The FREC first opened under the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Parks and Forestry in 1982 as the NJ Tree Nursery. The NJ Tree Nursery grows 300,000 seedlings yearly for reforestation across New Jersey.
In 1995, the FREC offered their first interpretive program, "Seeds to Trees". The Seeds to Trees program engages students in the work and care it takes to grow a seed into a tree and is still offered today along with 11 other interpretive programs.
In 2003, a new interpretive center was completed. The exhibit area of the interpretive center features sections on forest succession, wildlife, tree seeds, forestry tools, forest fire, and pruning.
Groups who cannot visit the FREC can borrow a Project Learning Trunk. Trunks are filled with materials, activities, DVDs, and books for use indoors and outdoors.