Monday, February 9, 2015

Spotlight: Manasquan Resevoir Environmental Center


The Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center (Georgia Tavern Road, Howell) is dedicated to providing experiences of learning and discovery related to wetlands ecology and wildlife and habitat protection. Through interactive exhibits, multi-media presentations, educational activities for schools and community groups, and wildlife observation areas, visitors gain an understanding of the importance of water in our world.

Designed to connect visitors with their natural world, the Environmental Center highlights the importance of water. One exhibit features fish found in the Reservoir outside. Another traces the journey of a raindrop as it travels through the watershed to the Manasquan River and, eventually, reaches the ocean. Some exhibits reveal what is not readily visible, such as nocturnal animals that call the Reservoir home. Another exhibit compares the effects of a town with unmanaged growth to one that has chosen to establish practices that protect the environment.

The Environmental Center offers free programs each weekend. Upcoming weekend drop-in programs include:
  • Great Backyard Bird Count on Saturday & Sunday, February 14 & 15: Join us as we participate in this great citizen scientist project with this self-directed program.  
  • Citizen Science on Saturday & Sunday, February 21 & 22: Discover projects that use the help of citizen scientists during this self-directed program.
  • Vernal Wetlands on Saturday & Sunday, February 28 & March 1: During this self-directed program visitors will learn about these special wetlands and the animals that live in them.  
  • Snake Meet and Greet on Saturday & Sunday, March 7 & 8 at 10:30 a.m.: Meet a live snake and learn about the ones that live at the reservoir.
  • Monarch Butterflies on Saturday, March 14 at 11 a.m. and Sunday, March 15 at 2 p.m.: Discover where monarch butterflies are on their migration back north.

This spring the Environmental Center will offer a variety of nature programs that are sure to open your eyes to the amazement in the nature that surrounds us. Here is just sampling of what's to come this spring:
  • Bald Eagle Walk at the Manasquan Reservoir: Ages 9 and up (under 18 with adult) will enjoy this unique opportunity to learn about bald eagles and to possibly get a glimpse of the pair nesting nearby.
  • Don't Give Up Duck: Parents will enjoy bringing their toddlers (ages 18 months-3 years) to enjoy a sweet story about Duck and all of her friends. Songs, games and a craft are sure to add to your child's delight.
  • Froggie Fun: You and your little one (age 3-6) will have fun with this exciting meet and greet with a few of our resident frogs. Children will also enjoy a game and craft.
  • Young Naturalists Book Club: Do you have a nature and book lover at home between the ages of 5-12? They'll love joining this program where they will read a book of their choice that goes along with each monthly theme and then bring it with them to discuss with other kids who enjoy nature. Each meeting will end with a snack and craft.
These are just some of the programs happening at the Environmental Center this spring. For a full listing of upcoming Park System programs, click here. Don't miss out! Registration for spring programs begins at 8 a.m. this Wednesday, February 11!

The Environmental Center is open daily from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; from Memorial Day through Labor Day summer hours are in effect and are from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Thursday and 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m. on Fridays. For additional information on this amazing and beautiful park facility, visit our Environmental Center page. Have a child's birthday coming up? The Environmental Center also offers fun and educational birthday party packages your child and his/her friends are sure to love!

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