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Barnegat Bay Pre-Term Experience

Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science

Our motto “field work early and often” describes the brand of experiential learning embraced by Drexel University's BEES department.

All freshmen enrolled in Drexel University's Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science (BEES) are invited to participate in this unique, hands-on excursion before the start of the Fall term. First-year students get an opportunity to meet their department faculty and learn hands-on field methods that will serve them throughout their academic courses.

This pre-term field excursion takes place at Barnegat Bay Field Station in Waretown, New Jersey, where students can take a step back in time to the longest stretch of Barnegat Bay shoreline that remains undeveloped. The Lighthouse Center at the Barnegat Bay Field Station in Waretown, NJ, is situated on 194 acres of rich coastal habitats: a maritime forest, tidal creek, salt marsh, freshwater pond, brackish impoundment, and bayshore environments. Gain hands-on field research in coastal geology, barrier island morphology, oceanography and sedimentology. In addition, the facility can serve as a base for excursions into the Pine Barrens, a heavily forested area containing many interesting deposits related to the last glacial period. The facility is owned by the NJDEP, Division of Fish and Wildlife, and is managed by the non-profit, Natural Resource Education Foundation of NJ. BEES faculty and staff will lead a series of field trips to explore the variety of coastal, marsh and terrestrial habitats.

Sample Schedule

Day One:

  • Students arrive at Drexel, check in to dorms and store any personal belongings they will not need during the field excursion.
  • Brunch for parents, students and staff
  • Head to Waretown for brief orientation and move in
  • Afternoon sampling and hiking
  • Dinner followed by night lab

Day Two:

  • Canoe trip, weather permitting
  • Algae lab, plant lab, night hike, terrapin talk

Day Three:

  • Small group field trips including: water and sediment sampling in Barnegat Bay, plant and animal identification in the Pine Barrens, tidal and non-tidal exploration in the wetland areas, fish seining along the shoreline of the bay and much more.
  • Pack up and head back to Drexel