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Somerset County Park Commission February to April Calendar

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The Somerset County Park Commission offers programs and activities for all ages at general use parks
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Information on all Somerset County Park Commission activities may be found on the Internet at www.somersetcountyparks.org or by calling 908-722-1200.
 
Duke Island Walkers
A weekly walking group will meet every Wednesday at 9:30 A.M. at the Duke Island Visitor’s Center for a healthy walk through Duke Island Park off Old York Road in Bridgewater along a beautiful stretch of the Raritan River. Coffee, tea, and treats will be provided.  For information call 908-722-1200, ext. 5236. The walk is free of charge.
 
Nature Through a Child’s Eye
This annual children’s environmental art exhibit will be on display through Sunday, February 4, 2018 from 9:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. at the Environmental Education Center, 190 Lord Stirling Road in Basking Ridge, NJ. The exhibit will feature Somerset County kindergartners through sixth graders who have expressed their love of our natural world, our environment, and our Earth through their artwork. Admission is free.
 
 
Josephine – The Empress Gardened
Colonial Park Gardens will welcome Garden Historian Lesley Parness for a special lecture on Saturday, February 10, 2018 from 11:00 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. (Rain date: February 17).  Lesley will discuss how French Empress Josephine’s fine taste informed 18th and 19th century style, from couture fashion to interior design. When divorced from her husband, Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, she focused her energies on her estate, Malmaison.  There, her passion for plants grew and bloomed.  Her legendary love for roses stopped a war, cost a fortune, set explorers to sail, and started a floral industry that endures today. The program will be held in the Park Commission Headquarters at North Branch Park, 355 Milltown Road, Bridgewater.  Meet at the reception area. The program is fees free and pre-registration by February 9 is required by 908 722-1200 ext. 5721.
 
Horse Care Workshop 103
 
EarthHelpers: Environmental Concerns
From Saturday, February 10 to Sunday, March 11, 2018 (except Lincoln’s Birthday and Presidents Day) Ridge High School and the Willow School students will present collaborative art exhibit of works using environmental issues as a point of departure to see the world. The amazing drawings and sculptures highlight critical concerns and hopeful aspects to solving environmental problems. The free exhibit is on display at the Environmental Education Center, 190 Lord Stirling Road in Basking Ridge daily from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. For information call 908-766-2489.
 
Maple Sugaring
The Somerset County Park Commission invites children and adults to a 90-minute program to witness how Maple Trees are tapped, learn about sap collecting methods from the past and present, and experience the boiling process that produces delicious New Jersey Maple Syrup. The ”Sugar Shack,” run by the Somerset County Park Commission Naturalists, is a one-half mile walk through the forest from the Environmental Education Center at 190 Lord Stirling Road in Basking Ridge, NJ. Public programs take place at the sugar shack on Saturdays and Sundays, from February 18, to March 12, 2018 at 10:00 AM, 12:00 Noon, and 2:00 PM on Saturdays and 12:00 Noon and 2:00 P.M. on Sundays. Suggested donation $1 per person.
 
Art & Photography Exhibit
Showcasing the four seasons at Leonard J. Buck Garden, the exhibit will feature photographs, paintings, and drawings of Buck Garden from Tuesday, February 20 to Friday, March 16, 2018. See the Garden's many seasonal faces through the works of talented artists and photographers. This exhibit will be held at the Leonard. J. Buck Garden Visitor Center, 11 Layton Road in Far Hills, NJ – Suggested donation $6 for adults and $3 for seniors and children. Open Monday-Friday from 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. For information call 908-722-1200, ext. 5621.

 
A Trip to The Moon
On Wednesday, February 28, 2018 from 7:30 P.M. to 8:30 P.M. the Naturalists at the Environmental Education Center, 190 Lord Stirling Road in Basking Ridge, New Jersey will present a family-friendly program that takes a look at history of the moon origin theories and an examination of the moon’s features through a telescope. Pre-registration is not required. For information, call 908-766-2489.
 

Spring Horseback Riding Lessons

English saddle Balanced Seat riding lessons are offered for beginner through advance are jumping levels for juniors and adults. Trail, specialty, and flat (non-jumping) classes are also offered. Online and walk-in registration will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 8:00 A.M. on Saturday, March 10, 2018. Lessons begin on Monday, March 26, 2018 and meet one hour per week for ten consecutive weeks.
 
Junior riders must be a minimum age of 9 at time of registration. Riders must be under 225 pounds for flat classes and under 200 pounds for classes over fences. Participants must have a current Lord Stirling Stable classification card as proof of their riding level; experienced English saddle riders who do not have a Lord Stirling Stable classification card should make an appointment to be tested prior to registration. Please call the stable office for more information. For directions, call the Stable at 908-766-5955 or NJ Relay 711 for individuals with a hearing or speech impairment. For more information, visit the Somerset County website at www.somersetcountyparks.org.
 
Bernards Township Community Art Show
Bernards Township and the EEC will present the 7th Annual non-juried show featuring a wide variety of media and subject matter from the hands of Bernards Township residents. The exhibit will run from Saturday, March 17 to Sunday, April 22, 2018 from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
 
Volunteer Rose Pruning Event
Colonial Park Gardens will present a free rose pruning workshop at the Rudolf W. van der Goot Rose Garden on Saturday, March 24, 2018 from 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.  After the training, volunteers will have the opportunity to prune the roses. Please bring a pair of sharp pruning shears and gardening gloves.  A limited number of pruners will 
be available to borrow.  Pre-registration by March 21 is required by calling 908 722-1200 ext. 5721.
 
Horse Care Workshop 101
The workshops offer people a chance to gain experience and confidence around horses. Participants learn the proper way to groom a horse and to put on the tack. The parts of the horse, saddle, and bridle are discussed. Students learn the different colors and breeds of horses, as well as the important role the farrier and veterinarian play in a horse's life.
 
The workshops are offered on five consecutive Saturdays from 1:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. beginning Saturday, March 31, 2018 at Lord Stirling Stable, 256 South Maple Avenue in Basking Ridge, NJ. The cost is $60 for Somerset County residents and $90 for non-residents. Registrations will be accepted until the first day of class, space permitting. This workshop does not include riding.
 
Woodland Walks at Leonard J. Buck Garden
Brighten your spring with a captivating and informative tour of the Leonard J. Buck Garden, 11 Layton Road in Far Hills, NJ on Sunday afternoons at 2:00 P.M. in April and May. Enjoy the magnificent drifts of native wildflowers and spring perennials blooming throughout the garden, as well as azaleas, dogwoods, and many colorful flowering shrubs and trees. Discover the great variety of plants growing among the rock formations and woodlands; immerse yourself in the natural beauty that surrounds you. Tours begin on April 2 and continue on April 8, 15, 22, and 29, and May 6, 13, and 20, 2018. Fee is $7 per person. Please, no organized groups. Pre-registration is not required.
 
Spring Yoga
Classic Hatha Yoga is a low-impact program to introduce adults to the healthful benefits of Yoga and improve on existing skills for those who previously participated. The 10-week evening program will be held on Wednesday evenings beginningWednesday, April 4, 2018. The Beginner class runs from 5:30 P.M. to 6:30 P.M. at a fee of $80.00. The Experienced class will run from 7:00 P.M. to 8:15 P.M. and will cost $100.00. The program will be offered at Park Commission Headquarters at North Branch Park, 355 Milltown Road in Bridgewater.
 
Honey Bees: One of Our Favorite Pollinators
The staff at Leonard J. Buck Garden, 11 Layton Road in Far Hills, New Jersey will present apiarist John Garretson who will offer his thoughts on the lives of bees on Thursday, April 5, 2018 from 1:00 P.M. to 2:00 P.M. Topics include a bee’s life span, their jobs in the colony, who rules the hive, honey production and more. This educational and fun program is geared toward all ages. Fee is $15 and pre-registration is required by calling 908-722-1200, ext. 5621.
 
Forest Bathing
The Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku, which translates as "forest bathing”, is intended to help foster a connection with nature that feeds mind, body, and spirit. Join Off The Grid Yoga instructor Lauren Theis for a forest bathing experience at Colonial Park Gardens on Sunday, April 8 and Sunday, September 9, 2018 from 12:00 Noon to 2:00 P.M. The experience will include an easy, slow hike through the gardens and arboretum, and a gentle yoga session, suitable for both beginners and experienced practitioners. It will also include mediation and centering sessions intended to encourage the nurturing qualities of being present within nature. Meet at the entrance of the Colonial Park Rose Garden, Lot A. Pre-registration by April 4 and September 5 is required by calling 908-722-1200 ext. 5721.. Fee is $20 per person with a limit of 12 people per session.
 
Spring Nature Ride
The Friends of Lord Stirling Stable will host a Spring Nature Ride on Sunday, April 15, 2018 on the trails of Lord Stirling Stable, 256 South Maple Avenue in Basking Ridge, NJ. Check in time is 8:30 A.M.
 
People with little or no riding experience are welcome on the one-hour guided trail ride. Experienced English saddle riders may also enjoy this leisurely ride along the 18 miles of trails with their non-riding friends. Junior riders (9 - 12 years of age) may participate if accompanied by an adult. All riders must weigh under 200 lbs. Participants are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Approved equestrian helmets and hard-soled boots or shoes with a well-defined heel are required and may be borrowed from the Stable office. Pre-registration is required. Forms and fee information are in the Stable office.
 
Spring Plant Sale and Earth Day Celebration
Enhance your garden with some spectacular new plant treasures, and help us celebrate Earth Day at Leonard J. Buck Garden, 11 Layton Road in Far Hills, NJ on Saturday, April 21 from 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. and Sunday, April 22, 2018from 12:00 Noon to 5:00 P.M. Weekend highlights include a plant sale featuring many choice selections of perennials, ferns and woody plants, inspiring garden lectures, and guided tours of this magnificent naturalistic rock garden. This event is co-sponsored with Watnong Chapter North American Rock Garden Society. There is no admission charge. For additional information, please call Buck Garden at 908-722-1200, ext. 5621.
 
Project E.A.R.T.H - Swamp Search!
Join the Naturalists for an exciting scavenger hunt on Sunday, April 29, 2018 from 12:00 Noon to 3:45 P.M. at the Environmental Education Center trails at 190 Lord Stirling Road in Basking Ridge, NJ to learn about the importance of the Great Swamp as an ecological and recreational resource. Enjoy environmental activities and games for children of all ages.  Try your “eco-skills” on our scavenger hunt and learn how you can promote positive environmental actions. Be back at the EEC by3:15 for an eco-skills challenge game to win cool prizes. The grand finale of "Project E.A.R.T.H. – Swamp Search!" will feature a presentation of a live mammal program.  Travis Gale of Eyes Wild will educate and entertain with his special collection of live wild mammals. The program is free.

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