Archive for the ‘Outdoors in the Garden State’ Category

Arbor Day Tomorrow!

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

This Friday, April 30th is Arbor Day. It is the official celebration of  trees.There has been many stories about trees.

A wonderful poem to share with your afterschool children is  TREES by Joyce Kilmer.Although some of you may only know Joyce Kilmer as someone whose name is on rest area on the turnpike.
However, Kilmer was also a Rutgers Graduate, an editor for the Targum (The Rutgers daily newspaper), then an employee of Johnson & Johnson.
He was the inventor of Johnson & Johson’s baby powder. He was also a great poet, whose most well known poem is Trees.
So take a moment-take the kids outside , stand under a tree, have them look up and then read aloud to them this poem!


I think  that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.

by Joyce Kilmer  1914


Do you have plans for Celebrate Afterschool! Outdoors in the Garden State Week?

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Do you have plans for Celebrate Afterschool!  Outdoors in the Garden State Week?
Please let us know. During the week of May 10-14 afterschool programs across the state will participate by hosting special outdoor programs focused on topics such as:
* nature
* going green.
NJSACC has newly updated guides to help you plan and publicize an outdoor event.

Click here for more information.

For help, contact Amy Plotch or call NJSACC at (908) 789-0259.


America’s Great Outdoors

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

On Friday, April 16, 2010, President Obama hosted the White House Conference on America’s Great Outdoors. The meeting was all about working together to conserve America’s precious land resources and to encourage people to get outdoors and reconnect to the land.

During the meeting, he signed a Presidential Memorandum to launch what is being called America’s Great Outdoors Initiative.

He spoke extensively about another President, Theodore Roosevelt, and his legacy of conservation. Among his comments, “Now, I am mindful that the first such conference was held over one century ago by one of my favorite Presidents, one of our greatest Presidents — and certainly our greatest conservation President. Upon taking office, Theodore Roosevelt –- avid birdwatcher, bear hunter –- set out on a tour of the American West that would change his life and the life of a nation forever.”

The President laid out four main goals of the program:

  • First, we’re going to build on successful conservation efforts being spearheaded outside of Washington — by local and state governments, by tribes, and by private groups — so we can write a new chapter in the protection of rivers, wildlife habitats, historic sites, and the great landscapes of our country.
  • Secondly, we’re going to help farmers, ranchers, property owners who want to protect their lands for their children and their grandchildren.
  • Third, we’ll help families spend more time outdoors, building on what the First Lady has done through the “Let’s Move” initiative to encourage young people to hike and bike and get outside more often.
  • And fourth, we want to foster a new generation of community and urban parks so that children across America have the chance to experience places like Millennium Park in my own Chicago.

He also said, “Understand, we’re not talking about a big federal agenda being driven out of Washington. We’re talking about how we can collect best ideas on conservation; how we can pursue good ideas that local communities embrace; and how we can be more responsible stewards of tax dollars to promote conservation.”

President  Obama signs America's Great Outdoors Initiative  memorandum


Celebrate Afterschool! Outdoors in the Garden State

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Celebrate Afterschool! Outdoors in the Garden State is a high-visibility, fun and educational event that uses nature as a teaching tool to build support for afterschool.
Afterschool programs across the state will host special programs during the week of May 10, 2010.
It’s your turn to get involved.

Here are our suggestions:

* Visit for FREE event planning and activity kits.

* Contact NJSACC Campaign Director Amy Plotch( to find out about FREE RESOURCES you can access.

TELL US what your plans are, by emailing Amy at


Planning For Summer Camp?

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Rutgers Gardens welcomes the After School and Camp Community

Connect with nature

NJSACC has worked in partnership with Rutgers Gardens to ready the Gardens for the  Afterschool and Camp Community for fun , inexpensive and exciting hands on exploration field trips for:

*early dismissal

*school closings


*summer camp programs

The program is geared towards school age children (K-8th grade) and consists of activities focused on being outdoors in the Garden State.
Trips are available Monday through Thursday  during the months April through October.

Choose from 1.5 hour ($4.00 per student) and 3 hour ($6.00 per student) field trips.

Here are some of the educational activities you may participate in:


Fairy House Building – Children can use their imagination while they create a small house for a fairy using things like twigs and stones. These house will remain after the children leave -who knows who will move in!

Leaf Crowns –Leaves can be a great material to work with since there are different color and shaped leaves. Using these colorful and different shaped leaves, children can make crowns.

Nature Decorations
– Nature can provide many things that can become a decoration. Children will be able to create their own decoration such as star shapes and figures with twigs, pinecones, leaves and more.

Nature Cards
– Using everything from nature, children can make colorful and creative cards.

Forest Mobiles
– Children can collect and create their own mobiles with whatever they can find in nature from leaves, pinecones and flowers.

Fun Physical Activities

Shelter Building
– Every child has a hiding place of its own. Children can find an area and use what they can find around them, build their own shelter/hiding place, while supervised.

Garden Games
– Different types of physical games for Children to be able to run around the garden and see nature while playing in it.

Nature Explorations and Investigations

Stream Dipping
– The stream is filled with living things and children can see for themselves. With a net, catch and explore the underwater creatures.

Scavenger Hunts – It’s a race to see who can find the items first. Children will be given a list of things to find in nature. Who will find the most?

Bamboo Forest Tour – Do you know that the bamboo tree can grow up to 35 feet tall?
This bamboo grove is a perfect place to go and see and touch bamboo.
It is great for a walk and it also has a bridge over a small stream which children can cross.

For more info go to :