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Brook Trout

2023 Program


N  J

Northwest New Jersey

Rivers Conference

Latest Trends in Planning


Lucas Marxen

The effects of climate change are being felt around the world, and New Jersey is no exception. Residents of the Garden State are experiencing heavier rains, warmer temperatures, and more coastal flooding, and scientists expect these trends to continue through this century. This talk will show examples of how different technology such as geographic information systems (GIS), interactive web tools, and data informatics platforms are being used to communicate information about the potential impacts of climate change across various aspects of New Jersey's people and resources. Demonstrations of various online tools from the NJADAPT program will be conducted to showcase how this technology can be used by various stakeholder groups.

Warehouse Planning: Minimizing Threats to Natural Lands

Tim Brill, Donna Rendeiro

In September 2022, the NJ State Planning Commission adopted Warehouse Siting Guidance. Developed by the Office of Planning Advocacy, the guidance has informed municipal actions and ongoing discussions on how best to manage the proliferation of warehouse development and associated regional and cumulative impacts. The speakers will discuss statistical and geographic trends as well as municipal efforts to proactively plan for warehouse demand, using sound land use practices and planning tools, including OPA’s model warehouse ordinance. The workshop will also include the purpose/progress of a Warehouse Siting Study Working Group, and a presentation of preliminary mapping/visualization layers on warehouse siting criteria, and next steps.

Enhancing Climate Resiliency Through Regional Planning

Barbara Davis, Tricia Aspinwall, Doug Vornlocker

Tricia Aspinwall will present The Nature Conservancy’s Resilient Conservation Science and how the NJ Chapter is using this data to plan for land protection that enhances habitat connectivity and climate resilience in the NJ Appalachians. Doug Vornlocker of Ridge and Valley Conservancy will share RVC’s climate resiliency planning in the Ridge and Valley. Barbara Davis of The Land Conservancy of NJ will share their open space planning work in the NJ Highlands with an eye towards resiliency and flood mitigation.

Challenges and Opportunities

Fixing NJ Parks and Open Spaces

Dr. Jaclyn Rhoads, John "Jay" Watson Jr.

New Jersey parks and open spaces are nationally and internationally recognized. Funding for acquisition and maintenance are critical to continue preserving and protecting these amazing treasures. Learn from the experts about "go to" acquisition funders, opportunities for organizations to help get the money easier, policy changes needed at Green Acres, and how the Fix Our Parks campaign can help with the backlog of maintenance and capital projects on state lands.

Outside Together! The Statewide Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP)

Martha Sapp

On Earth Day, 2022, the Department of Environmental Protection launched its Outside, Together! initiative to guide the preparation of the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan required every five years by the National Park Service. An Advisory Committee representing diverse interest groups developed a set of principles to help guide our future conservation and recreation efforts. We analyzed data to see how we are doing while also conducted public surveys and hosted focus group interviews to hear what the New Jersey residents had to say. Learn about the Outside, Together! process, what our research showed, and what the public’s priorities are. More importantly, let’s talk about what’s next and how you can comment on the draft SCORP during the open public comment period.

Challenges and Opportunities for the Agricultural Community

Eric Derby, Erin Shroll, Cali Alexander

Come to this workshop to learn more about the challenges experienced by the Northwestern New Jersey agricultural community including the aging out of farmers, the rising cost of land, and the lack of available farming leases for new and beginning farmers. Participants will hear what local groups like the Foodshed Alliance, NOFA-NJ, and Sussex County Community College are doing to address these needs and what individuals can personally do to support local agriculture. The second half of the workshop will include an engaging question and answer session with all of our panelists, so bring any questions that you have for our speakers!

Recreation and Equitable Access

Opening the Outdoors: Making Room for the Latino Community

Carla Rodrigo-Herrera, Jeremy Travers

This workshop shows how pairing inclusive programming with community surveys can be used to improve access to outdoor recreation for all. In 2022, PEACE NJ offered bi-lingual fishing clinics for kids and other conservation-oriented events in Hackettstown in order to engage local Spanish-speaking families in environmental stewardship. The organization also surveyed the community to better understand this community’s preferences for outdoor activities and what were barriers to their participation. This workshop will cover survey methods, workshop content, what we (and the community) learned and a discussion on how inclusive outdoor activities might answer other community needs

Creating the Next Generation of Outdoor Enthusiasts

Michael Muckle, Pablo Galesi

Whether it’s training future conservation professionals or instilling a passion for nature in those who will end up in other disciplines, environmental groups must ensure they’re leveraging opportunities to engage young adults through not just education, but also their project work. Thankfully, established local and national organizations with that type of mission can facilitate partnerships, allowing youth to have meaningful and skills-oriented outdoor experiences while furthering environmental work in New Jersey. Join this workshop to hear a panel of youth from the Delaware River Climate Corps and Student Conservation Association talk about their journey, as well as the staff who have organized and engaged with them on a regular basis. Participants will see the importance of working with youth from all backgrounds and gain insights about how to make those partnerships a reality for their own work.

Creating Equal Access to the Outdoors

Peter Dolan, Tom Hennigan

In the last few decades, outdoor recreational activities such as hiking and biking have exploded in popularity, creating a new paradigm of how to create equitable access to outdoor spaces while still preserving their original character. One of the contentious issues in trail design is how and when to address intensive use and provide opportunities for non-traditional trail users such as mountain bikers and those with special needs. In this workshop, presenters will discuss new approaches in trail layout and design to address a new generation of diverse outdoor enthusiasts.


The Indigenous Presence in New Jersey

Elliott Ruga, Dr. Chuck Stead

From first recorded contact with Europeans in 1609 to the Declaration of Independence in 1776,
the Native American population in New Jersey went from estimates of 125 per square mile, to
none, except for a scattered few who retreated to remote areas. Who were the thriving people that
those who came across the salty sea in big wooden boats, bought pandemic diseases and with superior weapons, subjugated, then slaughtered, then drove them from their land. How did they live, what was their culture? Who are the native people who remained? Where are they today?

How to Create a Friends Group

Leslie Bensley, Lisa Wolff

Forming a friends group and sustaining it through the life-cycle of your organization requires an assortment of skills necessary to create and nurture a successful partnership model. This workshop explores the lifecycle of a friends group from startup through growth and maturity. Leslie Bensley will discuss her brand-new organization, Friends of Jockey Hollow, created in 2021 to support, preserve and promote the 1,200 acres of Jockey Hollow, a unit of Morristown National Historical Park. Lisa Wolff will focus on FOHVOS, Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space, a 35+ year-old land trust organization that partners to preserve, protect, and inspire conservation efforts throughout Hopewell Valley, and the Outdoor Equity Alliance, a fiscally sponsored program of FoHVOS, that she co-founded in 2019 to remove barriers and inspire people of all ages, ethnicities, abilities, and income levels to enjoy the outdoors and become more involved in the natural world.

Turning Your Historic Site into a Visitor Destination…and the Funding for Transformation

Dorothy Guzzo

Historic sites are integral to our quality of life and are often the first place many individuals first marvel at history. This session will explore how to become a better steward for your site and create more engaging visitor experiences. Participants will learn the essential elements to becoming a visitor destination, and tips for how and where to find funding.

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