragonflies and damselflies found within the NJ Pinelands. This PowerPoint presentation will focus on local species diversity, behaviors, life cycles, conservation, and the ecological significance of these beneficial insects. Jennifer Bulava, Senior Park Naturalist, Burlington County Parks   


Keeping Up with New Jersey’s Changing Climate
This presentation will focus on New Jersey’s climate and how it is quickly changing.  It will bring the issue of global climate variability and change home to New Jersey; past, present, and future. Dr. Robinson will focus on the Pinelands but will also discuss the rest of the state while exploring a wide range of events and issues. Dr. David A. Robinson, Distinguished Professor at Rutgers University and NJ State Climatologist


Snakes of the Pine Barrens
Snakes in the New Jersey Pine Barrens have adapted to the unique landscape by utilizing sandy soils for burrowing and large expanses of uplands and wetlands for overwintering. Numerous species reach the northern extent of their range in the Pine Barrens, and some occur in disjunct populations from elsewhere in the United States. Presenter Jeff Dragon will discuss the ecology and natural history of the 18 snake species that inhabit the region. Jeff Dragon, Research Scientist, New Jersey Pinelands Commission


Geologic History of the Pine Barrens - CLASS IS FULL!
NEW! The Pine Barrens has a long geologic history that began about 200 million years ago and continues to evolve today.  Attendees will learn about geologic time and the processes that resulted in the many geologic formations that make up the Atlantic Coastal Plain and the Pine Barrens that sit at the top of the Coastal Plain in NJ.  Attendees will also learn about the influence of global sea level changes and glacial ice ages that resulted in the current location and geology of the Pine Barrens. A natural follow-up to this course is the Soils of the Pines course. Murray Rosenberg, Professional Geologist 
 


Community Science Projects and the NJ Pine Barrens - from Forests to Frogs (Part 2)
The habitats and biodiversity of the NJ Pinelands offer many opportunities for community science initiatives. Join us for a presentation and discussion about some of these projects like fauna and flora surveys. Some are already underway and looking for volunteers, while others are still in the development stage. You will have the opportunity to help steer and participate in these projects. Ron Smith, Environmental Science Educator


New Jersey’s Fish Hawk: The Amazing Osprey - CLASS IS FULL!
Did you know that only 50 osprey nests were left in New Jersey in 1974? Today, ospreys are a common sight along the coast of New Jersey during the summer. Join us to learn about the amazing life history of ospreys, current monitoring techniques, and their amazing comeback. Ben Wurst, Senior Wildlife Biologist with Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ, will share his experience from working to manage this amazing species over the past 15+ years. Ben Wurst, Senior Wildlife Biologist, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ


Historic Maps of the Pinelands - CLASS IS FULL!
NEW! Whitesbog Preservation Trust’s newly digitized collection of Pinelands maps, blueprints and aerials tell the story of the changing land, including ecology, place names, modes of transportation and industry over the last 250 years. Explore with us as the audience adds to the story their knowledge of the region! Ever heard of Tibb’s Watering Place? We will look at old towns, forges, mills, railroads, rivers, roads, bogs, woodland, farms, landowners, location markers, surveys and more. We’ll also have copies of some maps for visitors to get an up-close look! Allison Pierson, Executive Director, Cindy Srnka, Archivist and Tom Besselman, Board Member, Whitesbog Preservation Trust


Seven Bridges Road: From the Past to the Future - CLASS IS FULL!
NEW! The essence of this presentation is focused on the natural and human history of Seven Bridges Road (formally Great Bay Boulevard) and includes the Sheepshead Meadows and the adjacent islands (Seven Islands, Story Island Complex).  It begins with the geology of the region and the earliest inhabitants, the Lenni-Lenape. It extends to the future with treatment of the effects of climate change and sea level rise. Kenneth W. Able


Exploring Aquatic Ecosystems in the Pinelands with Benthic Macroinvertebrates
NEW! Benthic macroinvertebrates are small, aquatic organisms that play a critical role in ecosystem health assessment and water quality monitoring. Together, we will discuss the significance of benthic macroinvertebrates in aquatic ecosystems, learn how to identify live specimens, and explore their role as bioindicators. This program is suitable for a wide range of audiences, from students to nature enthusiasts and environmental professionals, aiming to educate and inspire participants to become stewards of aquatic environments, as well as get them familiar with a mysterious group of organisms they might not see regularly. Bailey Sanders, Stewardship Specialist of the Barnegat Bay Partnership


The People of Double Trouble Village
NEW! Double Trouble Village is a former lumber town and cranberry farm. Join our historian as he discusses the people who founded the settlement during the colonial era, expanded the lumber industry during the 19th century, and transformed this tract of land into one of the largest cranberry operations in the state. Through slides and old family motion pictures, we’ll meet some of these property owners and the people who worked here. Andrew Anderson, New Jersey State Park Service


A Beginner’s Look at Lichens
Lichens are fascinating organisms, and there are many varieties in the Pinelands. Attendees will learn the basic structure and function of lichens and how to identify some commonly found genera. Weather permitting, attendees will venture outdoors to look for some specimens. Bring a magnifying lens or loupe if you have one. We’ll have some to share. Pat Heaney, Assistant Director of Education at The Watershed Institute


The Batona Trail – The Premier Walking Path of the Pinelands
Attendees will learn the history of the 53-mile Back to Nature Trail before the presenters provide a comprehensive overview and virtual hike through upland forest, cedar swamps, and long-abandoned cranberry bogs. The presentation will highlight historic Batsto Village, Tea Time Hill and Apple Pie Hill, the Drunken Hobbit Bridge, Pakim Pond and Ong’s Hat. Rosemarie Mason and Diane Mason, Outdoor Club of South Jersey

Stockton Campus Birding Walk - CLASS IS FULL!
Attendees will explore several trails on the Stockton University campus, while searching for bird species. Attendees should dress for the weather and be prepared to walk approximately 2 miles, at a stop-and-go pace. Binoculars are strongly recommended. Joshua Gant, Naturalist, Ocean County Department of Parks & Recreation 


Harrisville: 19th Century Life on the Wading River - CLASS IS FULL!
Participants will get a glimpse of what life was like along the Wading River in the Pine Barrens during the 1800’s. In this 3-hr excursion, participants will explore the ruins in and around the former town of Harrisville and surrounding area. Attendees should dress for the weather and be prepared to walk short distances. Bathroom facilities will be available in the form of very primitive outhouses. Bring a camera and drinking water. Jeff Larson, Pinelands Adventures Guide

The Legends and Lore from the Barrens to the Shore
Get ready to find yourself immersed in the world of New Jersey folklore! Weaving a story of some incredible men, women, and legendary cryptids, attendees will leave this presentation with a better appreciation for what makes this Garden State so, well … infamous! Lesley Schierenbeck, Historian


Keeping Up with New Jersey’s Changing Climate
This presentation will focus on New Jersey’s climate and how it is quickly changing.  It will bring the issue of global climate variability and change home to New Jersey; past, present, and future. Dr. Robinson will focus on the Pinelands but will also discuss the rest of the state while exploring a wide range of events and issues. Dr. David A. Robinson, Distinguished Professor at Rutgers University and NJ State Climatologist


Snakes of the Pine Barrens - CLASS IS FULL!
Snakes in the New Jersey Pine Barrens have adapted to the unique landscape by utilizing sandy soils for burrowing and large expanses of uplands and wetlands for overwintering. Numerous species reach the northern extent of their range in the Pine Barrens, and some occur in disjunct populations from elsewhere in the United States. Presenter Jeff Dragon will discuss the ecology and natural history of the 18 snake species that inhabit the region. Jeff Dragon, Research Scientist, New Jersey Pinelands Commission


The Lenape People and Colonists in Early South Jersey - CLASS IS FULL!
NEW! This program explores the different ways in which the Lenape people interacted with Swedish, Finnish, and English colonists in southern New Jersey. Leaders such as Mehocksett, Ockanickon, and Ojroqua negotiated with the Europeans, expecting to share the land and natural resources while protecting their sovereignty. Soderlund will draw on her books Lenape Country: Delaware Valley Society Before William Penn (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015) and Separate Paths: Lenapes and Colonists in West New Jersey (Rutgers University Press, 2022). Jean Soderlund, Professor of History Emeritus, Lehigh University


Community Science Projects and the NJ Pine Barrens - from Forests to Frogs (Part 2)
The habitats and biodiversity of the NJ Pinelands offer many opportunities for community science initiatives. Join us for a presentation and discussion about some of these projects like fauna and flora surveys. Some are already underway and looking for volunteers, while others are still in the development stage. You will have the opportunity to help steer and participate in these projects. Ron Smith, Environmental Science Educator


Cedarview Lodge at Wells Mills and the Musical Traditions of the Pines
NEW! Cedarview Lodge was the home of the Conrad/Oakley family.  The last family member with life rights to the cabin passed away in the fall of 2022.  Since then, Ocean County Parks has been working to nominate the site to the Register of History Places for New Jersey and the United States to enhance their efforts to preserve the structure.  The lodge is deeply rooted in the music and culture of the Pinelands, through folks like the Albert Brothers and Sam Hunt, who were known to spend a lot of time with the family there. Timothy G. Hart, Ocean County Historian, and family members.


The Still Family Story: Its Significance and Relevance to the History of South Jersey
This program will highlight the influence of the Still family on the culture and intellectual life of South Jersey over the years. The lives of illustrious family members, such as Dr. James Still (1812-1885), the "Black Doctor of the Pines," and William Still (1821-1902), author of The Underground Railroad, published in 1872, will be explored, as well as the lives of other less well-known family members. Efforts to preserve and restore the home and office of Dr. Still in Medford will also be discussed. Samuel Still is a direct descendant of Dr. James Still and William Still. He is also an avid historian, author, preservationist, and genealogist. Samuel Still III, Executive Director, Dr. James Still Historic Office Site


Exploring the Great Bay-Mullica River Estuary - CLASS IS FULL!
NEW! The Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve (JC NERR) is one of the 30 National Estuarine Research Reserves that were created to promote the responsible use and management of the nation's estuaries. This presentation will explore the beauty of the Great Bay-Mullica River estuary, the variety of habitats within it, and the importance of biodiversity and local economies. Kaitlin Gannon, Education Coordinator, Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve


Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) – What You Need to Know
NEW! Attendees will learn about the avian influenza disease, including how it can be prevented and monitored, along with its status nationwide. HPAI is a serious disease and requires rapid response because it is highly contagious and often fatal to chickens. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service works with its federal, state, local and industry partners to quickly mobilize a response to any HPAI findings. The goal is to quickly contain and eradicate the disease, protecting our poultry industry, and in turn, the American consumer. Anna Scesny, Wildlife Disease Biologist for USDA Wildlife Services NJ


The People of Double Trouble Village
NEW! Double Trouble Village is a former lumber town and cranberry farm. Join our historian as he discusses the people who founded the settlement during the colonial era, expanded the lumber industry during the 19th century, and transformed this tract of land into one of the largest cranberry operations in the state. Through slides and old family motion pictures, we’ll meet some of these property owners and the people who worked here. Andrew Anderson, New Jersey State Park Service


A Beginner’s Look at Lichens - CLASS IS FULL!
Lichens are fascinating organisms, and there are many varieties in the Pinelands. Attendees will learn the basic structure and function of lichens and how to identify some commonly found genera. Weather permitting, attendees will venture outdoors to look for some specimens. Bring a magnifying lens or loupe if you have one. We’ll have some to share. Pat Heaney, Assistant Director of Education at The Watershed Institute


Paddling in the Pines: An Introduction to Kayaking and Canoeing in the NJ Pine Barrens
NEW! Attendees will learn about the abundant opportunities for paddling the piney rivers! This presentation focuses on exploring the waterways of the Mullica and Great Egg Harbor River Watersheds and getting the most out of the experience. Attendees will learn where to find access points on the rivers from beginning to end, distance, time and about preparations. The presenter will also discuss the distinct conditions and features of the Pine Barrens waterways, how to interpret the local USGS water gauge data, navigation tools, and stewardship of ecological treasures that make these rivers unique. Monica Cahill, Operations Lead, Pinelands Adventures


Tunes & Tales of Pines
A multi-talented musician and educator from Tuckerton, NJ, Vaughn specializes in writing songs that cover the rich folklore and the history of the people and places of South Jersey. Valerie Vaughn, New Jersey’s Troubadour

Dragonflies & Damselflies of the Pinelands
Discover the fascinating lives of dragonflies and damselflies found within the NJ Pinelands. This PowerPoint presentation will focus on local species diversity, behaviors, life cycles, conservation, and the ecological significance of these beneficial insects. Jennifer Bulava, Senior Park Naturalist, Burlington County Parks                     


Time for Moths
NEW! Moths are found throughout New Jersey, performing crucial roles in varied habitats in the Pinelands and outer coastal plain year-round. Moths have amazing adaptations like camouflage and mimicry to elude predators. Moths can have a restricted range, migrate, or disperse on wide-ranging flights. Some resident species were not recorded in New Jersey prior to 1980 or later. This presentation will cover challenges currently facing moth populations and provide a review of native host plants that provide food and shelter. Ann-Marie Woods


Raptors of the Pines
This presentation will introduce attendees to the many raptors species that are regularly found in the Pinelands. The presenters will highlight keys to identifying each species and discuss their natural history. Live raptors will be present, and participants will be able to view them up-close. Educators, Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge


Weather in the Pinelands - CLASS IS FULL!
NEW! Weather in the Pinelands can simply be different than the rest of New Jersey. The sandy, “sugar soil,” its proximity to the ocean and dense vegetation make it unique. This program will look at the geography, climatology, wildfire threat and climate change of the Pinelands, with time left for questions at the end of the presentation. Joe Martucci, Meteorologist, The Press of Atlantic City


Cedarview Lodge at Wells Mills and the Musical Traditions of the Pines
NEW! Cedarview Lodge was the home of the Conrad/Oakley family.  The last family member with life rights to the cabin passed away in the fall of 2022.  Since then, Ocean County Parks has been working to nominate the site to the Register of History Places for New Jersey and the United States to enhance their efforts to preserve the structure.  The lodge is deeply rooted in the music and culture of the Pinelands, through folks like the Albert Brothers and Sam Hunt, who were known to spend a lot of time with the family there. Timothy G. Hart, Ocean County Historian, and family members.


The Still Family Story: Its Significance and Relevance to the History of South Jersey
This program will highlight the influence of the Still family on the culture and intellectual life of South Jersey over the years. The lives of illustrious family members, such as Dr. James Still (1812-1885), the "Black Doctor of the Pines," and William Still (1821-1902), author of The Underground Railroad, published in 1872, will be explored, as well as the lives of other less well-known family members. Efforts to preserve and restore the home and office of Dr. Still in Medford will also be discussed. Samuel Still is a direct descendant of Dr. James Still and William Still. He is also an avid historian, author, preservationist, and genealogist. Samuel Still III, Executive Director, Dr. James Still Historic Office Site


Soils of the Pines - CLASS IS FULL!
NEW! Together we will explore the signature soils of the Pinelands and learn about the foundation of this rich and diverse habitat. Through hands-on activities, we will determine the texture classification of several Pine Barrens soils and make ecological connections to their relationship with native plant species that define this unique ecosystem. Bring a laptop if you wish to toil along with the Web Soil Survey technology that will be introduced (not mandatory). Prepare to get your hands dirty during our hands-on activities. Becky Laboy, M.Ed., Education Outreach Specialist, Ocean County Soil Conservation District


Exploring Aquatic Ecosystems in the Pinelands with Benthic Macroinvertebrates
NEW! Benthic macroinvertebrates are small, aquatic organisms that play a critical role in ecosystem health assessment and water quality monitoring. Together, we will discuss the significance of benthic macroinvertebrates in aquatic ecosystems, learn how to identify live specimens, and explore their role as bioindicators. This program is suitable for a wide range of audiences, from students to nature enthusiasts and environmental professionals, aiming to educate and inspire participants to become stewards of aquatic environments, as well as get them familiar with a mysterious group of organisms they might not see regularly. Bailey Sanders, Stewardship Specialist of the Barnegat Bay Partnership


No Wild Rivers in South Jersey
The riverscapes of South Jersey resulted from the geologic and land use history. Delaware Valley rivers tend to have narrow, deep valleys made of fine -textured sediments, whereas South Jersey rivers tend to have wide, shallow valleys made of sand and gravel. Settlers used these rivers for many purposes depending on what part of the river was used. Lower sections were used for landings and for grazing cattle on coastal marshes. Middle segments were used for a host of mills and for farming operations. Upper portions were utilized for cranberry agriculture and to absorb runoff.  Dr. Claude Epstein, Professor Emeritus, Stockton University


The Richards Era at Batsto (1784-1876): Pine Barrens Industries in a Company Town
NEW! This program will focus on the story of the Richards Family’s period of ownership at Batsto (1784-1876). Detailing the nearly century-long transition from ironworks to glass factory to potential Pine Barrens ghost town, the presenter will highlight the challenges and changes to Batsto during the 18th and 19th centuries. Topics include the height and decline of New Jersey’s iron industry, the use of South Jersey’s abundant natural resources, and the continuing legacy of Batsto’s past as a company town. John Hebble, Historian, Batsto Village


The Batona Trail – The Premier Walking Path of the Pinelands
Attendees will learn the history of the 53-mile Back to Nature Trail before the presenters provide a comprehensive overview and virtual hike through upland forest, cedar swamps, and long-abandoned cranberry bogs. The presentation will highlight historic Batsto Village, Tea Time Hill and Apple Pie Hill, the Drunken Hobbit Bridge, Pakim Pond and Ong’s Hat. Rosemarie Mason and Diane Mason, Outdoor Club of South Jersey


Tap Roots, a Musical Presentation by Pat Seiler
Pat will perform live songs from his album, "Tap Roots,” which features guitar-driven, instrumental music that includes nature sounds recorded in the Pinelands. Pat Seiler, Musician

Stockton Campus Birding Walk - CLASS IS FULL!
Attendees will explore several trails on the Stockton University campus, while searching for bird species. Attendees should dress for the weather and be prepared to walk approximately 2 miles, at a stop-and-go pace. Binoculars are strongly recommended. Joshua Gant, Naturalist, Ocean County Department of Parks & Recreation


Harrisville: 19th Century Life on the Wading River - CLASS IS FULL!
Participants will get a glimpse of what life was like along the Wading River in the Pine Barrens during the 1800’s. In this 3-hr excursion, participants will explore the ruins in and around the former town of Harrisville and surrounding area. Attendees should dress for the weather and be prepared to walk short distances. Bathroom facilities will be available in the form of very primitive outhouses. Bring a camera and drinking water. Jeff Larson, Pinelands Adventures Guide

The Legends and Lore from the Barrens to the Shore
Get ready to find yourself immersed in the world of New Jersey folklore! Weaving a story of some incredible men, women, and legendary cryptids, attendees will leave this presentation with a better appreciation for what makes this Garden State so, well … infamous! Lesley Schierenbeck, Historian


Time for Moths
NEW! Moths are found throughout New Jersey, performing crucial roles in varied habitats in the Pinelands and outer coastal plain year-round. Moths have amazing adaptations like camouflage and mimicry to elude predators. Moths can have a restricted range, migrate, or disperse on wide-ranging flights. Some resident species were not recorded in New Jersey prior to 1980 or later. This presentation will cover challenges currently facing moth populations and provide a review of native host plants that provide food and shelter. Ann-Marie Woods


Raptors of the Pines
This presentation will introduce attendees to the many raptors species that are regularly found in the Pinelands. The presenters will highlight keys to identifying each species and discuss their natural history. Live raptors will be present, and participants will be able to view them up-close. Educators, Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge


Weather in the Pinelands - CLASS IS FULL!
NEW! Weather in the Pinelands can simply be different than the rest of New Jersey. The sandy, “sugar soil,” its proximity to the ocean and dense vegetation make it unique. This program will look at the geography, climatology, wildfire threat and climate change of the Pinelands, with time left for questions at the end of the presentation. Joe Martucci, Meteorologist, The Press of Atlantic City


Historic Maps of the Pinelands - CLASS IS FULL
NEW! Whitesbog Preservation Trust’s newly digitized collection of Pinelands maps, blueprints and aerials tell the story of the changing land, including ecology, place names, modes of transportation and industry over the last 250 years. Explore with us as the audience adds to the story their knowledge of the region! Ever heard of Tibb’s Watering Place? We will look at old towns, forges, mills, railroads, rivers, roads, bogs, woodland, farms, landowners, location markers, surveys and more. We’ll also have copies of some maps for visitors to get an up-close look! Allison Pierson, Executive Director, Cindy Srnka, Archivist and Tom Besselman, Board Member, Whitesbog Preservation Trust


No Wild Rivers in South Jersey
The riverscapes of South Jersey resulted from the geologic and land use history. Delaware Valley rivers tend to have narrow, deep valleys made of fine -textured sediments, whereas South Jersey rivers tend to have wide, shallow valleys made of sand and gravel. Settlers used these rivers for many purposes depending on what part of the river was used. Lower sections were used for landings and for grazing cattle on coastal marshes. Middle segments were used for a host of mills and for farming operations. Upper portions were utilized for cranberry agriculture and to absorb runoff.  Dr. Claude Epstein, Professor Emeritus, Stockton University


The Richards Era at Batsto (1784-1876): Pine Barrens Industries in a Company Town
NEW! This program will focus on the story of the Richards Family’s period of ownership at Batsto (1784-1876). Detailing the nearly century-long transition from ironworks to glass factory to potential Pine Barrens ghost town, the presenter will highlight the challenges and changes to Batsto during the 18th and 19th centuries. Topics include the height and decline of New Jersey’s iron industry, the use of South Jersey’s abundant natural resources, and the continuing legacy of Batsto’s past as a company town. John Hebble, Historian, Batsto Village


Paddling in the Pines: An Introduction to Kayaking and Canoeing in the NJ Pine Barrens - CLASS IS FULL!
NEW! Attendees will learn about the abundant opportunities for paddling the piney rivers! This presentation focuses on exploring the waterways of the Mullica and Great Egg Harbor River Watersheds and getting the most out of the experience. Attendees will learn where to find access points on the rivers from beginning to end, distance, time and about preparations. The presenter will also discuss the distinct conditions and features of the Pine Barrens waterways, how to interpret the local USGS water gauge data, navigation tools, and stewardship of ecological treasures that make these rivers unique. Monica Cahill, Operations Lead, Pinelands Adventures


Jackson Pines: Local Ocean County Folk Music, Past & Present
Jackson Pines is a local folk band that will play the music of Merce Ridgway Jr. and Sr., as well as original Pine Barrens folk songs. Instruments include guitar, harmonica, fiddle, and stand-up bass. Jackson Pines, Pine Barrens Folk Band

Visit our vendors and non-profits in the Hall of the Campus Center!

 

Click below to register:

(Make sure to select the Pinelands Short Course during registration)

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The 35th Annual Pinelands Short Course takes place at Stockton University:
101 Vera King Farris Dr
Galloway, NJ 08204
Check-In begins at 7:45 a.m. in the Grand Hall of the Campus Center

Check out Some Highlights from the Summer Short Course Here!

 

 

Summer Short Course Participants

 


Field Trip Groups

 


 

To receive updates regarding this event, please email info@pinelands.nj.gov


Pictures from the 30th Annual Pinelands Short Course

Seeing all my friends and learning about all the fantistic work and research that is happening with different organizations. The networking!
Participant
Participant
Pinelands Short Course
It was very informative, I like how you can do both a day trip and classes.
Participant
Participant
Pinelands Summer Short Course