Pinelands Summer Short Course

New Lisbon, N.J.– The seventh annual Pinelands Summer Short Course will feature 12 educational presentations and three guided field trips, including a kayak trip on the Mullica River.

Registration is now open for the event, which will be held at Stockton University’s Kramer Hall in downtown Hammonton from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, June 23, 2023. 

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

“From turtles and orchids to legends and lore, this year’s Summer Short Course includes a diverse lineup of presentations that will raise awareness and appreciation of the Pinelands,” said Susan R. Grogan, the Pinelands Commission Executive Director. 

“Public awareness of the New Jersey Pinelands is probably our best bet over the long term to preserve the precious cultural and environmental resources unique to the Pine Barrens,” said Stockton University Literature professor Thomas Kinsella, who will lead a presentation at the Short Course. “Stockton University is proud to partner with the Pinelands Commission to bring the Short Course to area residents.”

Educators can earn four professional development credits for attending the event. 

Classroom Programs at Kramer Hall

Pinelands Summer Short Course, Orchids
The seventh annual Pinelands Summer Short Course will feature a presentation entitled “Orchids of the Pinelands and Why the Smithsonian Is Interested.” A native pink lady’s slipper orchid is shown flowering in the Pinelands last May. Photo by Paul Leakan, Pinelands Commission.

Pinelands Flora and Fauna

This lively presentation includes sights and sounds while taking the audience on an insightful walk in the woods, familiarizing them with the flora and fauna of the New Jersey Pinelands. Presented by Joel Mott, Principal Public Programs Specialist, NJ Pinelands Commission.

Two Efforts to Preserve Pinelands History

This presentation will feature an overview of several Pinelands-related collections, preserved and available for research in Stockton’s Special Collections, including the Buzby’s General Store collection, the Evans and Wills Cranberry and Blueberry agriculture collection, the Estell-Bourgeois collection relating to 19th-century southern Atlantic County, and highlights from Budd Wilson’s donated Pinelands archaeology materials. Presented by Dr. Thomas Kinsella, Director of Stockton Special Collections & South Jersey Culture & History Center.

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! Presented by Lesley Schierenbeck, Folklife Director of Tuckerton Seaport.

Mary Treat: The Life and Works of a Pioneer Scientist in the Pinelands

The year 2023 marks 100 years since Mary Treat’s death. Her work in the New Jersey Pinelands and throughout the Atlantic Coastal Plain has been nearly forgotten, though she corresponded and shared flora and fauna studies with renowned 19th century scientists, including Charles Darwin. Attendees will learn how the presenter spent four years researching and writing Mary Treat: A Biography, to finally bring Treat’s life and scientific contributions to light. Presented by Deborah Boerner Ein, Writer and Editor.

Turtles of Southern New Jersey

This talk will cover the identification, natural history, and conservation of our local turtle species, with notes on turtle research conducted at The Wetlands Institute. New Jersey is home to 13 freshwater and terrestrial turtle species, and many of these can be found in the Pinelands. Presented by Brian Williamson, Research Scientist with The Wetlands Institute. 

Pinelands Summer Short Course, turtles
The seventh annual Pinelands Summer Short Course will feature a presentation on the Turtles of Southern New Jersey. This photo shows native red-bellied turtles basking at Batsto Lake in the New Jersey Pinelands. Photo by Paul Leakan, Pinelands Commission.

Orchids of the Pinelands and Why the Smithsonian is Interested

The Pinelands is home to more than two dozen species of wild orchids. Although some are flamboyant, many are small and inconspicuous. This presentation will employ the magic of macro-photography to provide close-up views of all of them. In addition, attendees will learn about the amazing life histories of some of these fascinating plants as well as why the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center has chosen the Pinelands as an important study site. Presented by Robert Sprague, President of the Native Orchid Conference.

Ocean and Coastal Acidification Teaching Modules

We all know about ocean acidification. But have you ever heard of coastal acidification? Did you know that there is a difference between the two? Learn about education modules that include new and existing resources about ocean and coastal acidification. This educational resource package was compiled by regional partners through the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Acidification Network (MACAN). We will review slides that explain the difference between ocean and coastal acidification. After that, we will do a quick review of the newly compiled modules from MACAN and then perform one of the lessons together from the modules. We will wrap up by sharing copies of the modules and other helpful resources. Presented by Kaitlin Gannon, Education Coordinator of the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Pine Barrens to Pinelands

Discover the Pinelands of today and learn how they evolved from the Pine Barrens of the past. Presented by Joel Mott, Principal Public Programs Specialist of the NJ Pinelands Commission.

Silviculture in the Pinelands

This presentation will take attendees on a visual and mental journey in learning about the proper terms and definitions associated with the science of silviculture (growth and cultivation of trees and forests) as well as common misconceptions.  Attendees will be introduced to silvicultural practices used within the Pinelands region, as well as the goals and objectives of each — regeneration, wildfire mitigation and/or fuel reduction, forest health, climate adaptation, plant and wildlife habitat. Attendees will learn to identify when and how such practices should be applied, and the best management practices for implementing such. Presented by William Zipse, Supervising Forester, NJ Forest Service and Courtney Willitts, Assistant Regional Forester, NJ Forest Service.

Modern Waste Systems Protect the Earth

This presentation will provide important details about landfill gas collection systems, leachate and how it is treated, and how residents can help these systems run smoothly and effectively by recycling the right way and taking small steps at home that collectively make a big impact. Presented by Alexis Demitroff, Public Education and Outreach Assistant of the Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA). 

Agriculture in the Pinelands

This presentation will provide a unique perspective on the cultivation of native Pine Barrens plants, while examining the development of cultural practices over the past 100 years. Attendees will also learn about the current challenges of farming, including how issues such as groundwater quality, soil health, climate change and invasive species affect the survival of these important agricultural industries. Peter Oudemans, Professor and Director, Rutgers University, Phillip E Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry Research and Extension.

Tap Roots

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

Half Day, Outdoor Field Trips 

Walk Through History on the 1808 Trail

This course will feature a guided hike along the same road the loggers of the 1700’s traveled when they timbered out the majestic cedar trees in Mordecai’s Swamp. The walk is approximately 5 miles or less over 13 footbridges and through the middle of an old-age swamp. Attendees should wear sturdy shoes (no sandals or flip flops) and bring water, a snack and bug repellant. Led by Rosemarie Mason, South Jersey Outdoor Club.

Participants will drive on their own to Batsto, where they will meet with the guide at the parking area in front of the Visitor Center.

Pinelands Summer Short Course, 1808 Trail
The seventh annual Pinelands Summer Short Course will feature a guided hike of the 1808 Trail in Wharton State Forest. Photo by Paul Leakan, Pinelands Commission.

Mullica River Paddle Exploration

Goshen Pond in the Mullica River is teeming with life in June. Professional guides will point out the amazing flora and fauna and provide insight into the unique ecology of the Pinelands during a short, guided kayak paddle on calm waters. Boats, life jackets, and transportation will be provided. Participants should bring water, sunscreen, bug repellent, and a dry bag for any items they need to protect/keep dry. Ages 12+. (Transportation is provided.) Guided by Jeff Larson and Allison Hartman, Pinelands Adventures.

A Walking Tour of Batsto Village

Batsto’s Historian will lead a walking tour of the Village. The tour will meet and conclude at the Wharton State Forest State Visitor Center at Batsto Village. Topics will include the notable people who lived in the village, and the ways in which humans interacted with the natural resources of the Pinelands through different eras of Batsto’s history. The tour will also include a stop at the blacksmith/wheelwright shop for a demonstration.

Participants will drive on their own to Batsto, where they will meet with the guide at the parking area in front of the Visitor Center.