Stroll along the trail and identify trees and shrubs from Arborvitae to Zelkova by finding distinctive features such as patterned bark or unique leaf shape. Students “Adopt A Tree” in the ABC Arboretum such as the NJ state tree, Northern Red Oak or Gingko, an extraordinary tree with prehistoric “roots.”
The group visits a few of the 25 nest boxes and four winter roost boxes strategically placed along the trail and learns how they are diligently monitored. During field investigations students examine the habitat, behavior, and nesting requirements of the once abundant species the Eastern bluebird. Approach quietly, and we may catch a glimpse of a bluebird.
This program focuses on change in forest composition over time, called succession. Along the trail the group sees evidence of wildfire and insect infestation and the effects of carefully planned prescribed burning and forest management techniques. Students also discover how pioneers of this area utilized the forest.
Students hike along the FireWise Trail and stop at several locations to identify evidence of wildfire, and observe fire management techniques including prescribed burning, fire buffers, and fire breaks. Learn the tower observer’s job at the “fire tower" and how to be firewise.
During the hike students learn forest ecology, detect animal signs, and identify and use of a variety of tree species. Along the trail observe effects of competition, lightning, wind, and human activities on the health and growth of the forest. The group also stops at a scenic overlook of the Toms River, and learn about tree rings using a cross-section of a 225 year old tree called the Indian Oak.
Participants in this hands-on program learn about trees and shrubs used to make forest products, and may get an opportunity to touch, taste, and smell samples. Students also observe milling of sawlogs into lumber, growing shiitake mushrooms, bee pollination, and participate in making maple syrup at the sugar shack.