​For more information or to request a custom program, please contact:

Jill Burgy, Lead Educator:  jburgy@ramapo.edu; 732-513-5427


The New Weis Center is a living laboratory situated on 152 acres in the beautiful Highlands region of northern NJ.

facilities include hiking trails, a brook, recreation field, covered pavilion, picnic area, fire circle, rain garden, and main building with large multi-purpose room. Aquaponics and hugelkultur gardens will open in mid-2018, and will provide opportunities for additional learning.

Staff, led by Lead Educator Jill Burgy, provides an attentive, hands-on learning experience and the applied skills to foster a lifelong curiosity for science and nature.

Our programs are designed around NJ state standards, and provide technical skill development immersed in the natural beauty and ecological diversity of the Ramapo Mountains.

Programs run rain or shine.

Please dress appropriately!

Winter Science Lab Series

Don’t let winter put a freeze on your science curriculum! The New Weis Center is excited to offer a Winter Lab Series, beginning with two classes in February. These STEM focused classes will look at different aspects of science in everyday life. This is a drop-off program for pre-registered participants only. Additional experience-based lab classes are coming in March. 

Thursday, February 8 – 12:45-3:00pm 
Physics - Trebuchets: Medieval Machines
Students will explore the basics concepts of simple machines through the function of trebuchets. These medieval battle machines provide an excellent example of physics principles that students encounter every day. We'll use hands-on learning to understand the mechanical structures, and students will build their own trebuchets to take home (materials included). They will formulate a siege plan and determine the farthest distance at which they are able to hit their targets. Working in teams of ‘engineers’ to accomplish the lesson's goals encourages students to develop social skills, learn from each other, and gain an understanding of group planning and execution.

Thursday, February 22 – 12:45-3:00pm 
Chemistry - Ice Creamology
Students will dive into the sweet world of atomic science, understanding the simple reactions of everyday life that give us some of the planets most precious gems, minerals - and desserts! Students will develop their understanding of basic chemical reactions, and how matter and energy interacts on the most basic molecular levels. Students will work in teams to evaluate flavors and create their own unique concoction. Materials included.


  • Grades: 3rd-5th (suggested ages 8-10)
  • Class size: minimum 8, maximum 16
  • Instructors: Lead Educator Jill Burgy, Educator Michael D’Agnilli
  • Fee: $20 per student, $18 family discount for each additional sibling 
  • Payment is due 1 week prior to the class, and is non-refundable
  • Student drop-off at 12:45 pm, 15 minute introduction, lesson begins at 1:00pm

Additional Programs

We welcome homeschool co-ops, and can also create a custom program to suit your learning objectives. Please contact us if you are interested in a program or subject that is not listed.​ 

Read more about our staff at:  http://www.highlandsnaturefriends.org/staff---interns.html 

Our homeschool programs are created by our Lead Educator Jill Burgy, and conducted by Jill and our team of environmental educators. Our hands-on programs are designed to expand and enrich your current science curriculum. Field study programs may be scheduled throughout the year and are rain or shine; students should dress appropriately for outdoor portions of the programs. 8 student minimum group size