Teaching Scholar Program

Teaching Scholar Program: Biodiversity Field Methods


June 24-28, 2019

Tentative agenda:

Biodiversity Field Methods Tentative Agenda


The course will be taught at the New Jersey School of Conservation (NJSOC) campus in Stokes State Forest, Sussex County, New Jersey. Originally constructed as a CCC camp in 1933, the NJSOC is Montclair State University’s environmental field campus and one of the United States’ oldest environmental education centers. The NJSOC is located 55 miles northwest of Montclair State’s main campus and 75 miles northwest of Manhattan (approximate driving distances) on a 240-acre stretch in the middle of Stokes State Forest in Sussex County, New Jersey. Stokes State Forest is within close proximity to a number of federal, state and private land preserves including High Point State Park and The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Together, these lands make up one of the largest undeveloped tracts in New Jersey.

Middle school teachers will have the opportunity to:

  • Conduct a weeklong “BioBlitz” alongside high-level researchers and naturalists to identify birds, fungi, butterflies, mammals, moths and plants and understand the roles these organisms play in NJ ecosystems.
  • Understand how abiotic, biotic, and anthropogenic factors can influence the composition and abundance of these species.
  • Understand conservation concerns for NJ’s biodiversity.
  • Explore the utility of the iNaturalist app and become proficient in using it to identity and record organisms.
  • Analyze local biodiversity data using iNaturalist Bioblitz observations.
  • Make inferences about local biodiversity at the NJSOC compared to their school sites.
  • Produce a collaborative “Field Guide” to the NJSOC and a personal reflective essay on their experience at the BioBlitz.
  • Utilize curriculum resources developed by National Geographic to integrate a Bioblitz into their school curriculum.
  • Translate their new skills to their classroom, school and local community by creating a new lesson or unit plan that applies workshop learning.


Who is eligible to apply? NJ Middle School Teachers.

Teachers from underserved schools will be given priority.

Participants should be in a current middle school teaching position and have strong interests in field biology, ecology, natural history, etc. Participants should be capable of hiking several miles over moderate-difficult terrain and be willing to be outdoors in any weather conditions and at any time of day or night.

Access and Accommodations:

The NJSOC is roughly 75 miles (driving distance) northwest of Manhattan. Because no means of public transportation connect directly to the NJSOC, most participants will need to provide their own transportation; arranging carpools with other participants is strongly encouraged. At the NJSOC, participants will be provided with typical field station lodging and cafeteria meals.



Scholarships will be funded by National Geographic and Montclair State University. Scholarships include all meals, on-site lodging and educational resources.

One to three graduate credits from Montclair State University are available (for a fee).


Up to 45 professional development hours will be awarded upon completion of the program.

One to three graduate credits from Montclair State University are available (for a fee).

For all inquiries regarding academic credit, please contact Dr. Randall FitzGerald at:  fitzgeraldr@montclair.edu


For more information: Contact Tanya Sulikowski, NJSOC Educator/Researcher sulikowskit@montclair.edu.


The application period has closed. Notifications will be made by April 30th.