Master Ecologist

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Master Ecologist

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

When and where


Duke Farms 1112 Dukes Pkwy W Hillsborough, NJ 08844

Map and directions

How to get there

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 1 day before event

About this event

  • 219 days 3 hours
  • Mobile eTicket
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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 an asynchronous e-learning component that students will complete through the year and includes reading, watching videos, participating in discussions, and completing ungraded quizzes.

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

Featured Topics:

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

Please direct any questions to Jeff Geist at

Continuing Education Units

The Master Ecologist course is approved for credits from the following organizations.

New Jersey Urban and Community Forestry (NJUCF): 12 credits


Jeff Geist, Continuing Education Manager, Duke Farms

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

Emily Mayer, Watershed Scientist, Raritan Headwaters

Jessica Ray, Staff Scientist for Ecological Research and Restoration, RVCC

Dr. Mike Van Clef, Program Director, 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

Please stay home if you are sick. Pre-registration is required, walk-ins will not be accepted. No refunds and no exchanging or transferring tickets. Please note that each participant must be registered. Unless otherwise noted, ALL programs at Duke Farms are RAIN or SHINE.

Course Schedule

2/2: Master Ecologist Orientation (via Zoom) from7:00pm-8:00pm

2/11: Winter Field Ecology from 9:00am-1:00pm

3/18 Spring Phenology from 9:00am-1:00pm

3/25: E-Learning Unit 1 due

4/8: Freshwater Ecology from 9:00am-1:00pm

5/20: Forest Ecology from 9:00am-1:00pm

5/27: E-Learning Unit 2 due

6/17: Invasive Species from 9:00am-1:00pm

7/22: Meadow Ecology from 9:00am-1:00pm

7/29: E-Learning Unit 3 due

8/19: Pollinators from 9:00am-1:00pm

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

9/16: E-Learning Unit 4 due

Frequently asked questions

Can I receive an invoice for my order so my employer can process payment?
I am not in a career in a related field, can I still attend this course?
What if I am unable to attend a field trip class?
Do you offer financial aid or scholarships?
What will the class be doing during the field trips?
Is the asynchronous e-learning component required?
What if the course is sold out and I am still interested in it?