TRENTON – The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife is accepting registrations for a new program designed to teach outdoor skills to people of all ages, particularly women and families.
The New Jersey Outdoors Program offers an engaging and exciting way for beginners to boost their confidence in pursuing outdoor activities and is equally suitable for anyone looking to improve their existing skills or enhance their appreciation of the outdoors. Registrants may choose from a series of workshops that include fishing, shooting sports, hunting, wildlife watching, kayaking and hiking. They will be taught in a relaxed atmosphere by experts in their fields.
This program blends the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s successful Becoming an Outdoors Woman program offered in the past into the Outdoor Women of New Jersey and Outdoor Families of New Jersey workshops.
“This new program is a logical advancement, broadening our outreach and giving participants a chance to build a lifelong appreciation for the state’s abundant natural resources that they can share with their families,” said Division of Fish and Wildlife Director Larry Herrighty. “With the diverse offering of classes available this summer and fall, there is something for just about everyone.”
Workshops include the Sedge Island Sampler in August. Located off Ocean County’s Island Beach State Park in Barnegat Bay, the Sedge Island Natural Resource Education Center offers a unique setting to learn about New Jersey’s ecologically diverse coastal environments. Participants will be able to try fishing, crabbing and clamming. They can also try their hand at writing a nature journal, paddling a kayak, and searching for diamondback terrapins, New Jersey’s only saltmarsh turtle species.
In September, free fishing, birding and outdoor survival skills workshops will be offered at the Hackettstown State Fish Hatchery in Warren County. Participants will learn about freshwater fishing, birding, and basics of outdoor survival skills. Guided tours of the hatchery’s fish-production building will also be offered.
In early December, an overnight waterfowl hunt will be held at Sedge Island to provide participants with the necessary knowledge and skills to hunt waterfowl.
A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service survey from 2011 estimated that 2.4 million people – including residents and nonresidents – participated in recreational activities in New Jersey directly related to wildlife, such as fishing, hunting and wildlife watching. These activities generated $2.3 billion in economic activity.
“We are very excited about offering this program, which will provide a supportive environment for participants to learn about the many types of exciting opportunities that await them in New Jersey’s great outdoors,” said program coordinator and Division of Fish and Wildlife senior biologist Michelle Smith.
The New Jersey Outdoors Program is cosponsored by the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance and the New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs.
Reservations for workshops are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Many programs are free, while some have nominal fees to defray costs. Minimum age requirements may apply to certain workshops.
For more information, including registration requirements and to register, visit www.njfishandwildlife.com/njoutdoors.htm
You may also call (609) 259-6961 or email Michelle.Smith@dep.nj.gov