Wednesday, April 27, 2022 from 2:30 PM to 8:30 PM EDT
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Jakes Branch County Park 1100 Double Trouble Road, Beachwood, NJ 08722  

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Becky Laboy 
Ocean County Soil Conservation District 

25th Annual Barnegat Bay 

Environmental Educators Roundtable 

The Ocean County Soil Conservation District is excited to announce the 25th Anniversary of the Barnegat Bay Environmental Educators Roundtable! After 2 years of providing webinars through a virtual Roundtable, we will be hosting an outdoor, in-person event this year. The Roundtable will be held on Wednesday, April 27, from 2:30-8:30pm. In collaboration with Ocean County Parks and Recreation, this year's Roundtable will take place at Jakes Branch County Park. Our theme this year is “Our Roots Run Deep! Celebrating 25 Years of Local Connections, Culture and Conservation”. Programs highlight the importance of soil as the foundation of our natural ecosystems in the Barnegat Bay watershed. All programs are hands-on, interactive and take place predominantly outdoors. There are no Powerpoints!  

The goal of the Roundtable is to provide educators with ideas and lesson plans that offer meaningful ways to instill 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, informal educational facilities or at your own school. Our Keynote is meant to inspire stewardship and embrace the ideology that each of us can make a difference in the health of our soil - and by extension, the health of our planet and the education of our children. Under a big tent we will be showing the film "Kiss the Ground" for this year's Keynote. Popcorn included! 

The cost of this event is $25 per person, or $15 for college students with a current student ID (Contact us for a student Promo Code). Registered participants will be able to attend either one 2-hour Field Trip 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!

Along with the field trip or workshops, the registration fee also includes a light dinner, exhibitors, resources, Kiss the Ground keynote and door prizes. The registration deadline is April 15, 2022. Professional Development certificates will be provided upon request. For more details, please visit www.soildistrict.org/environmental-educators-roundtable/

2 Hour Field Trips (4:15-6:15pm)

A) Cedar Bridge Tavern - History Underfoot Guide: Tim Hart (Ocean County Cultural & Heritage) Soil not only holds clues to natural history but also to past cultures and historical events as well.  Join Tim Hart and Ocean County Parks & Recreation staff as we explore the history of Cedar Bridge Tavern, highlighting archeological findings that helped to paint a clear picture of its rumored and colorful history.  We will also touch on the significance of the surrounding ecology in relation to the taverns’ survival. 

B) Double Trouble State Park - Window to Pinelands History, Culture & Ecology Guides: Andrew Anderson (New Jersey Division of Parks & Forestry) and Chris Claus (Ocean County Parks & Recreation) Double Trouble State Park offers an outstanding example of the Pine Barrens ecosystem and a window into New Jersey Pinelands history. Take a trip back in time with a tour of some of the historic structures that remain and learn about the history of the cranberry industry and how the resources, chiefly soil and water, played an integral part in local industry, culture and history. 

C) Cloverdale Farm County Park - Macroinvertebrates of a Freshwater Wetland Guide: Patti Trasferini (Ocean County Parks & Recreation) This program is designed to introduce teachers to freshwater macroinvertebrates, which are organisms that have no backbone (invertebrate) that live underwater in freshwater streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes. During this program, you will learn to differentiate between larval, nymph, and adult stages of different species. You will also learn how soil substrate can determine a species populations distribution and how they can be an indicator of water quality of freshwater bodies found throughout Ocean County.

D) Cattus Island County Park - Ecology of a Salt Marsh Guides: Nikki Vernachio and Megan Zorns (Ocean County Parks & Recreation) The salt marsh is one of the most unique and important habitats in the Barnegat Bay Estuary.  We will travel by van to witness the effects of sea level rise on the marsh and the surrounding maritime forest.  Bring a pair of boots or old sneakers, as we delve into the salt marsh using hands-on activities to discover it’s soil, flora, and fauna. If inclement weather, activities will take place inside the Cooper Environmental Center.  

1 Hour Workshops Offered During Session One (4:15-5:15pm) CHOOSE ONE

1E) Fire in the Pines Guide: Ben Ackerman (Ocean County Parks & Recreation) “Only you can prevent forest fires”, but do we really want to? Though we view fire as destructive and dangerous, its absence from the Pine Barrens can cause degradation and damage to a once healthy ecosystem. This includes its relationship with soil, which it both has an effect on and is affected by. Join us as we dig down into the complex and fascinating field of fire science. We will discuss Fire History, Ecology, Management, Importance and the relationship between fire and soil.

1F) Soil Science Sampler Guides: Ocean County Soil Conservation District Staff Dig deep and explore the chemical, physical and biological properties of soils in the Barnegat Bay watershed through fun, hands-on, "classroom ready" activities. Lessons are also applicable to school garden soil preparations.

1 Hour Workshops Offered During Session Two (5:30-6:30pm) CHOOSE ONE

2G) Gateway to the Pines - Tour of Jakes Branch Nature Center and Grounds Guide: Michelle Urban (Ocean County Parks & Recreation) This on-site field trip will offer educators a sampling of what Jakes Branch County Park can provide to their students. Located just on the fringe of the Pinelands National Reserve, the park provides a snapshot of typical Pinelands habitats and is a great place to further explore iconic Pinelands topics such as soils, watersheds, fire ecology, wildflowers, reptiles, amphibians, history and culture.  Educators will walk away with a variety of field trip/activity choices they can take advantage of with their students. 

2H) Cultivating Connections: Soil and Plants Guide: German Georgieff (Ocean County Parks & Recreation) It is believed the Pine Barrens acquired its name from early potential farmers who found the sandy, acidic and nutrient-poor soil unsuitable for traditional agriculture - declaring it "barren". Join OCPR naturalist German Georgieff as he identifies and discusses the native vegetation that has adapted to these unique conditions, some of which are known only to New Jersey.

Keynote: "Kiss the Ground" film

Narrated by Woody Harrelson, Kiss the Ground is an inspiring and groundbreaking film that reveals the first viable solution to our climate crisis - our SOIL

Kiss the Ground reveals that, by regenerating the world’s soils, we can completely and rapidly stabilize Earth’s climate, restore lost ecosystems and create abundant food supplies. Using compelling graphics and visuals, along with striking NASA and NOAA footage, the film artfully illustrates how, by drawing down atmospheric carbon, soil is the missing piece of the climate puzzle. This movie is positioned to catalyze a movement to accomplish the impossible – to solve humanity’s greatest challenge, to balance the climate and secure our species future.

For teachers, educators, schools, community organizers and home schoolers…thanks to a generous grant from the Bia Echo Foundation and Triptyk, we will feature the free 45-minute-long Educational Version of the Kiss the Ground movie. The KissTheGround.com/take-action/ website offers educational lessons and activities that support soil science and exploration for your students.