Friends of the New Jersey School of Conservation

The NJ School of Conservation is in crisis.  

For over 70 years, the SOC welcomed students, campers, counselors, teachers, Teaching Fellows, and researchers to its renowned campus. But now the school is closed, the gate is locked, and Montclair State University’s management of the facility ends September 1st. We’re facing a perfect storm of challenges: the loss of our long-time partner MSU, a statewide budget crisis, and a global pandemic. 

But we have a plan.

The Friends of NJSOC is applying for the SOC’s management contract. We need your help to unlock the gate, keep the lights on, and maintain & protect our historic buildings, while we build the financial strength to relaunch the School and the important programs it provides the citizens of New Jersey. 

We’re asking for your support to save our nation’s oldest environmental education center and continue its mission at a time when we need it most. Will you invest in the future of the School of Conservation?

Donate and help get the word to as many alumni and friends as possible by sharing our video and GoFundMe links:

Save SOC video:

Your support is critical. The time to act is NOW.

About the School of Conservation

NJSOC has a long and celebrated history, beginning in 1949 when officials from the Department of Higher Education, college presidents, the Department of Conservation and Economic Development, politicians, and conservationists worked together to realize the promise of a world-class outdoor education center in an abandoned CCC camp. It played a key role in the development of the environmental education movement, and has served as a model for environmental centers throughout the world. The SOC’s resident programs and summer camps have served more than 400,000 students, teachers, masters and doctoral candidates, faculty and visiting professionals from every walk of life through the nearly 40,000 workshops and environmental education programs offered at the SOC over its 71-year history.

In 1981, Governor Brendan Byrne signed legislation designating that the New Jersey School of Conservation shall be used in perpetuity as a school for environmental field study under the direction of the Board of Trustees of Montclair State College. The 1981 law earmarked state funds to annually be granted to Montclair State College expressly to support the operations of NJSOC … in perpetuity. (N.J.S.A. 18A:64I-1).

In light of First Lady Tammy Murphy’s recent announcement that NJ will be the first state in the nation to incorporate Climate Change across the K-12 curriculum, the School of Conservation stands poised to deliver the teacher training and support to make New Jersey the nation’s leader in climate change education. This promise will remain unfulfilled unless we, the citizens of New Jersey, take action now.

There has always been something about the School of Conservation that inspires creativity, collaboration, and a special kind of magic that brings people together for the greater good. As former Director Dr. John J. Kirk noted on the School’s 50th anniversary:

“The School of Conservation is more than a unique educational facility, it is more than its fifty-seven buildings, sparkling lake, exciting trout streams, lush forests and rolling hills. The New Jersey School of Conservation is all of these, but much more; for it is a spirit, a dream, and a hope for the future that tends to enrich the lives of all who are privileged to participate in its many varied programs. May it always be thus.”

Donate to ensure the survival of the School of Conservation.

The Friends of NJSOC unites the thousands of campers, students, teachers, faculty and friends touched by the New Jersey School of Conservation in supporting the School’s mission.

The Friends of the New Jersey School of Conservation is a U.S. tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.  All donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.  For tax guidance please consult your tax professional. INFORMATION FILED WITH THE ATTORNEY GENERAL CONCERNING THIS CHARITABLE SOLICITATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY BY CALLING (973) 504-6215. REGISTRATION WITH THE ATTORNEY GENERAL DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT.