Wednesday, April 22, 2020 from 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
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Lighthouse Center for Natural Resource Education
Entrance is on the corner of 7th St. and Navajo Dr.
Waretown, NJ 08758

Driving Directions 


Becky Laboy 
Ocean County Soil Conservation District 
609-971-7002 ext.114 

23rd Annual Barnegat Bay 

Environmental Educators Roundtable 

Please join us for our 23rd Annual Barnegat Bay Environmental Educators Roundtable, as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day! We are once again holding our event at the beautiful Lighthouse Center for Natural Resource Education in Waretown. This year's workshops are centered around the theme "Happy Earth Day for the Next Generation - Full STEAM Ahead". Programs highlight the importance of natural resources within the local ecosystem through engaging, hands-on STEAM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) activities. Each lesson will be aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards

The goal of the Roundtable is to provide educators with ideas and lesson plans that offer meaningful ways for instilling a sense of place in their students, and build upon existing curricula by making it locally relevant. Educators will learn teaching techniques and be inspired by hands-on activities that can be incorporated into formal lesson plans, or into "talks and walks" at nature centers or informal educational facilities. The Keynote presentation is meant to inspire stewardship and embrace the ideology that each of us can make a difference in the health of our planet and the education of our children. Senior Pollinator Conservation Specialist, Kelly Gill of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, will share pollinator conservation efforts that can be embraced by education professionals, students and community members. 

The cost of this event is $25 per person, or $15 for college students with a current student ID. Registered participants will be able to attend either one 2-hour workshop OR choose two 1-hour workshops from a variety of topics listed below. After reading through the descriptions, go to the Registration Form (Click 'Register Now!') and make your selection. Registration is on a first-come-first-served basis, so please register early to ensure availability of your favorite programs! The registration deadline is April 5, 2020. Professional Development certificates will be provided.

2 Hour Workshop (4:30-6:30)

A. Field Trip to the Pygmy Pine Forest: Fire Ecology, Impacts and Evolution guided by Brian Vernachio of Wells Mills County ParkJoin naturalist and high school science teacher, Brian Vernachio, on a field trip to Warren Grove to explore the Pygmy Pine Forest. This globally rare forest in the Pine Barrens of south Jersey contains one of the largest populations of pitch pine trees that attain a height of only 4-5 ft at maturity, compared with the pitch pine trees growing outside the forest which grow to be over 40 ft tall. Thousands of years of fire regimes in this sensitve area have shaped the landscape and are believed to be partly responsible for the stunted growth of the pitch pine trees in the Pygmy Pine Forest. Learn more about fire ecology in the Pines and discover other unique fire-dependent plants in this speical ecosystem within the Warren Grove Recreation Area. **A pre-arranged van will transport you from the Lighthouse Center to Warren Grove and back again. Seating is limited, register early. (Please dress appropriately for outdoor learning.Wear sturdy shoes and dress in layers, as it can be windy and chilly in the Pygmy Pine Forest. Be prepared to walk short distances on sandy, uneven terrain. This trip is not ADA accessible.)

1 Hour Workshops Offered During Session One (4:30-5:30)

1B. Soil Science - Inside and Out  presented by Rob Tunstead and Fred Schoenagel III, Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS).  Soil is the foundation of all life on earth. Its chemical, physical and biological processes support entire ecosystems. Gain new ideas for how to teach soil science to your students through hands-on indoor and outdoor soil activities, as well as using technological tools for the classroom including the Web Soil Survey. Bring your laptop or smart phone if you have one. Lesson content appropriate for middle and high school classrooms, but can be adapted to suit all grade levels. (Dress for outdoor learning. Sturdy shoes encouraged. We will be exploring soils within the local landscape.)  

1C. Have Seeds, Will Travel presented by Jenn Bulava, Naturalist with Burlington County ParksAll living things have a system for reproducing and a strategy for dispersing their offspring. By observing, collecting and classifying seeds, students are introduced to one aspect of a plant's reproductive system. Weather permitting, we will take a walk to look for seeds and sort out which ones travel by wind, water or animals. You will be introduced to ways this lesson can be modified to suit grades K-8. (Dress for outdoor learning. Sturdy shoes encouraged. We will be walking a 1/4 mile nature trail through forest and fields.)

1D. Randomizing Sampling - Minimizing Bias through Experimental Design and Collection presented by Anne Tokazewski, Professor, Rowan College at Burlington County and Barnegat Bay Volunteer Master Naturalist. Scientific investigations are an important component, process and outcome of student learning in the science classroom. We will examine techniques for minimizing bias in samling using native species such as Diamondback Terrapins. Participants will have the opportunity to try hands-on methods for randomizing sample collection that can be used in both the classroom and field settings. Techniques are modeled at a middle and high school level, but can be modified for all grade levels. 

1 Hour Workshops Offered During Session Two (5:40-6:40)

2E. Magnifying Plastics  presented by Rosemary Higgins and Diane Burich of NJ Sea Grant Consortium.  Plastics are ubiquitous and persistent. Learn how microplastics are magnified in our marine environment. Through hands-on demonstrations, interactive activities, and fun games, you'll discover how microplastics have entered our coastal ecosystems, affect the marine food chain, and suggest mitigation techniques for the future. Applicable for grades 2-12.

2F. Did the Leni Lenape Use STEM?  presented by Pat Heaney, Senior Educator with The Watershed InstituteNative Americans and Engineering? Learn how we have sucessfully combined a social studies lesson with science and engineering practices. Collaborate to solve problems using primitive technologies. In small groups, students will use critical thinking and the engineering design process to produce tools and household objects with supplies the Lenape had on hand. Join us for this program that combines group work, engineering and social studies. Modeled for elementary grades, but the lesson is adaptable for all learners. 

2G. Prescription Strength Nature: How Nature Improves Your Mental Health presented by Linda Turi, Ph.D., Psychologist and Barnegat Bay Volunteer Master Naturalist. Discover the many ways that nature impacts the physiology of our nervous system as well as our subjective feelings of calm and well-being. Gain an understanding of both the passive and active mechanisms of nature's benefits and learn how to harness them for you and your students by participating in a passive indoor nature "experiment" and an active outdoor exercise in mindfulness/forest bathing (shinrin-yoku). We will also discuss the role that mental health played in the creation of our National Park System. Appropriate for all learners. (Dress for outdoor learning. We will utilize the grounds within the vicinity of the Lighthouse Center.)

Keynote: Kelly Gill of The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation presents:

"Pollinators & Beneficial Insects: Conservation Efforts for Educators" 

Insects are vital to the health and function of our ecosystem. They contribute to ecological services such as pollination, biological pest suppression, nutrient cycling, and more. This group of animals are a critical foundation for the food chain and Earth's overall biodiversity. Join Kelly Gill from the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation to learn about the importance of insects (with STEAM examples); the status of native pollinators, basic pollinator biology, and habitat needs; and what you can do to support conservation of pollinators, beneficial insects and their habitats in your landscape.

Kelly Gill is the Senior Pollinator Conservation Specialist for the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation and a Partner Biologist with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Region. She provides technical support to NRCS and landowners for implementing Farm Bill practices to conserve pollinators and beneficial insects. This technical support includes planning and installing pollinator habitat on farms, community and urban gardens, and natural areas. Kelly also works with agency staff and research partners on the development of technical guidelines, outreach materials, and training programs to guide pollinator conservation efforts. Kelly has a Master's Degree in Entomology and wide-ranging experience in habitat restoration for pollinators and other widlife.