Have fun and teach your kids to conserve and protect our air, water, land and wildlife for a cleaner, healthier, and safer place to live, work, and play.

Your family is invited to have some free, hands-on, meaningful fun at Earth Care Day  on Sunday, Oct. 13th, 11 am  -  3 pm, at CheeseQuake State Park in Matawan.

Brought to you by our great friends at New Jersey Natural Gas (and modeled after their Ocean Fun Days program) and the Ocean First Foundation, EarthShare New Jersey's Earth Care Day is designed to provide people of all ages with hands-on environmental experiences.

Each of the dozens of exhibitors will give you great environmental tips while you and your kids participate in experiences that will give you life-long lessons about our natural surroundings. There will be many displays to visit, along with tours and workshops to take part in.

Sign up at the front tent because space is limited. Here are some of the amazing experiences you can choose from:

TREE PLANTING: Registration suggested. Help replace some of the trees damaged during Hurricane Sandy at 11:15 am, 12:15 pm, 1:15 pm, or 2:15 pm (30 min. sessions.)

BIRDING WALK & TALK: Registration required. Experts will teach you the basics of birding. Successfully complete the Ocean First Foundation Bird Scavenger Hunt for a special prize at 11:30 am, 12:45pm, or 2 pm (35 min. sessions.)

FOREST EXPLORATION: Registration required. Take this guided 3/4 mile trail adventure to learn more about the beauty hidden in plain sight at Noon or 1:30 pm (45 minute sessions.)

Note: Tours involve walking and may not be stroller-friendly. Planting and family volunteer activity participants will get dirty. Facilities are available for changing.

DEMONSTRATIONS:

-- Critter & Creature Meet & Greet: Meet some of the year-round residents of NJ (ongoing throughout the day.)

-- Bats & Houses: Join Conserve Wildlife Foundation biologists to learn about bat species found in NJ, their benefits, challenges they face, and what we can do to help them thrive. Learn how to build a bat house to help these important creatures Completed houses will be available for purchase! 11:45 am, 1 pm, or 2:15 pm (30 min. sessions.)

FAMILY VOLUNTEERING:

-- Native Gardening: Learn what a native garden is and why it is important while helping to build a native garden in the park. Ongoing throughout the day, so stop by and help out!

-- Erosion Prevention: Registration required. Parts of the lake are being impacted by erosion. Help shore up the Hook Creek Lake shore line. (11 am and 1 pm)

-- Maintaining the Trails: Registration required. The 7 miles of trails throughout the park need some work. Volunteers will help to define existing paths for easier passage by park visitors. (Noon or 2 pm)

--  EarthShare NJ Scavenger Hunt: Visit exhibits with the Earth Care Day Flag to complete the Scavenger Hunt. When you're done, claim your prize at the front tent when your card is complete.

Cheesequake State Park is a fabulous  place to explore a variety of east coast ecosystems from lowland salt marsh to upland woodlands. Cheesequake's trails allow visitors to step into woodlands, traverse marshes, watch wildlife, hear birds, and smell the earth -- all within a short distance of the Parkway. Exploring the park is easy with hiking/biking trails, camping, picnicking, fishing, hunting, swimming, kayaking, canoeing and visits to the nature center. For directions, CLICK HERE.

New Jersey Natural Gas invites you to sign up for FREE E-Tips for energy-saving ideas and events such as Earth Care Day in order to learn how you can join in their efforts to make a difference in the lives of future generations . NJNG encourages customers and communities to use energy wisely for the preservation of our environment and natural resources. Visit the Save Energy & Money section of NJNG.com. While there, visit My Account to sign up for FREE E-Tips, energy-saving ideas and the latest info on rebates, incentives, programs and events like Earth Care Day.

OceanFirst Foundation has built a solid reputation and legacy as a good neighbor and responsible corporate citizen, providing grants to organizations that meet community needs. Through the foundation, hundreds of local charities and schools have received more than $39 million in grants to enrich lives in areas such as Housing, Youth Development and Education, Improving Quality of Life, Health and Wellness, and the Arts.