The Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, located in Bernardsville, Basking Ridge, and Harding Township, NJ, has its beginnings in the 1965 donation of 125 acres by Mr. and Mrs. Harry Scherman to the New Jersey Audubon Society.
Later, in 1973 and 1975, Mr. G. Frederick Hoffman donated parcels of land. The Hoffman estate house and caretaker’s house were added to the Sanctuary in 1981, at the time of Mr. Hoffman’s death. Most recently in 2018 another 22.85 acres across Hardscrabble Road were added to the sanctuary through a donation by the granddaughters of Harry and Bernadette Scherman. This completes what is now the Scherman-Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, 298 acres of woodland, field, and floodplain habitat supporting over 200 species of wildlife over the course of a year.
The Hoffman estate house, added on to and renovated in 2004-5, is now New Jersey Audubon’s magnificent Hoffman Center for Conservation and Environmental Education. The Center, located in the foothills of the Highlands, boasts an environmental learning center, tree-top level observation deck, Nature Store, Wayrick Art Gallery and exhibits. The Center also houses New Jersey Audubon staff offices, as well as the office of the NJAS President. The bird-feeding station next to the building is a popular attraction for birds and birdwatchers alike and can be viewed from the comfort of our Nature Store inside of the building. The property has the unique feature of a deer exclosure which prevents deer browsing in 14 acres surrounding the building. This exclosure gives visitors the opportunity to observe the difference between habitat that is been over browsed by deer and habitat that has been protected.
Well-maintained and marked trails traverse the Sanctuary, ranging in length from 0.3 miles to 1.3 miles and passing through upland deciduous forest, fields, woodland, and the floodplain along the headwaters of the Passaic River. The Sanctuary is home to more than 60 species of nesting birds, and over 200 species of birds have been sighted at the Sanctuary, including as many as 25 species of warblers during spring migration. Nesting birds of interest include Worm-eating Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Pileated Woodpecker, Wild Turkey, and Great-horned and Screech owls. Red Fox, Long-tailed Weasel, Mink, numerous White-tailed Deer, Eastern Chipmunk, Gray and Red squirrels, Coyote, and many other mammals inhabit the diverse habitat at Scherman-Hoffman.
Scherman-Hoffman is conveniently located within minutes of the Morristown National Historical Park (Jockey Hollow preserves more than 2,500 acres, including the Cross Estate), the 7,000 acre Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, the Somerset County Environmental Education Center, the Raptor Trust, Washington Valley Park’s Chimney Rock Hawk Watch, and Montclair Hawk Watch.
If you come across an injured or orphaned animal please do not contact us. We are not able to handle that kind of request. Please contact your local animal control center or wildlife rehabilitation center.
Things To Do
- Nature Store
- Shop Optics
- Art Gallery
- Guided Walks
- Field Trips
We offer a selection of nature-based badge programs for Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts. To schedule a program for your troop, please call 908-396-6386 or register in person at the center.
Programs are 90 minutes, and take place at Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary. The cost is $100 for the first 10 Scouts, and $10 per additional scout or participating sibling up to a total of 20 participants.
Please contact us about community service projects, Eagle Scout projects, or Bronze, Silver, or Gold projects.
Browse through our selection of informative programs about birds, wildlife, plants and gardening, and conservation and ecology. Our programs are popular with garden clubs, senior centers, libraries, corporations, civic groups, and more.
We bring our program to your location; the fee is $200 plus mileage.
If you would like to visit our beautiful 299 acre sanctuary, we also offer these programs for your group at our center. Please call for details.
To schedule a program, please call 908-396-6386.
School and Youth Environmental Education Programs
Bring your students to our Sanctuary for a hands-on outdoor program.
Birthday parties are a NJ Audubon member benefit. If you are not a member you can join at anytime and schedule a birthday party for your child.
Children’s Birthday Parties
Celebrate the nature lover in your family! Treat your child to a nature-themed birthday party! Your child and guests will have a wildly fun time exploring the sanctuary with our naturalists. Search for birds or other natural treasures at our pond, stream or on our trails; meet our live animals at the center or build a fairy or gnome house in our enchanted forest!
Birthday parties are a New Jersey Audubon member benefit! An active family membership is required. If you are not a member, you can join at any time before scheduling a birthday party for your child. The family membership is just $40 for the year.
· Parties are held all year long.
· Parties are reserved for a two-hour period.
· The cost is $250 for a party of up to 15 children; an additional charge of $10 per child will be added for parties up to a maximum of 20 children.
· A $50 deposit along with proof of membership will hold your reservation. Deposits are non-refundable within 14 days of your scheduled party.
· Payment of balance is due the day of your party.
· Memberships are not refundable.
· Call Stephanie (908) 396-6594 to schedule a birthday party.
Staff & Personnel
Nature Center Assistant
Nature Center Assistant
- No litter
- No picnicking, fires, or camping
- No alcoholic beverages
- No pets
- No vehicles, bicycles, skateboards or horses on the trails
- No hunting, trapping, or woodcutting
- Fishing by special license only