BERNARDS TOWNSHIP, NJ - A free exhibit that asks the question "Who Lives in the Great Swamp?" is now open through October at the Somerset County Park Commission's Environmental Education Center (EEC), where other programs also are planned for September.

“Who Lives in the Great Swamp?’ opened at the end of last week, and will remain open through Wednesday, Oct. 7, at the EEC at 190 Lord Stirling Road in Basking Ridge. The public can visit daily between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Labor Day.

The exhibit features models of some of the birds and mammals found in the Great Swamp. Visitors can also learn about who (and what) comes out to play at night in the swamp, who may be sharing the EEC trails, who might be hanging around the ponds, or who is hiding out in the trees.

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Beth Murphy, a local botanical artist also provides an artistic view of dried plants and flowers commonly found around the Great Swamp. A special display and video about the up-coming 1770s Festival and past archeological findings from Lord Stirling’s era are also part of the exhibit.

All through the year, the EEC hosts nature programs, exhibits and activities - including walks through the Great Swamp - with a number of offerings aimed at children.

'Tree House Gang' for children back in September

The naturalists at the Environmental Education Center have announced the return an entertaining and educational science and nature program for children ages 3 to 5 scheduled to run on Tuesday afternoons through September.

Tree House Gang is an afternoon program series that will introduce children to science and nature through an enhanced learning program incorporating outdoor hikes, hands-on activities, interaction with live animals, and crafts.  The program takes place at the EEC.

The afternoon classes run from 12:45 to 3:15 p.m., and are offered on four consecutive Tuesdays, September 8, 15, 22, and 29. Each monthly session has a different theme. 
Fee for either 4-day session is $65 per person. For information and registration log onto or call 908-766-2489.

The Somerset County Park Commission Environmental Education Center is nestled within the western portion of the Great Swamp Basin of the Passaic River. The wide variety of habitats includes: floodplains, swamps, rivers, intermittent streams, marshes, meadows, fields, forests, and natural and man-made ponds. These habitats provide homes for diverse plant and animal populations in this environmentally sensitive park. All are within walking distance of the multi-faceted building. An environmental-based library is located within the Center itself. The Exhibit Hall annually hosts environmental-focused presentations that are free to the public.

Other programs coming up in September include:

Children and child/parent programs:
Bugtastic! – NEW!
            Friday, Sept. 11 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
            Children age infant to 5 with a parent will learn about bugs from around
                        the globe and in the backyard through an indoor lesson and a 
                        naturalist-led hike.
            Fee is $10 per pair and $5 per additional child
            Register online at,or call 908-766-2489.                             Advance payment is required.
Wild Kids
            Sundays, Sept. 13, 20, and 27 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Children age infant to 5 with a parent will cure cabin fever on an
            exploration of the Great Swamp using the five senses to discover
            the natural world.
            Fee is $22 per pair for the 3-day session and $11 per additional child.
            Register online at or call 908-766-2489.                             Advance payment is required.
Adult and family programs:
Family Nature Walk – FREE
            Saturday, Sept. 12 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
            Family and friends will enjoy a naturalist-led interpretive walk 
            through the Great Swamp.
            The program is free and pre-registration is not required.
Backyard Bears – FREE 
            Saturday, Sept. 13 from 1 to 2 p.m.
Family and friends of all ages will learn bear etiquette and what to do if 
            confronted by a bear.
            The program is free.
            Register online at, or call 908-766-2489.

Information on all Somerset County Park Commission activities may be found online, and on Facebook and Twitter.