Now that's October, it's time to celebrate trees, autumn and New Jersey's outdoors with the Department of Environmental Protection's 25th Annual Fall Forestry Festival.

The festival is Saturday, Oct. 5 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Forest Resource Education Center in Jackson Township, rain or shine.

DEP spokeswoman Caryn Shinske said the the best way to sum up the festival is to call it a showcase of autumn in New Jersey.

Kids and adults are invited to come out and learn about nature firsthand. It's everything from crafts and seeing wildlife to talking with forestry experts about invasive insects and diseases, beekeeping, forest fires, water and soil conservation, and composting.

Events include maple sugaring, woodworking and acorn planting. For all snake lovers, Shinske said, there will be a session with live native snakes. There will also be carving and whittling.

Shinske said it's also Smokey Bear's 75th birthday year, so Bear will be on hand -- where kids can wish him a happy birthday. There will be hayrides, guided hikes scheduled throughout the day and live music. Nature lovers of all ages can see how a sawmill works.

New Jersey has an abundance of beautiful areas to walk and appreciate nature, Shinske said. Besides a variety of crops and vegetables, there are numerous tree species and forests all across the state.

"The 25th anniversary of The Annual Fall Forestry Festival is a good reminder that we have a long history of forestry in New Jersey. It's not going to go anywhere as long as we take care of our forests and learn what we must do to ensure that they are here for the next generation, " Shinske said.

Admission and parking are both free.

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