Wednesday, April 19, 2023 from 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
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Lighthouse Center for Natural Resource Education 
Lighthouse Center for Natural Resource Education
140 Camp Lighthouse Road
(Corner of 7th St. and Navajo Dr.)
Waretown, NJ 08758

Driving Directions 


Becky Laboy 
Ocean County Soil Conservation District 

26th Annual Barnegat Bay 

Environmental Educators Roundtable 

Join us for our 26th Annual Barnegat Bay Environmental Educators Roundtable! This professional development event is designed for educators throughout the Barnegat Bay watershed (and beyond!) to participate in experiential workshops and field trips, enhance their knowledge of local natural resources, culture and history, and gain valuable tools that support environmental topics in the classroom. The afternoon begins with an Open House, where an array of environmental organizations share resources and educational expertise. Dinner is served, followed by field trips and workshops. Dessert and our Keynote take place in the charming and rustic Locandro Lodge. The evening concludes with Door Prizes for all registered guests.

This year’s theme is Data: Calculating the Importance of Nature. Our workshops and field trips focus on data collection and analysis through engaging, hands-on, interactive learning, in the field and in the classroom. Field trips and workshops are appropriate for teachers of all grade levels. Programs build upon existing curricula by making it locally relevant. Scroll below for program descriptions.

We are privileged to announce our Keynote will be presented by Christine Girtain, NJEA's 2022-23 Teacher of the Year! The keynote is meant to embrace the ideology that each of us can make a difference! 

The cost of this event is $35 per person. 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, and seating is limited, so please register early to ensure availability of your favorite programs! The registration deadline is March 31, 2023. Professional Development certificates will be provided upon request. (Dress appropriately for outdoor learning spring weather can be unexpectedly cold.)


3:00pm Open House: Dozens of local environmental organizations will be exhibiting in the Lighthouse Center. Peruse their tables, speak to professionals about the educational resources and services they offer to teachers.
3:30-4:15pm Dinner: Enjoy a light dinner in the Dining Hall, and catch-up with friends attending the Roundtable from all over the state!
4:00pm Welcome: OCSCD Board Chairman Dr. Bill Pollock, District Director Christine Raabe, and District Education & Outreach Specialist Becky Laboy, will welcome you to our signature annual event.
4:30-5:30pm Programs: Session One Workshops; all 2-hour Field Trips leave for offsite destinations at 4:30pm.
5:40-6:40pm Programs: Session Two Workshops; all 2-hour Field Trips return to the Lighthouse Center by 6:40pm.
6:45-7:00pm Dessert: Join us in the rustic and charming Locandro Lodge for sweet snacks and goodies.
7:15-7:45pm Keynote: Christine Girtain, NJEA’s 2022-23 Teacher of the Year
7:45-8:00pm Door Prizes: All registered guests will receive a door prize as our Thank You! for attending this year’s Barnegat Bay Environmental Educators Roundtable.

Field Trips (4:30-6:30pm)

FT1) Water Quality Assessment of the Bogs at Pinelands Regional High School presented by Jim Ardoin, AP Ecology Teacher, Pinelands Regional High School, and Joel Mott, Principal Public Programs Specialist, NJ Pinelands Commission. Water quality in a bog habitat is important to the plants, animals and health of the entire ecosystem. Learn how to test the water, collect and analyze the data, then use the information to inform restoration and conservation decisions. A pre-arranged van will transport you from the Lighthouse Center to Pinelands Regional High School 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 outside in spring. Be prepared to walk short distances on sandy, uneven terrain.
FT2) Biodiversity Assessment of Brown’s Woods Preserve presented by Dr. John Wnek and his KeanOCEAN Field Studies students. Learn about the different aspects of data collection used to assess the Brown’s Woods Preserve in Toms River. KeanOCEAN students will share some of the vegetation metrics they have implemented in their project, including species richness, % native species, live vegetative cover, and soil compaction, to determine the health of the ecosystem and assess changes in plant communities over time. A pre-arranged van will transport you from the Lighthouse Center to Brown’s Woods Preserve 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 outside in spring. Be prepared to walk short distances on sandy, uneven terrain.
FT3) Cedar Bridge Tavern – Connecting Life and History with Historical Data presented by Tim Hart, Ocean County Cultural & Heritage Commission. For history enthusiasts, a field trip to Cedar Bridge Tavern will highlight historical data collected about past events and circumstances around the Cedar Bridge Tavern building and grounds during the time of the Revolutionary War. A pre-arranged van will transport you from the Lighthouse Center to Cedar Bridge Tavern 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 outside in spring. Be prepared to walk short distances on sandy, uneven terrain.

Workshops: Session 1 (4:30-5:30pm)

W1) Schoolyard Soil Science presented by Jessica Pinto, Erosion Control Specialist, OCSCD and Eileen Miller, Soil Health Specialist, Healthy Landscapes, Inc. and Team Habitat Coordinator for South Jersey Resource Conservation & Development Council. Soil is a complex yet fascinating natural resource with chemical, physical and biological properties that support entire ecosystems. Gain new ideas for teaching soil science through, fun, hands-on, indoor and outdoor soil activities including: using soil sieves to determine particle size composition, ribbon test to determine soil texture class by “feel”, jar test to estimate percentages of sand, silt and clay, NPK and pH tests to determine nutrient availability, alkalinity and acidity, and compost sifting to determine the presence and identification of soil biota. Weather permitting, activities will take place outside. Dress appropriately for outdoor learning (spring weather can be unexpectedly cold). Be prepared to walk sjort distances on sandy, uneven terrain. 
W2) Beach Collection and Data presented by Rosemary Higgins and Mindy Ross of NJ Sea Grant Consortium. This workshop will demonstrate a variety of ways data may be collected from a day at the beach or how objects collected from a beach, such as seashells, sand, marine debris and even sea levels, can be used in the classroom data activities. We will create charts, graphs, and tables, plus learn about some online resources to use for more lessons about using data and our beaches. The array of activities will be appropriate for a wide range of grade levels from elementary with modifications made for middle and high school.
W3) Data Hidden in Wood: Extracting Data from Patterns in Tree Growth presented by LeeAnn Haaf, Ph.D., Estuary Science Manager, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary. In this workshop, Dr. Haaf will delve into the study of dendrochronology, or the study of tree rings, and share how we can use data hidden in wood to understand climatic or environmental change. Background information about the important uses of dendrochronology will be provided, along with various statistics to uncover environmental patterns. On a field excursion we will learn how tree rings are sampled. Dress appropriately for outdoor learning (spring weather can be unexpectedly cold). Be prepared to walk sjort distances on sandy, uneven terrain.

Workshops: Session 2 (5:40-6:40pm)

W4) Randomizing Sampling – Minimizing Bias Through Experimental Design and Collection presented by Anne Tokazewski, Professor, Rowan College at Burlington County. Scientific investigations are an important component, process and outcome of student learning in the science classroom. We will examine techniques for minimizing bias in sampling using native species, such as the Diamondback Terrapin.  Participants will have the opportunity to try hands-on techniques 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.
W5) Using Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Data to Estimate Stream Health presented by Bailey Sanders, Stewardship Specialist for the Barnegat Bay Partnership. Aquatic Macroinvertebrates can be used to estimate the health of a stream. In this multi-part lesson, we will learn how to identify macroinvertebrates using dichotomous keys, explore how macroinvertebrates can be used in a water quality index, and practice making inferences about the quality of freshwater in your local watershed. This is a great introduction for students to learn data collection and analysis. 
W6) Waste Reduction by the Numbers presented by Sandra Blaine-Snow and Tanara Hall, Ocean County Department of Solid Waste Management. Data collection helps us track and analyze patterns in waste production and reduction. This data is used to help plan and implement innovative waste reduction programs through reuse, recycling and composting to achieve sustainable growth and development. A waste audit plan is a method for analyzing your school’s/organization’s waste stream. Learn how to conduct a waste audit and set recycling, reduction and diversion goals as you prepare to go green!
W7) Frogs – Listening for Data presented by Dr. Dane Ward, Associate Professor, Drexel University. Learn about the different species of frogs found in southern New Jersey, and how listening for and searching for frogs generates meaningful data which can be used in conservation biology and water quality research. We will learn how frog and toad assemblages change throughout the year, and how broader environmental change can alter our local amphibian diversity, as told by the data collected. Content and activities can be modified for various grade levels. We will be exploring wet and muddy areas outside, dress appropriately (spring weather can be unexpectedly cold) and bring or wear muck boots, or shoes you don’t mind getting wet (bring an extra dry pair to change into). Be prepared to walk on muddy, uneven terrain.


We are privileged to announce Christine Girtain will deliver the Keynote at this year’s Environmental Educator’s Roundtable. In addition to teaching at Toms River North and Toms River South High Schools, Ms. Girtain is the Toms River School District’s Director of Authentic Science Research. In addition, she is an Executive Board Member of Rutgers Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, Central Ocean Rotary Scholarship Chair, on the Infiniscope Advisory Board, and Executive Board Member of New Jersey Earth Science Teachers Association. Christine holds a bachelor’s degree in biology with a concentration in education from The College of New Jersey, as well as a master’s degree in earth science instruction and curriculum from Kean University.

Ms. Girtain has a long list of accolades including: 2019 New Jersey Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Pathways Teacher of the Year, 2021 Army Education Outreach Educator of the Year, 2021 New Jersey Finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, and the 2022 Genetics Educator of the Year for the National Association of Biology Teachers.

Christine has attended the Barnegat Bay Environmental Educators Roundtable for many years. We are excited to welcome her back as our Keynote presenter this year!

(Photo: Christine Girtain, Ocean County and NJEA Teacher of the Year 2022-23 on the cover of NJEA Review magazine. Read Christine Girtain’s article in the December issue.)