March 2020
Soil is the foundation of all life on earth! Attend one of OCSCD's educational programs, or engage with our many environmental education partners throughout Ocean County. Experience nature at its roots!
Build a Better Yard: Jersey-Friendly Yards
February 17 and 24, 6:00-7:00pm
Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve
The Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve is hosting a 2020 series of Jersey-Friendly Yards programs in collaboration with Ocean County Soil Conservation District, Barnegat Bay Partnership, Ocean County Department of Solid Waste Management and Brick Township Municipal Utilities Authority. Gain knowledge about healthy soil, composting, water conservation and other sustainable gardening practices. Two programs remain in this series of four. Location: Cousteau Coastal Center at 130 Great Bay Blvd., Tuckerton. To register contact Kaitlin Gannon (609) 812-0649 x206 or

February 17, 6:00-7:00pm: Start With Healthy Soil. Learn about the chemical, physical and biological characteristics of soil, soil testing, plus the fundamentals of composting. Speakers: Becky Laboy, Education Outreach Specialist with Ocean County Soil Conservation District, and Sandra Blaine-Snow, Educator with Ocean County Department of Solid Waste Management.

February 24, 6:00-7:00pm: Water Wisely. Explore water conservation techniques, as well as storm water management, rain barrels, rain gardens and more. Speaker: Shari Kondrup of Brick Township Municipal Utilities Authority.
Attracting Birds to your Jersey-Friendly Yard
March 1, 2:00-3:00pm
Friends of Island Beach State Park
Conservation Talks - Lecture Series
Birds delight us with their songs, colorful feathery attire and comical antics as they fly across the yard. They also provide vital "ecosystem services" such as pest control, nutrient cycling, pollination and seed dispersal. Learn some tips on how to create a healthy, functioning yard that attracts your favorite birds - and watch your home grow into a "Jersey-Friendly Yard". Presented by Becky Laboy, OCSCD, hosted by the Friends of Island Beach State Park. For more information visit the Friends of Island Beach State Park website: and link to their registration page. Or contact Stevie Thorsen
Organic Lawn Care & Lawn Alternatives with Jersey-Friendly Yards
March 12, 6:30-8:00pm
The Watershed Institute
Want a beautiful property without chemical treatments? Learn from professionals representing The Watershed Institute, SavATree and Jersey-Friendly Yards about how to "green" your property using organic methods. Everything applied to lawns eventually ends up in local waterways, so it is crucial to minimize chemical applications on our properties. Free! Location: The Watershed Institute, 31 Titus Mill Road, Pennington, NJ 08534. Visit The Watershed Institute website to find out more information and to register. Or contact Erin Landis
Combating Climate Change with a Jersey-Friendly Yard
Presenting at the Pinelands Short Course 
March 14
Stockton University
The NJ Pinelands Commission will once again host their annual Pinelands Short Course - a day-long event featuring educational presentations that explore the unique history, ecology and culture of the Pinelands. OCSCD and Barnegat Bay Partnership are teaming-up to present "Combating Climate Change with a Jersey-Friendly Yard". Learn about the challenges that climate change poses to the residential landscape and how to mitigate the impacts.  March 14. Location: Stockton University 101 Vera King Farris Drive, Galloway, NJ 08205. Cost: Adult: $50, Senior: $45, Student: $45. For more information, contact Joel Mott (609) 684-7300, ext. 125 or
Jersey-Friendly Yards: Landscaping for a Healthy Environment
March 25, 2:00-3:00pm
Berkeley Township Library
This program features spring planting and landscaping tips designed for homeowners that offer easy, yet comprehensive information about creating a healthy and sustainable backyard using native plants.  March 25, 2:00-3:00pm. Location: Berkeley Branch of the Ocean County Library, 30 Station Road, Bayville, 08721. Please register through the Library. Free! For more information, contact Becky Laboy or (609) 971-7002 ext. 114.
Inspiration for Creating Your Own Jersey-Friendly Yard
April 7, 6:30-8:00pm
Cloverdale Farms, Barnegat
Be inspired to create your own native plant garden using Jersey-Friendly Yards, an online guide to environmentally friendly landscaping in New Jersey. An introduction to the website will provide you with information about designing your garden, preparing your soil, planting site-specific native species, water conservation and improving overall garden health. Presenters will showcase resources and practical applications including the results of several Jersey-Friendly Yards projects throughout Ocean County. April 7, 6:30-8:00pm. Location: Cloverdale Farms County Park, 34 Cloverdale Road, Barnegat, NJ, 08005. Please contact Patti Trasferini for more information:
Jersey-Friendly Yards: Earth Day Workshop and Native Plant Sale
April 25, workshop from 11:00am-12:30pm; native plant sale from 12:30-2:00pm
Long Beach Island Foundation
Join Becky Laboy, Education Outreach Specialist with OCSCD, presenting at Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts & Sciences "Science Saturdays" speaker series. Learn how, when, where and what to plant in your home garden using the Jersey-Friendly Yards website tools and resources. Explore the benefits of native plants, then make your purchases at the native plant sale following the workshop.  Saturday April 25, workshop from 11:00-12:30pm, followed by the native plant sale from 12:30-2:00pm. Location: Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts & Sciences, 120 Long Beach Blvd. Love Ladies, NJ 08008. Free to LBIF members; $5 fee for non-members. For more information, please contact or visit the LBIF website.
Get the Dirt on Soil
Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Ocean County; $10 per class
Healthy lawns and gardens start with healthy soil. The Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Ocean County is hosting a 2020 series of programs focusing on SOIL. Learn more about your soil and how to keep it healthy. Attend 1, 2, Location: Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Ocean County, 1623 Whitesville Road, Toms River, 08755. Please register by calling (732) 505-3671 or Nonrefundable program fee of $10 each day.
March 4, 6:00-8:00pm:

Start with Healthy Soil: Don't treat your soil like dirt! This program will teach you the basics about your soil, so you can start building a healthy foundation for your garden! Presented by Becky Laboy, OCSCD

Get the Lay of Your Land: Learn more about the soil under your feet at home. We will walk you through the Web Soil Survey to map your yard or garden's soil. Presented by Dr. Steve Yergeau, Rutgers Extension of Ocean & Atlantic Counties
April 16, 6:00-8:00pm

Digging Deeper: What's Your Soil Telling You?
Get the scoop on your soil by taking a soil test! Come find out the importance of testing your soil, how to conduct a soil test, and how to interpret the results to keep your lawn and garden healthy and happy. Presented by Dr. Stephanie Murphy, Director of the Rutgers Soil Testing Laboratory
May 14, 6:00-8:00pm

Root Out Soil Compaction: Soil compaction is a major problem impacting your yard and garden. Come learn about what causes compaction, how it affects soil health, and how to correct soil compaction in the home landscape. Presented by Dr. Steve Yergeau, Rutgers Extension of Ocean & Atlantic Counties
Be Water Wise
March 12
Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Ocean County; $10 program fee
Be Water Wise! Join Dr. Steve Yergeau, Rutgers County Agent, for a 1 hour workshop to learn about the tools needed to conserve water in your yard. Explore ways to follow smart water conservation practices at home. Location: Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Ocean County, 1623 Whitesville Road, Toms River, 08755. Please register by calling (732) 505-3671 or Nonrefundable program fee of $10.
Poster Contest
Contest Deadline: March 1
Grades 2-12
Sponsored by Ocean County Soil Conservation District
The NJ Conservation Poster Contest is an annual contest sponsored by the  NJ Department of Agriculture, the  New Jersey Association of Conservation Districts and the Ocean County Soil Conservation District. It aims to promote a better understanding of the connection between natural resources and humans, in a fun and creative way that engages students throughout the county, state and nation. It is open to all students from grades 2-12. The 2020 theme is: "Where would we BEE without Pollinators?" The Ocean County Grand Champion Winner will receive a $50 cash prize. Click to find out more about the contest, the prizes and how to enter. All Ocean County entries must be received by  March 1. Contact Becky Laboy (619) 971-7002 ext. 114 
2020 Rain Barrel Challenge!
Sponsored by the Barnegat Bay Partnership
The Barnegat Bay Partnership is taking the lead on organizing the NJDEP's Rain Barrel Challenge. This is an annual art competition with an environmental theme for schools and youth organizations. The Rain Barrel Challenge aims to educate young people about the Barnegat Bay and its 660-square mile watershed and engage them in stewardship actions. The 2020 theme is: "Earth Day - Celebrating 50 Years of Protecting Our Planet!" Visit the BBP's website to learn more, or contact Karen Walzer, BBP's Public Outreach Coordinator, or (732) 255-0472 ext. 2.
Barnegat Bay Partnership Retreat
March 25
Sponsored by the Barnegat Bay partnership
Calling all nature enthusiasts! Join Barnegat Bay Partnership for a day of learning at their annual Retreat. March 25, 9:00-3:00pm. Check-in at 8:30am. Location: Ocean County College, Gateway Building, Room 500. Theme: "Changing the Conversation on Climate Change". Learn from several guest speakers, including Jennifer Lengares Meyer of Jenkinson's Aquarium, Dr. Doug Zemeckis of Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Ocean County, and Kaitlin Gannon of Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve. FREE! Click to register. Light morning refreshments served, lunch is on your own. For more information, contact Karen Walzer,
Barnegat Bay Master Naturalist Program, Spring 2020
Sponsored by the Barnegat Bay Partnership
If you enjoy learning about wildlife, ecology and traditions of the Barnegat Bay, and sharing what you've learned with others, then the Barnegat Bay Master Naturalist Program is for you! Registration is now open for the Spring 2020 training course offered by the Barnegat Bay Partnership (BBP) through the Ocean County College Continuing & Professional Education Department. Orientation begins April 8, 7-9pm. Field trips take place on Saturdays, lectures are on Wednesday evenings. More details, including exact dates, times and cost can be found on the BBP website. Or contact Karen Walzer, or (732) 255-0472.
Barnegat Bay Environmental Educators Roundtable
April 22
Lighthouse Center for Natural Resource Conservation
SAVE THE DATE, April 22, celebrate Earth Day with us at OCSCD's 23rd Annual Barnegat Bay Environmental Educators Roundtable! Engage in a variety of workshops and field trips that support STEM/STEAM-based activities and Next Generation Science Standards. Keynote Speaker, Senior Pollinator Conservation Specialist, Kelly Gill of Xerces Society will address pollinator conservation efforts through education. Event highlights also include networking opportunities, resource sharing, light dinner and dessert, and door prizes. Cost: $25. For more information or to register visit our website, or contact Becky Laboy (609) 971-7002, ext. 114 or
Monthly Program Series
Secrets of the Barnegat Bay Blue Crab
February 25, 6:30-8:00pm
Hosted by the Barnegat Bay Partnership
Ocean County College
Join the Barnegat Bay Partnership for the first in a new series of "Ask a Barnegat Bay Scientists" talks. The first program is "Secrets of the Barnegat Bay blue Crab" presented by Dr. Paul Jivoff. learn about the fascinating ecology and mating behavior of Callinectus sapidus. This free program is on February 25 at 6:30pm at Ocean County College in room 115 in the Technology building. For event details and directions please visit this Event page, or call Karen Walzer, or 732-255-0472.
Sights & Sounds of the Pines
Thursday, March 5, 6:30-8:00pm
Hosted by the Barnegat Bay Partnership
Toms River Library, Mancini Room
Joel M. Mott IV, Principal Programs Specialist of the New Jersey Pinelands Commission, will offer a virtual walk in the woods showcasing the flora and fauna of the Pinelands. The talk will focus on the importance of water to the area's vegetation, as well as the cultural and historical resources of the region, while revealing this unique but fragile treasure. Thursday, March 5, 6:30-8:00pm in the Mancini Room at the Toms River Branch of the Ocean County Library, 101 Washington Street, Toms River, 08753. Sponsored by the Barnegat Bay Partnership and the Jersey Shore Chapter of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey. For questions and information contact Karen Walzer, Public Outreach Coordinator for the Barnegat Bay Partnership, (732) ext. 114
Seed Swap - a Blooming Success!
Over 200 people attended the 2nd Annual Community Seed Swap Day!

On January 26, native plant and pollinator enthusiasts packed the "Bugsem" called Insectropolis, in Toms River for their 2nd Annual Community Seed Swap Day. Attendees enjoyed interactive workshops, hands-on demonstrations and gathered lots of literature and information from exhibitors and vendors. Home gardeners can truly make a difference in our changing world by choosing to plant native trees, shrubs and perennials in their yard. Natives provide the food and shelter necessary for wildlife to survive and thrive!
Endangered Wings offers native plant and pollinator educational materials and programs. Owner, Pam Almeida, displayed  seed bon bons ! Seed balls made with soil, and arranged together like a box of chocolates! In time, they will decompose naturally in the soil and provide an "instant" pollinator garden!
Ocean County Soil Conservation District's  exhibit was hosted by one of our volunteers, Irene Tysh, also a seasoned Barnegat Bay Master Naturalist . Irene brought lots of literature and resources to share, as well as free Jersey-Friendly seed packets of wild native flowers!
  The Little Plant Company  was a familiar friendly vendor at the event who specialize in native landscape design. Jason and Kelly Austin, owners, also offer home grown floral designs for special occasions.
For more information about education programs and events pertaining to soil, water, conservation and native gardening, please contact Becky Laboy, Education Outreach Specialist, Ocean County Soil Conservation District, (609) 971-7002 ext. 114, or . Or visit the Education pages on our website: