• Naturalist Notes: December, 2017

    NATURALIST’S NOTES:

    Fall is slowly coming to an end, and everything in nature is readying for winter. Plants are closing up shop, migrants are leaving, forest residents are prepping to sleep or stick it out; and we are here to enjoy it all. Late fall is probably my favorite time to be in the woods.  Deep breaths of cool autumn air, the sound of crunching leaves under my feet, and that magical fall smell of the forest are just some the reasons to take a hike in December.  With the leaves off the trees, visibility is increased and you would be amazed at the number of last years’ nests that are visible now. Animal watching reaches new levels, since seeing birds of all kinds and mammals is easy without leaves blocking your view. The sounds of the forest are enhanced as well. I am always amazed at how far the sounds of woodpeckers can travel in a leafless forest. It’s not just the loud and obvious, but the soft sounds of squirrels’ claws on the bark of tree as they scurry up to safety, and the footsteps of deer traipsing along can finally be heard. As the temperature drops and the days shorten, and we are often feeling trapped inside, let’s not forget what a great time it is to be outside.

    See you on the trails,
    Marc Gussen, Naturalist

     


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  • Newsletter — December, 2017

    DECEMBER EVENTS AND CLASSES

     

    ***** A Gift From the Forest *****

    Looking for that perfect gift for your special somebody? 

    How about a legacy of wooded bliss! A place to walk in the woods! 

    Click --> HERE <-- to purchase the gift of membership in the Closter Nature Center TODAY

     

    After-School Programs:

    Rocks + Minerals

    This month’s after-school program will be about the amazing world of geology. We will get to see the Nature Center’s incredible collection of rocks and minerals, and make our very own crystals to take home and eat!
    This program will be inside and out so please dress for the weather!

    Pk-K   Tuesdays   5th - 12th - 19th 
    1st and 2nd  Wednesdays  6th - 13th - 20th
    3rd thru 6th  Thursdays  7th - 14th - 21st

    Cost: $40 members, $50 non-members

    Time: 3:45pm - 5:00pm

    TO REGISTER ONLINE:

    Go to  https://register.capturepoint.com/Closter , and you will be taken to our online registration and payment system.  

    If you would prefer to register in person, call Marc Gussen at (201) 750-2778, fill out a registration form and bring the form along with payment in full (check or cash) to the first class. 

    You can pick up a registration form at the Log Cabin, 154 Ruckman Road, Closter, NJ 07624. Or, you can download a copy here: http://closternaturecenter.org/after-school-classes-registration-form

     

     

    Holiday Break Classes:

    Tuesday, December 26th through Friday, December 29th

    Need something fun and educational for the kids to do 

    during the holiday break?

    We have the answer: four days of Nature exploration and animal fun here at the Closter Nature Center.  Our Break programs have been such a success, we are going to run them again. Depending on your schedule you can sign up for one, two, three, or all the days.

    We will try to spend time outside each day, so please dress for the weather.

    Tuesday, December 26th through Friday, December 29th

    1st and 2nd grade 9:00 - 11:30 AM
    3rd thru 6th grade 1:00 - 3:30 PM 

    Cost: $80 full session, Members; $100 full session NON-members

                 $25 per day for members, $30 per day for non-members

    PLEASE REGISTER ONLINE AT: https://register.capturepoint.com/Closter

    Link takes you to CommunityPass, our online registration and payment system. If you would prefer to register in person, call Marc Gussen at (201) 750-2778, fill out a registration form and bring the form along with payment in full (check or cash) to the first class. 

     

    Bergen County Christmas Bird Count
    Saturday, December 16th, 11AM to 2PM 

    All Skill Levels Welcome
    The Closter Nature Center is going to participate in the Bergen County Audubon's Annual Christmas Bird Count for the third time!  We need spotters with binoculars who can at least distinguish a cardinal from a crow, a chickadee from a blue jay.   Learners are very welcome, but we hope several more experienced folk will enjoy the opportunity, and help us out as well.  

    Come to the cabin first to learn the system, then, spread out in small groups to an area of the Nature Center and record as best you can what you see.  If you can't name the bird, note its appearance.  

    We'll have books available to help you confirm a best guess. Stay for an hour or more, as you are able.  Less sturdy hikers are welcome to monitor our busy feeders near the cabin and walk the level ground near the ponds. 

     No matter the weather, the event will take place, so be sure to dress warmly, especially your feet!   The cabin will be open throughout the day.  

    A few extra binoculars are available at the Nature Center, and Susan McTigue and Jim Lager will be on hand to assist.

    Hardy Volunteers Needed for Tree Survey 

    Ever wanted to learn more about the trees in our Nature Center? We are looking for a few volunteers willing to participate in a workshop followed by a tree survey in the woods.   The workshop will be held on Saturday, January 13th from 1:30 to 3:30 PM, at the Cabin. There may be an additional time scheduled on Saturday, January 20th, starting at 1:30 PM.

    This is an opportunity to learn how to identify ash trees and also, the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), an invasive beetle killing these trees in our area. EABs are a small, green beetle that targets Ash trees, a tree common to our Nature Center. The Emerald Ash Borer is virtually unstoppable and has already been identified in Rockleigh, Hillsdale and Paramus. 

    In the central section of the Nature Center, between the White and Red Trails, almost 20 % of the trees are Green Ash. After learning to identify ash trees, participants will be divided into at least 2 teams and assigned a section of the Nature Center to mark all the ash trees they can be sure of.  These ash trees will then be located on a GPS database so that it will be easier to return and check on each tree in the future.  By clearly identifying where ash trees are grouped or single, we can better anticipate how the canopy will change as they almost inevitably die off, and we can better plan for locating replacement trees.  There will certainly be additional opportunities for volunteers to assist in this identification and survey work but we especially need hardy souls willing to learn and then hike through the cold woods on Saturday, Jan. 13th, with their best observation skills at work.  Please e-mail Mary Mayer (marym812@aol.com) if you plan to attend...or if you have questions.

    MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

    CNC MONTH BY MONTH:

    December 16th – Christmas Bird Count, 11 AM -2 PM,  

    December 26-29…Holiday Break Nature Classes

    January 28th Welcome Winter Night Hike, with bonfire! 

    6:30 to 8 PM

    February 11th at 2 PM “Meet the Animals of the CNC”

    February 19-22—Winter Break Classes

    March “Last Chance Winter Hike” March 18th at 2 PM

    Native Plant Society of NJ...Date and time TBA

    April 9th – 12th Spring Break Classes

    April 15th Soup Supper 5-7 PM

    April 22th Earth Day

    May – Annual Meeting 

    June 3rd - Pond Celebration (June 10th rain date)


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  • CNC NATURALIST RECEIVES AWARD

    Northern Valley Press, Front Page

    CNC NATURALIST MARC GUSSEN RECEIVES NJ AUDUBON AWARD

     

    Marc Gussen receiving NJ Audubon award.


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  • Looking for a Home? Check Out Closter, N.J.

    The Bergen County borough has lots of parks and good schools, but the buzz now is about shopping

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/check-out-closter-n-j-1469808827

    Closter, N.J., has a reputation for good schools and plenty of parks, but what has folks talking these days is a shopping center.

    The mall, Closter Plaza, is getting a new look and new retailers. And the changes have the Bergen County borough thinking about its future, said Mayor John Glidden.

    “It’s really exciting the entire town,” Mr. Glidden said. “It’s going to improve the look of the town because the developers are doing a first-class job.”


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  • Naturalist Notes: November, 2017

    With Thanksgiving around the corner, it's time to take a look at what is important to us and to give credit to many of the things that we take for granted. For me, this list begins with my loving wife and children and includes simple amenities like running water, healthy food and of course, access to nature. If we took a look around the world, we would see the bulk of human population living in urban areas often with little to no natural world around them. Luckily for us, even though we live in the most densely populated state in the country, we can take advantage of so much that a metropolis offers, yet still bask in the glory of nature. One of the things that we at the Closter Nature Center aim to provide for the members of our community is a chance to experience nature. The land here was preserved with both wildlife and US in mind. I am thankful that I get to live in such a beautiful place, and that I get a chance to share my love, knowledge and passion concerning nature with all who are interested and in need of the magic that nature can bring to our lives.

    See you on the trails,
    Marc Gussen, Naturalist
    Cute Kid’s Quote: "Dogs are my favorite people."

      -Willow 


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  • Newsletter — November, 2017

    NOVEMBER EVENTS AND CLASSES

     

    *** Annual Membership Drive ***

    Welcome to our newest members! If you’ve joined our Nature Center in the past six months, we say thanks and hope that you've been enjoying the trails. 

    For everyone else, it is time to show your support and renew your membership! 

    With nearly 400 members, the Closter Nature Center is an active and vital part of the community. We provide hundreds of hours of nature programming for children, lectures for adults and a great place to sit and enjoy the day. Some of our projects this year have included building two new bridges, a new website and upgrading to an online registration system. But we can’t do this without your support! Please renew your membership in the envelope provided with your print newsletter, or go to our website at www.closternaturecenter.org  and renew online. 

    And thanks!

     

    After-School Programs“MAMMALS OF THE NATURE CENTER”


    This month’s program will focus on our furry friends. We will be outside as much as possible.

    PK-K  Tuesdays  7th -14th- 21st
    1st-2nd  Wednesdays  8th- 15th -22nd
    3rd-6th  Thursdays  9th -16th  -30th *

    Cost: $40 members, $50 non-members

    Time: 3:45pm - 5:00pm

    TO REGISTER ONLINE:

    Go to  https://register.capturepoint.com/Closter , and you will be taken to our online registration and payment system.  

    If you would prefer to register in person, call Marc Gussen at (201) 750-2778, fill out a registration form and bring the form along with payment in full (check or cash) to the first class. 

    You can pick up a registration form at the Log Cabin, 154 Ruckman Road, Closter, NJ 07624. Or, you can download a copy here: http://closternaturecenter.org/after-school-classes-registration-form

    Cute Kid’s Quote: "Dogs are my favorite people."

      -Willow 

    Community Program: SAVE THE HONEY BEES!

    Sunday, November 12th at 3 PM 

    The president of Ramapo College of NJ's Beekeepers Club, Pat Harrison, will be coming to speak on what Honey Beekeeping entails, its importance, and what someone can do to help struggling bee populations. This event will be kid friendly! Pat Harrison is a senior in Environmental Science at Ramapo College and a backyard beekeeper of three years.

     

     

     

    CNC NATURALIST MARC GUSSEN RECEIVES NJ AUDUBON AWARD

          The Nature Center's beloved naturalist Marc Gussen is the recipient of the New Jersey Audubon's Informal Educator of the Year Award.  On Saturday, October 21, Marc, his wife Kimberly and his mother traveled to the 3-day Fall Festival event in Cape May. Marc says he was very honored to be chosen for this award.  "My goal every day is to generate excitement about the Nature Center and our natural surroundings.  Even if kids don't remember everything I say, I know they will remember the fun of being outdoors and being exposed to the wonders surrounding us.  Every minute that I can get them away from an electronic device and into the woods is a huge success."

         The Board of Directors of the Closter Nature Center congratulates Marc on this deserved recognition and thanks him for making the Nature Center the unique place that it is.

    LOOKING AHEAD:  DECEMBER CLASSES AND EVENTS:

    December After-School Classes:

    Rocks + Minerals

    December’s after-school program will be about the amazing 

    world of geology.
    We will get to see the Nature Center’s incredible collection of rocks and minerals and get to make our very own crystals to take home and eat!
    This program will be inside and out so please dress for the weather!

    Pk-K  
    Tuesdays   5th - 12th - 19th 

    1st and 2nd  Wednesdays  6th - 13th - 20th
    3rd thru 6th  Thursdays  7th - 14th - 21st

    Cost: $40 members, $50 non-members

    Time: 3:45pm - 5:00pm

    Holiday Break Classes:

    Tuesday, December 26th through Friday, December 29th

    Need something fun and educational for the kids to do 

    during the holiday break?

    We have the answer: four days of Nature exploration and animal fun here at the Closter Nature Center.  Our Break programs have been such a success, we are going to run them again. Depending on your schedule you can sign up for one, two, three, or all the days.

    We will try to spend time outside each day, so please dress for the weather.

    Tuesday, December 26th through Friday, December 29th

    1st and 2nd grade 9:00 - 11:30
    3rd thru 6th grade 1:00 - 3:30 

    Cost: $20 per day for members, $30 per day for non-members

    TO REGISTER ONLINE:

    go to: https://register.capturepoint.com/Closter

     and you will be taken to CommunityPass, our online registration and payment system.  

    If you would prefer to register in person, call Marc Gussen at (201) 750-2778, fill out a registration form and bring the form along with payment in full (check or cash) to the first class. 

    You can pick up a registration form at the Log Cabin, 154 Ruckman Road, Closter, NJ 07624. Or, you can download a copy here: http://closternaturecenter.org/after-school-classes-registration-form

    ***BERGEN COUNTY AUDUBON ***

     * CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT *

    Coming on December 16th

    Details in next month’s News!

    Winter break classes will be Monday, February 19th -Thursday, February 22nd

    Spring break classes will be Monday, April 9th  -

    Thursday, April 12th 


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  • Naturalist Notes: October, 2017

    October is a magical time of the year. Transition from summer to fall brings the fireworks display of foliage as the trees lose their leaves, the migration of birds and Monarch butterflies, and my favorite: the proliferation of mushrooms. A handful of species are prized as food, but other than those, most are ignored and are often maligned.

     Mushrooms are actually just the "fruit" of a fungus. As an apple tree makes apples - fungi make mushrooms. Their importance in the forest is eclipsed only by trees themselves; forests simply could not survive without fungi. They exist in the forest soil, and on living and dead trees. They act as decomposers, parasites, and sometimes as mutualistic “symbionts” (which help living plants to get water and nutrients from the soil). When the fungi are ready to reproduce, they make their reproductive structures: mushrooms. The mushrooms make spores, which are the fungi's version of seeds. Mushrooms come in an amazing variety of shapes, sizes and colors, and October is probably the best time to experience and enjoy this enchanting slice of forest life.


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  • Newsletter — October, 2017

    OCTOBER EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES

    October After-School Classes:

    Bones, Bats and Black Cats

    Nature with a taste of Halloween!

    This month we will learn about skeletons, nocturnal animals and mythical creatures. 

    Please dress for the weather.

    PK and K - Tuesdays - 10th - 17th - 24th

    1st and 2nd - Wednesdays - 11th - 18th - 25th

    3rd through 6th - Thursdays - 12th - 19th - 26th

    TO REGISTER ONLINE:

    go to: https://register.communitypass.net/closter/ and you will be taken to CommunityPass, our online registration and payment system.  

    If you would prefer to register in person, call Marc Gussen at (201) 750-2778, fill out a registration form and bring the form along with payment in full (check or cash) to the first class. 

    You can pick up a registration form at the Log Cabin, 154 Ruckman Road, Closter, NJ 07624. Or, you can download a copy here: http://closternaturecenter.org/after-school-classes-registration-form

    A Fall Hike in the Woods: 

    Sunday, October 15, at 2 PM

    Come visit the Nature Center and join us for a hike along our trails. Enjoy the wonders of autumn!  Meet at the cabin by the Ruckman Pond.

    HAWKS OVER THE HUDSON at STATE LINE LOOKOUT

    Sunday, October 1st  FROM 12-4

    On Sunday, October 1st, State Line Lookout in Alpine, in the Palisades Interstate Park in New Jersey, will host a special nature event called “Hawks Over the Hudson.” To be held rain or shine from 12 to 4 PM, the program will feature live birds of prey, presented by the Delaware Valley Raptor Center at 1 and 2:30 PM. Between the programs, visitors will have a chance to see the animals up close, chat with the presenters, and to enjoy activities and exhibits presented by some of the member organizations of the Nature Program Cooperative. The program is free and open to all, with no advanced registration required to attend.  State Line Lookout is accessible via its own exit on the northbound Palisades Interstate Parkway about 2 miles north of Exit 2 (a well-marked U-turn is available for southbound travelers).

    The presentation will be held under a tent, but if weather permits, visitors will also be able to stop by an ongoing “hawk watch” only a few yards beyond the parking area — and over 500 feet above the Hudson River. There they can try their luck at spotting wild “raptors” — hawks, eagles, and falcons—as they migrate south. Throughout the fall, volunteer observers congregate at the lookout point to identify the passing raptors, part of a continent-wide study conducted by the Hawk Migration Association of North America. All through September and October and into early November, the State Line hawk watch welcomes visitors who want to learn more about these magnificent animals. While an occasional eagle will glide by the lookout at eye-level, visitors will also learn how experienced observers use a combination of clues like silhouettes and flight patterns to identify even those animals that pass hundreds of feet overhead. (Visitors to the hawk watch are encouraged to bring binoculars with them if they can.)

    NATURALIST’S NOTES:

    October is a magical time of the year. Transition from summer to fall brings the fireworks display of foliage as the trees lose their leaves, the migration of birds and Monarch butterflies, and my favorite: the proliferation of mushrooms. A handful of species are prized as food, but other than those, most are ignored and are often maligned.

     Mushrooms are actually just the "fruit" of a fungus. As an apple tree makes apples - fungi make mushrooms. Their importance in the forest is eclipsed only by trees themselves; forests simply could not survive without fungi. They exist in the forest soil, and on living and dead trees. They act as decomposers, parasites, and sometimes as mutualistic “symbionts” (which help living plants to get water and nutrients from the soil). When the fungi are ready to reproduce, they make their reproductive structures: mushrooms. The mushrooms make spores, which are the fungi's version of seeds. Mushrooms come in an amazing variety of shapes, sizes and colors, and October is probably the best time to experience and enjoy this enchanting slice of forest life.

    A New Bench

    The Closter Nature Center has a new bench from which to enjoy viewing our beautiful pond.   The bench was given in memory of our friend and former Board member George Heise, and was made possible by donations made in his name.  His daughter Lori hopes everyone enjoys many relaxing and peaceful moments there, with family, friends and nature.

    AUTUMN: The Perfect Time to Clean Out Your Closets!

    Bring your unwanted clothing to the bins located in the new Stop and Shop parking lot, and the proceeds will benefit the Closter Nature Center

    Look for the blue and green receptacles, towards the front of the parking lot on Demarest Ave.

    Put your unwanted clothing to good use!


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  • Naturalist Notes: September, 2017

    September is here and the kids are back in school. While children learn many things both academic and social in school, the relatively new subject of Environmental Education is the one we at the Nature Center are most concerned with.  By learning about natural systems, the field of ecology, and society’s impact on nature, they will be able to appreciate nature and make decisions with the good of our planet in mind.

    A lot of what we teach here is the science behind nature, and also how to go outside and have fun! Armed with a knowledge of our world and a love for its’ wonders, kids will be able to enjoy and preserve our ecosystems for the future. Our programs are designed to accent the state science curriculums for children from Kindergarten through 8th grade. They are based on what kids are supposed to learn, but with a good bit of extra natural history and eco-awareness. We hope to provide these to our local schools for years to come.

    See you on the trails...Marc Gussen, Naturalist


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  • Newsletter — September, 2017

    SEPTEMBER EVENTS AND CLASSES:

     

    September After-School Programs

    “Reptiles and Amphibians”

    This month’s after-school program will explore the world of reptiles and amphibians.

    This program will be both inside and outside so please dress for the weather.

    PK and Kindergarten - Tuesdays - 12th - 19th - 26th

    1st and 2nd grade - Wednesdays - 13th - 20th - 27th

    3rd through 6th grade - Thursdays -14th - 21st - 28th

    Cost: $40 members, $50 non-members
    Time: 3:45pm - 5:00pm

    TO REGISTER FOR CLASSES ONLINE BY CREDIT CARD OR CHECK, CLICK ON LINK BELOW

    OR, call Marc : at (201) 750-2778 to reserve a place in class. Then, bring to the first class a check, (preferably not cash), for the proper amount, made out to the Closter Nature Center.

    HAWKS OVER THE HUDSON at STATE LINE LOOKOUT

    Sunday, October 1st  FROM 12-4

    On Sunday, October 1st, State Line Lookout in Alpine, in the Palisades Interstate Park in New Jersey, will host a special nature event called “Hawks Over the Hudson.” To be held rain or shine from 12 to 4 PM, the program will feature live birds of prey, presented by the Delaware Valley Raptor Center at 1 and 2:30 PM. Between the programs, visitors will have a chance to see the animals up close, chat with the presenters, and to enjoy activities and exhibits presented by some of the member organizations of the Nature Program Cooperative. The program is free and open to all, with no advanced registration required to attend.  State Line Lookout is accessible via its own exit on the northbound Palisades Interstate Parkway about 2 miles north of Exit 2 (a well-marked U-turn is available for southbound travelers).

    The presentation will be held under a tent, but if weather permits, visitors will also be able to stop by an ongoing “hawk watch” only a few yards beyond the parking area — and over 500 feet above the Hudson River. There they can try their luck at spotting wild “raptors” — hawks, eagles, and falcons—as they migrate south. Throughout the fall, volunteer observers congregate at the lookout point to identify the passing raptors, part of a continent-wide study conducted by the Hawk Migration Association of North America. All through September and October and into early November, the State Line hawk watch welcomes visitors who want to learn more about these magnificent animals. While an occasional eagle will glide by the lookout at eye-level, visitors will also learn how experienced observers use a combination of clues like silhouettes and flight patterns to identify even those animals that pass hundreds of feet overhead. (Visitors to the hawk watch are encouraged to bring binoculars with them if they can.)

    SUMMER PROGRAM WRAP-UP: 

    The 2017 Summer Program was our most successful summer in the past 10 years.  150 children enjoyed exploring our trails, streams and ponds with Naturalist Marc and an amazing group of volunteers. The children learned about the environment, the local ecosystem and the many special animals who call our center home, including a special summer resident named “Soupy.”  Children came from 26 different towns in Bergen County.  In addition to the Northern Valley and Pascack Valley towns in New Jersey, children also came from Bergenfield, Cresskill, Dumont, Englewood, Fairlawn, New Milford, Fairlawn, Teaneck, Woodcliff Lake and Wyckoff.  Children also came from the Rockland County towns of Nanuet, Nyack, Palisades and Piermont.  We even had a returning camper from Bradford, Mass.

    The Board of Trustees wishes to thank all the volunteers who worked tirelessly most of the summer ensuring that all the children enjoyed themselves.  Jason Tong,  Marin Moore, Zachary Weiss, Sophie Clarke, Derin Ayas, Olivia Grecco, Tanner Marshall, Sienna Fenu, Wally Chang, Luke Brajkovic, Ashley Kennedy, Sarah Keppler and Shauna McLean.  These hard working, dedicated volunteers ensured that each child was safe and happy.

    Many thanks also to musician Steve Kelman, for visiting our summer program and playing for the kids.

    The Board also greatly appreciates the generosity of Adri Lindgren who made the facilities of the Lindgren School and Camp available to Marc and our volunteers for a wonderfully relaxing pool party.  We also wish to thank Closter #1 for their continued support and generosity.  A special thanks goes out to the Haworth Library for the donation of Eclipse Viewing glasses for the children who participated the week of August 21.  They all enjoyed a safe and spectacular view from canoes on the pond.

    We look forward to another wonderful summer next year.  In the mean time we hope to see our campers back on the trails this fall.

    TAKING STEPS TO PROTECT OUR FOREST: 

    AN IMPORTANT UPDATE:

    All forested areas of northern NJ are under pressure from two main sources:

    1) invasive plant and animal species, and 2) a warming climate to which forest species must adapt, if they can.  Forests all go through natural evolution or shifts in dominant species.  It is not our goal to prevent natural change, but rather to help our forest cope with these pressures. We can do this by increasing the diversity of native trees and herbaceous plants, and by restricting the presence of invasive plant and animal species, either by removal or some fencing.
        Alert:  the Emerald Ash Borer is now as close as Bogota!  This means that the White Ash trees that occupy a small but significant part of our forest are unlikely to survive more than another 5-10 years at most.   An important step in reducing the impact of the loss of these Ash trees is to plant other native trees nearby that can be ready to take over some of the newly opened spaces.  Volunteers are needed to help us locate and tag all our Ash trees.  If, with a little training, you'd like to help, e-mail Mary Mayer at marym812@aol.com, or Beth Ravit at bravit@envsci.rutgers.edu.


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  • Naturalist Notes: June, 2017

    Without Ruckman Pond, the Closter Nature Center would just not be the same. Its proximity to the Nature Center cabin and Ruckman Road make it really stand out visually. Its importance…


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  • Newsletter — June, 2017

     

    JUNE, JULY AND AUGUST ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS:

    MEMORIAL DAY PARADE! MONDAY, May 29th

    Come join us in the parade!

    This Memorial Day, the CNC will have a float.

    Meet in the parking lot at…


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