Pinelands Summer Short Course

New Lisbon, N.J. The third annual Pinelands Summer Short Course will feature seven field trips and a day of educational programs that showcase the region’s history, ecology, culture and music.

Registration is now open for the event, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, July 18, at Stockton University’s Kramer Hall on 30 Front Street in Hammonton. Attendees should check in at Kramer Hall between 8 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. A free continental breakfast will be offered to attendees, beginning at 8 a.m.

The event is co-sponsored by the New Jersey Pinelands Commission and Stockton University.

“This year’s Pinelands Summer Short Course features an impressive lineup of classroom presentations and field trips ranging from blacksmithing to blueberries,” said Nancy Wittenberg, the Commission’s Executive Director. “Educating the public is a critical part of our mission to preserve, protect and enhance the Pinelands, because it heightens awareness and appreciation of the region and its resources.”

The Summer Short Course provides members of the community and summer visitors with a wonderful hands-on opportunity to learn more about our region’s history, culture and ecology, both in classes at Stockton’s Kramer Hall and during field trips to explore our natural beauty and historic sites,” said Stockton President Harvey Kesselman.

The event will feature the following programs:

  • Blacksmith Toby Kroll and Historian Alicia Bjornson of Batsto will lead a program that includes a live demonstration of blacksmithing techniques and a guided tour of the upper Batsto Village, where attendees will learn about recent renovations to the historic buildings onsite;

  • Naturalist John Volpa of Pinelands Adventures will accompany attendees for a beginner’s kayak trip at nearby Atsion Lake. Transportation, kayaks, paddles and life vests will be provided for all attendees;

  • Jen Bulava, Park Naturalist for Burlington County, will guide a hike of the Blue Trail at Batsto. Attendees will learn about native Pinelands plants and animals while walking the 1.8-mile trail, which traverses typical Pinelands habitat and offers views of Batsto Lake;

  • Attendees will get the full farm experience during a guided tour of the Atlantic Blueberry Company’s processing and packing plant on Weymouth Road in Hammonton. After the tour of the plant, attendees will board a labor bus that will transport them to the expansive fields to see and sample different varieties of blueberries;

  • Attendees will learn about plant identification, fire ecology and human use of local natural resources during a guided hike through an oak-pine upland area and a white cedar swamp wetland area near Hammonton Lake;Course participant

  • Historian Alicia Bjornson and Naturalist Gilbert Mika of Batsto will lead a program that includes a tour of the historic buildings at Batsto Village and the Annie M. Carter Nature Center, which houses numerous live animals such as turtles, fish and snakes;

  • Jim Sacco, Head Brewer at Vinyl Brewing Company, will guide a tour of the brewery in downtown Hammonton. After taking the short walk from Kramer Hall to Vinyl, attendees will learn about the brewing process, and they will have an opportunity to sample Vinyl’s beers. Participants must be 21 to sample the beers;

  • Shawn Grigus, Co-owner and Head Brewer of Tomfoolery Brewing and Jim Sacco of Vinyl Brewing Company (both of Hammonton) will deliver a classroom presentation on the local craft beer industry. Attendees will learn about why the industry is thriving and how the use of local ingredients such as blueberries and cranberries is helping to make breweries successful. Attendees will have an opportunity to sample beers by Tomfoolery. Participants must be 21 to sample the beers;

  • Joel Mott, Principal Public Programs Specialist with the Pinelands Commission, will deliver a classroom presentation that will take attendees on an insightful virtual walk in the woods, punctuated by the sights and sounds of the Pinelands. Mott will focus on the importance of water to the area while highlighting the region’s cultural, historic, and natural resources;

  • Environmental Educator Josh Grant will deliver a classroom presentation on the resident and transient “backyard” bird population in the Pinelands. Grant will discuss different types of feeders, food, common misconceptions and how to control pests;

  • William Zipse, Supervising Forester with the New Jersey Forest Fire Service, will deliver a classroom presentation highlighting the fundamentals of tree growth and tree identification. Participants will play games to learn about the life of a tree and how a stand of tree grows;

  • Bernard Isaacson, Assistant Regional Forester with the New Jersey Forest Service, will deliver a classroom presentation on ecological forestry;

  • Kristin Qualls, Director of Exhibitions and Collections at the Museum of American Glass in Millville, NJ, will deliver a classroom presentation focusing on the history of glassmaking in southern New Jersey, from its colonial origins to today’s contemporary art;

  • Steven Yergeau, an Environmental Management Agent with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension in Atlantic and Ocean counties, will deliver a classroom presentation highlighting the sources of water in the Pinelands, and he will suggest practices to conserve water in the home landscape;

  • Kaitlin Gannon, Education Coordinator for the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve, will deliver a classroom presentation that focuses on the terrestrial, wetland and aquatic habitats located in the Reserve, as well as current research, education and stewardship initiatives;

  • .... and Denizen Pine, a trio from Atlantic County, will play live music in Kramer Hall.

Space is limited, so it is critical for participants to register early, as the event may sell out.

Photo from the courseThe Pinelands Short Course is registered with the New Jersey Department of Education, and professional development credits are available to New Jersey teachers who attend. Registration is $60 per person.

For more information about the courses, please call (609) 894-7300, ext. 125. Full course descriptions are available on the Commission’s website:

To register online, please visit To register by phone, please call (609) 652-4227, Monday - Thursday, 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.

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Diane D’Amico 
Director of News and Media Relations
Stockton University
Galloway, N.J. 08205