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Master Ecologist

February 7 @ 7:00 pm - September 14 @ 9:00 pm

Become a Master Ecologist while using Duke Farms as a living laboratory and network with field experts and professionals.

Course Overview

The Master Ecologist certification course is an adult education series designed for environmental educators, land managers and stewards, private landowners, natural resource professionals, and community members with a passion for our natural environment.

This 8-month course provides the basic foundations for understanding ecological processes and concepts, survey methods, and management techniques. Each month will introduce a new field topic and students will participate in an in-person lecture and outdoor field session related to the month’s topic. This course also has a mandatory asynchronous e-learning component that students will complete through the year and includes readings, videos, online discussions, quizzes, and assignments.

Course completion requirements: Attend 32-hours of in-person field classes and all four e-learning units.

Featured Topics

  • Winter field ecology
  • Spring phenology and migration
  • Wetland delineation
  • Forest regeneration and monitoring
  • Invasive species
  • Freshwater ecosystems
  • Meadow flora and fauna
  • Pollinator ecology
  • Wildlife conservation

Continuing Education Credits

Master Ecologist is approved for credits from the following organizations.

New Jersey Urban and Community Forestry (NJUCF): TBD


Jeff Geist, Community & Professional Education Manager, Duke Farms

Dr. Rick Lathrop, Professor of Environmental Monitoring, Rutgers University

Bill Young, Wetland Scientist, Reforestation Solutions Inc.

Blaine Rothauser, Senior Ecologist, GZA

Dr. Mike Van Clef, Program Directors, NJ Invasive Species Strike Team

Jennifer Rogers, Vice President of Operations, Steward Green

Dr. Kim Russell, Assistant Professor, Rutgers University

Erin McHale, Wildlife Conservation & Management Program, Rutgers University


This program assumes participants have a very basic knowledge of native NJ flora and fauna and understand general ecology concepts. Please note that field classes will take place partially outdoors and will require travelling several miles on various trail types (paved and unpaved) and uneven terrain for up to 2 hours in various weather conditions (cold and hot temperatures, rain, snow, etc.)

Program Guidelines

Pre-registration is required, walk-ins are not be accepted. Please let us know if you are no longer able to attend so your space can be offered to someone else. Cancellations received at least 48 hours in advance are eligible for a refund, if applicable. Programs at Duke Farms are RAIN or SHINE, but in the event of severe weather, classes may be canceled. Email notice will be given as early as possible via email and refunds will be issued in the case of cancellations.

We provide reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities. If a reasonable accommodation is needed to participate, please contact us at registrations@dukefarms.org.

C ourse Schedule

2/7: Master Ecologist Orientation (via Zoom) from 7:00pm-8:00pm

2/24: Winter Field Ecology from 9:00am-1:00pm

3/23: Spring Phenology from 9:00am-1:00pm

4/20: Wetlands from 9:00am-1:00pm

5/18: Forest & Invasive Species Ecology from 9:00am-1:00pm

6/22: Freshwater Ecology from 9:00am-1:00pm

7/27: Meadow Ecology from 9:00am-1:00pm

8/17: Pollinators from 9:00am-1:00pm

9/14: Wildlife Conservation from 5:00pm-9:00om


February 7 @ 7:00 pm
September 14 @ 9:00 pm


Duke Farms
1112 Dukes Parkway West
Hillsborough Township, NJ 08844 United States