Programs for Schools

School programs are offered Tuesday through Saturday, year-round unless otherwise noted. To register your school or group for a field trip, call the Education Department at 609-737-7592 or email

Full-Day and Multi-Day NGSS Programs                                     

Grades 6-9

The Watershed works in partnership with New Jersey schools to improve science education by helping them implement a new strategy called the “Next Generation Science Standards” (NGSS). NGSS places a greater emphasis on scientific inquiry and hands-on learning, and much less focus on simply memorizing facts and terms. The new standards entail the teaching of eight scientific “practices,” which include asking questions and defining problems, planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, engaging in argument from evidence, designing solutions and communicating information.

Discover the Season                                      

Pre-K -Grade 2                   1.5-3hrs.

Through the Discover programs, youngsters will explore the magic each season brings to field and forest.  Among the many topics are the colors of fall, migration, hibernation, the rebirth of spring, and the plentitudes of summer.  Students will create a large classroom mural after their discovery walk. Available year-round.


Animals and Habitats                                   

Pre-K  – Grade 12                              1.5 – 3 hrs.

Exploring the Watershed Reserve, students will examine different habitats and discover evidence of a variety of animals.  Students will investigate how animals meet their basic needs including where they live and what they eat.  Students will also learn how to identify animal tracks and others signs left by local wildlife.  Available year-round.

How Clean is your Stream?

Grades 5 – 12                                      3.5 – 5 hrs.

Students will examine stream life and discuss relationships between the various inhabitants of this world as well as the effect of humans upon their environment.  Emphasis is on determining the environmental health through visual assessment, chemical testing and biological monitoring.  Students will also discuss various conservation measures.  Available mid-April to early October.


Downstream – An Outdoor Watershed Game

Grades 5 – 12                      1 hr., can be repeated once

Let our Teacher-Naturalists come to your school! This play oriented, outdoor activity illuminates various factors that affect water quality as a stream moves through the natural human environment.  After an introduction, students will roll a giant die and then travel downstream via one of three waterways (rural, suburban, and urban).  As they flow through the landscape they will encounter natural and human elements that alter their water quality.  The action concludes with all participants flowing into the same lake.  Students will examine how the landscape influences the quality of water and will also discuss/explore strategies for maintaining/improving water quality.  Available year-round, requires large open area (inside or outside).


Meet the Critters

Pre-K  – Grade 1                                1 hr.

A nature discover program for our youngest students.  Children will ‘meet’ the animals in our Discovery Room and use their senses to learn more about nature.  Weather permitting; a short nature hike may be included.  A small collection of natural items and a handout to set up a touch table in the classroom will be given to the teacher.  Classes may bring their picnic blanket and snacks to picnic outside.  Available year-round.


Programs that include a visit to the Kate Gorrie Butterfly House


Beautiful Butterflies

Grades 1 – 8                                        2-3hrs.


Butterfly Magic

Pre-K  – K                                              1 hr.

Students will learn the life cycle of the butterfly as well as the various behaviors of butterflies.  They will learn to identify the different stages of life and observe butterflies in the butterfly house.  Secondary students will use sweep nets to explore insect life on the Reserve.  Available May through September only.


Monarchs and Migration

Grades 1-8                                          2.5 hrs.

Students will learn about migration and why animals migrate.  They will learn about the migrations routes of the Monarch butterfly, as well as Monarch conservation efforts.  Available in September only.

Exploring a Pond

Grades 1 – 12                                      2.5 – 4 hrs.

Using a variety of tools, students will learn about life in and around a pond.  Relationships between the various inhabitants and the human effect on aquatic habitats will be explored.  Microscope usage is available for students in grades 5 and older.  Available mid-April through early October.


Insect Safari

K – Grade 12                                       2-3 hrs.

Using nets and bug boxes, students will discover a vast array of insect life, learning how to find and identify them, and observing a variety of lifestyles and adaptations.  Secondary students will learn about human attempts to control insect populations and the effects of those efforts upon the environment.  Available mid-May through early October.


Fun with Trees

K – Grade 6                                          2.5 – 3 hrs.

Children will be introduced to a variety of trees during an exploratory walk; learning how they provide food and shelter in the forest.  Through play-oriented activities, youngsters will also learn how trees grow.  Using forestry tools, upper elementary students will age and measure trees.  During the month of February the focus shifts toward the maple-sugaring season.  Students will visit sugar maples, learn how to make maple syrup, and enjoy some of the finished product.  Available year-round, maple sugaring available only in February.


The Food Web

Grade 1 – 6                                          2.5 – 3 hrs.

Children will discover the flow of energy from the sun through the food web.  Examples of food chains will be examined.  Predator and prey relationships will be explored through play oriented activities and an interpretive hike.  Available year-round.


Native American Lifestyles

Grades 4 – 6                                        4 hrs.

Throughout the program, students will learn how early Native Americans utilized the natural resources in this area of New Jersey.  A silent hike begins the program yielding many discoveries in the field and forest.  Students will learn about the edible and medicinal uses of plants, as well as the many ways Native people used animals.  A large, classroom mural will be created from the information gathered on the ecology hike.  In addition, students will be engaged in stories and games from various tribes throughout the country.  Available year-round.

Arranging your class visit to the Watershed Center is as easy as 1…2…3…


1. Choose one of the program topics.

2. Have several dates in mind to book your class visit.  Please try to arrange your trip as early in the school year as possible to get your desired date(s) and to avoid disappointment.  We conduct field trips and visit classrooms Tuesday through Friday, year-round.

3. Contact the Education Department, 609-737-7592 or, to finalize your visit.


Classes are invited to stay for lunch/snack after their program.  The Watershed Reserve is a ‘carry in/carry out’ facility as well as a smoke-free campus.  The Watershed Center is handicap-accessible and has interactive learning displays, live animals and a Nature Gift Shop.  Bus parking is available.

In-Class Presentations (also available as a field trip)


Nature’s Winter World

Pre-K –  Grade 1                                0.5 – 1hr

Learn about the lives of animals in winter through stories and puppets.  Discover how different animals survive the challenges of winter by meeting a variety of creatures including a groundhog, a skunk, a bird, and an insect (all puppets) as well as a live turtle.  Available December through February only.


Reptiles are Fun

Pre-K – Grade 2                                  0.5 – 1hr.

Children are introduced to reptiles through a story and a lesson about how they live and survive in the wild.  This includes a visit by some live reptiles.  Available December through February only.

Environmental Education Program and Trip Fees for 2016/17 school year:


Up to 15 students                            $100 program fee plus $30 per hour

16-30 students                                 $100 program fee plus $60 per hour

31-45 students                                 $100 program fee plus $90 per hour

46-60 students                                 $100 program fee plus $120 per hour


Fee for In-class presentation (Nature’s Winter World and Reptiles are Fun):

$150 for first hour (1 hour minimum), $75 for each additional hour


Fee for Downstream:

$350 for first session

$150 for additional session on same day at same location


Payment is expected in full on the day of your visit, unless other arrangements have been made.  Payment accepted in CASH, check or credit card.  Purchase orders also accepted.