The NJSOC has lost its funding partner. Its fate is IN CRISIS. For over 70 years, the School of Conservation has welcomed students, campers, counselors, teachers, Teaching Fellows, and researchers. The office staff frequently greeted returning visitors who shared stories of how important SOC has been in their lives. Today the school is closed, the gate is locked, and Montclair State University’s management of the facility will end on September 1.
The future of the SOC is not guaranteed without OVERWHELMING support. We are facing a perfect storm of challenges: the loss of our long-time partner, Montclair State University, a statewide budget crisis, and a global pandemic.
Unfortunately, the SOC does not have an endowment or safety net. What it has is Friends, and we are asking for your help. Not for a special new project; not for something glamorous or exciting; but for a SURVIVAL PLAN. The Friends of NJSOC is applying for the management contract of SOC. We need your help to unlock the gate, keep the lights on, and maintain and protect our historic buildings while we build the financial strength to relaunch the SOC and all the important programs it provides to the citizens of New Jersey. We are asking for overwhelming 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?
We are asking for your donations and help in getting the word to as many alumni and friends as possible by sharing our video and GoFundMe links:
Save SOC video: https://youtu.be/-LSZq_u2itY
Your support is critical. The time to act is NOW. Spread the word.
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.”