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Explore Environmental Center on Earth Day Scavenger Hunt

Play a game that also teaches about our natural environment — our backyard swamp!

Sometimes there's just not enough days to go around, but each week we'll give you an idea of something to do to relax, spend time with family and just take some time for yourself.

On April 28, you can celebrate Earth Day and also go on an exciting scavenger hunt when Somerset County's Environmental Education Center in Basking Ridge presents the 5th annual Project E.A.R.T.H. (Environment.Awareness .Responsibility.Teaching.Hope) celebration.

Project E.A.R.T.H — Swamp Search! will provide adventure, exercise and even cool prizes after a hunt along the EEC's trails that will also educate participants about the importance of the Great Swamp as an ecological and recreational resource.

The event is scheduled for 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Environmental Education Center on Lord Stirling Road in Basking Ridge. All activities are free.

Head out on the EEC trails between noon and 1 p.m. to locate EEC naturalists, who will provide clues and fascinating environmental facts that will help answer our scavenger hunt questions. Participants with the most correct answers will be eligible to play the EEC challenge game at 3:15 p.m. for cool prizes! 

Then spend the afternoon outside exploring the EEC trails. Individuals, families, friends, scouts and groups of all ages can join the fun. After the scavenger hunt and ECC challenge game, come inside for a special program by Rick Mikula, “The Butterfly Guy” and his remarkable collection of live and mounted butterflies and moths at 3:45 p.m.

Inside the EEC, you can see the Bernards Township Art Exhibit and the Eco-Rally exhibit for those not wanting to go out on the trails or for viewing after completing the scavenger hunt.

Information on this event and other Somerset County Park Commission activities may be found online.

Another bigger swamp scavenger hunt in May

And if you miss this hunt — or if you had so much fun you want to repeat the experience —  there's another, bigger hunt on May 11 The Great Swamp Scavenger Hunt, created and hosted by the Great Swamp Watershed Association and covering Great Swamp locations in both Morris and Somerset counties.

The concept is simple. Stop by the Kitchell Pond Pavilion at Loantaka Brook Reservation (75 Kitchell Road in Morristown) to pick up an official Great Swamp Scavenger Hunt Clue Kit—including GPS coordinates for geocachers—any time after 9 a.m. Then hop on a bike, or into acar, and set out to collect as many scavenger hunt tokens as you can from a total of 19 different locations in Morris County and Somerset County.

Participating sites include the Great Swamp National Wildlife RefugeMorristown National Historical Park, the Somerset County Environmental Education Center in Basking Ridge, Morris County’s Outdoor Education CenterThe Raptor Trust, the Schermann Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary in Bernardsville, Meyersville Café, and Millington Gorge, so there will be plenty of exciting things to see and do along the way!

Return to Kitchell Pond Pavilion by 4 p.m. with a healthy appetite. Every token collected is a chance to win one of several fantastic prizes donated by local businesses and organizations. Last year’s prizes included a four-person tent, a high-end foldable camp chair, a North Face Recon backpack, a Mountainsmith camera bag and lots of other outdoor recreational equipment.

Before prizes are awarded, enjoy a picnic barbeque courtesy of Great Swamp Watershed Association. Drinks, hot dogs and burgers will be supplied. Feel free to contribute your own side dish to the covered dish buffet too! (Remember to bring along your own lawn chairs, blankets, or other alfresco dining supplies.)

To register for the Great Swamp Scavenger Hunt, or to find more information, please visit GreatSwamp.org or call 973-538-3500 x22. Participation is free, but donations are gratefully accepted, and online RSVPs or telephone registration are appreciated.


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