• Naturalist Notes: February, 2019

    >> Naturalist Notes & Musings:

    For many years now we have offered programs for kids during school vacations. These programs started due to the number of calls I would get prior to (and during) vacations asking if we have anything for kids to do while they are out of school. 

    We started to offer school break programs regularly and they have been a part of our pledge to offer affordable environmental education to our community. The programs we offer include our summer nature program, our after-school program and the school break program.

    All of the classes I teach have a few simple goals: (1) to get kids excited about science and nature; (2) to get kids outside, learning and exploring the natural world; and (3) to help close the widening gap between our modern world and the natural world. I don't expect that every child who comes through will end up working in zoo or becoming a botanist, just as we don't expect every kid that learns to play a musical instrument to end up in Carnegie Hall. It's about exposure, a well-rounded education and upbringing. 

    We will continue to offer opportunities for the children of our community to embrace the natural world in fun, exciting, and engaging ways. This month we are offering both our after-school science programs and the winter break program: two great ways to get kids outside and learning!

    See you on the trails!

    Marc Gussen, Naturalist

    P.S. Cute Kid’s Quote

    One day with a room filled with 2nd graders, I was talking about how animals don't just talk with sounds, but that many animals can communicate with their bodies.
    I asked them what a dog "says" when it wags its tail? 

    A boy responded with "Ruff! Ruff!"

     


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  • Newsletter — February, 2019

    >> February Events and Activities –>

    CLOSTER NATURE CENTER ADULT PROGRAM: “PRIMITIVE TECHNOLOGY”

    Wednesday, February 20th, 7 to 8:30 PM

    Presented by Marc Gussen

    Come learn the skills of the ancients. This program for adults and teens covers the history of primitive technology from the first stone tools on up. Skills covered include fire-making by friction, cordage, flint-knapping and a host of other lost arts. Light refreshments will be served.

    The program is free, but donations will be gratefully accepted!

    FEBRUARY AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMS: Volcanoes!

    Watch out!!!  Mount Closter is about to erupt again!
    This month's after school science program will focus on everyone's favorite natural disaster – Volcanoes!
    We will try to get outside each day, so please dress for the weather.
    Kids will make model volcanoes, and we will erupt our giant volcano simulator, Mt. Closter!

    PK-K    Feb 5th, 12th and 26th

    1st and 2nd Grades   Feb 6th, 13th and 27th

    3rd - 6th Grades   Feb 7th, 14th and 28th

    Members $40, Non-members $50

    To register online please go to:

    https://register.communitypass.net/Closter and you will be taken to Community Pass, our online registration and payment system.

    If you would prefer to register in person, please call Marc Gussen at  (201) 750-2778

     

    February Break Program
    Tuesday February 19th - Friday February 22nd

    Looking for something for the kids to do during the winter break?
    Here is the answer - Bring them to the Nature Center!
    Our Break programs have been such a success, we are going to do it again.
    The topics will depend on the weather, but they will definitely be fun and educational.
    To help make these programs fit your schedule the classes will run for 4 days but kids can sign up for 1, 2, 3, or all 4 of the days.
    We will try to spend time outside each day, so please dress for the weather.

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

    To register call Marc at (201) 750-2778

    Cost: Full Session: $60 members, $ 80. non-members

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

    To register online please go to:

    https://register.communitypass.net/Closter and you will be taken to Community Pass, our online registration and payment system

    CUTE KID’S QUOTE:

    One day with a room filled with 2nd graders, I was talking about how animals don't just talk with sounds, but that many animals can communicate with their bodies.
    I asked them what a dog "says" when it wags its tail? 

    A boy responded with "Ruff! Ruff!"

    PHOTO CONTEST AND EXHIBITION

    The 3rd Annual CNC Photography Contest & Exhibition will be held at the Closter Library during the month of April 2019. The contest is open to children and adults alike! All photos must be taken at the Nature Center during any season of the year (past and present). The exhibition will be held at the Closter Public Library, 280 High Street.

    The following rules apply:

    All photos, either color or black-and-white, must not exceed 16" x 20" including a frame.  Up to two photos may be entered, with selections made based on judges' choices and space availability.  Each photo must have the artist's name, address, e-mail, phone and age (for children) affixed to the back of each entry.  1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes will be awarded determined by a judges' panel.  Recipients can select their prize of a Closter Nature Center sweatshirt, hat or t-shirt.

    All participants will pay a $10. entry fee (for up to two photos), as a tax-deductible contribution to the Nature Center.

    All entries must be received at the Library by Friday, March 29th. For additional information or questions, contact Susan McTigue at msmct4@aol.com or 201-767-0955.

     

    Volunteer Opportunities at the Closter Nature Center:

    Forest Stewardship (Volunteer)

    Trail Maintainer(s) (Volunteer)

    For more information please go to www.closternaturecenter.org and look under the "Get Involved" section. A great chance to get out and about in Nature!

    CNC Month By Month:

    February:  2/20 - Primitive Technology Presentation, Part 1 - 7 PM

    March: 3/24 - Welcome Spring Hike – 3 PM

    March: Photography Exhibition Entries Due 

    April: Photography Exhibition!

    April: Sunday, 4/7 - Soup Supper from 5-7 PM

    April: 4/29 - Annual Meeting – 7 PM

    June:  6/2, from 11-2 PM - Pond Celebration

    COMMUNITY PASS TRANSITION

    Closter Nature Center is gradually moving our administrative functions over to Community Pass. This digital support option allows our members to conveniently sign up for classes and renew their annual Closter Nature Center memberships. Community Pass renewal reminders will now be sent out on the anniversary date of your membership sign up. This transition is a significant change for the Nature Center and we hope it will enable us to better meet the needs of all our member families.


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  • Newsletter — January, 2019

    >> January Events and Activities –>

    FULL MOON HIKE

    Sunday, January 20th, from 6:30 to 8:30 PM

    Are you ready for a night to remember? Meet at the cabin for an evening hike, with the first full moon of 2019 lighting our way! We’ll hike for about ½ hour, then come to the fire ring for a cozy campfire. There will be marshmallows!

    January After-School Classes

    * * Winter Wonderland * *

    This month we will explore the magic of winter!

    **Why does it get so cold in January?

    How do the animals survive?**

    **What is snow? Come find out!

    Dress for the weather - we will spend time outside each day.

    PK- K  Tuesdays  8th   15th   22nd

    1st and 2nd grade   Wednesday  9th   16th   23rd 

    3rd through 6th grade  Thursdays  10th   17th   24th

    To register online please go to:

    https://register.communitypass.net/Closter and you will be taken to Community Pass, our online registration and payment system.

    If you would prefer to register in person, please call Marc Gussen at  (201) 750-2778

    Closter Nature Center Help Wanted!

    Volunteer and Staff Opportunities at the Closter Nature Center:

    Land Use Committee Chairperson (Volunteer)

    Trail Maintainer(s) (Volunteer)

    Part time administrative assistant (Paid)

    For more information please go to www.closternaturecenter.org and look under the "Get Involved" section.

    NEVER TOO LATE FOR GIVING...

    Closter Nature Center educational programs, held in Northern Valley classrooms, after school at the Nature Center, and during the summer session, reach over 6,000 children each year. Our goal is to disconnect children from digital devices and reconnect them with Nature! However, Closter Nature Center needs your support to extend our curriculum to as many Northern Valley schools as possible, and to expand our program offerings at the Nature Center. Please consider an education donation to the Closter Nature Center in your year-end giving plans. You can give either by going online to closternaturecenter.org, or by sending a check to Closter Nature Center, P.O. Box 80, Closter NJ, 07624. 

    We are a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your tax –deductible donation will help support our programming, our facility and 136-acre tract of forested woodlands. Thank-You for your support!

    PHOTO CONTEST AND EXHIBITION:

    The 3rd Annual CNC Photography Contest & Exhibition will be held at the Closter Library during the month of April 2019. The contest is open to children and adults alike! All photos must be taken at the Nature Center during any season of the year (past and present). The exhibition will be held at the Closter Public Library, 280 High Street.

    The following rules apply:

    All photos, either color or black-and-white, must not exceed 16" x 20" including a frame.  Up to two photos may be entered, with selections made based on judges' choices and space availability.  Each photo must have the artist's name, address, e-mail, phone and age (for children) affixed to the back of each entry.  1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes will be awarded determined by a judges' panel.  Recipients can select their prize of a Closter Nature Center sweatshirt, hat or t-shirt.

    All participants will pay a $10. entry fee (for up to two photos), as a tax-deductible contribution to the Nature Center.  

    All entries must be received at the Library by Friday, March 29th. For additional information or questions, contact Susan McTigue at msmct4@aol.com or 201-767-0955.

    Deer Fence Installation Update

    There is a slow-down in our preparations for installing deer exclusion fencing in 3 sections of the Nature Center.  The project is on hold as we conform to Borough regulations for a revised bidding process, triggered by the cost of the bids we have received so far.  We expect the project will move forward once this procedure is accomplished.  It is possible the installation will not occur until early spring.  Meanwhile, keep those light-colored, torn sheet ties coming in...about 3"x3' long.

    CNC Month By Month:

    January: 1/20 - Full Moon Winter Hike 6:30 to 8:30 PM

    February:  2/20 - Primitive Technology Presentation, Part 2

    March: 3/25 - Welcome Spring Hike

    March: TBD Tick Presentation

    March: Photography Exhibition Entries Due 

    April: Photography Exhibition!

    April: Sunday, 4/7 from 5-7 PM - Soup Supper

    April: 4/29 - Annual Meeting

    June:  6/2, from 11-2 PM - Pond Celebration

    COMMUNITY PASS TRANSITION

    Closter Nature Center is gradually moving our administrative functions over to Community Pass. This digital support option allows our members to conveniently sign up for classes and renew their annual Closter Nature Center memberships. Community Pass renewal reminders will now be sent out on the anniversary date of your membership sign up. This transition is a significant change for the Nature Center and we hope it will enable us to better meet the needs of all our member families.


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  • Naturalist Notes: January, 2019

    >> Naturalist Notes & Musings:

    When winter really sets in, there is no better place than the Closter Nature Center for a quick hike. Considering the ordeal of getting dressed for the cold and snow, it gets hard in the winter to go outside for some exercise, but the benefits are tremendous. To offset our tendency to spend more time inside and less time outside, a few simple tips can help pave the way towards a happy and healthy winter. 

    "There is no such thing as bad weather - only bad clothes." I don't know who to credit this quote to, but that doesn't lessen the power of this nugget of wisdom. Layering up and topping things off with a windproof top can be the difference between a great hike and a shiver-fest. Snow boots may not be the best hiking boots for an all day trip, but for a 45 minute walk along snow covered trails they will be fine.  A warm hat that covers the ears, and some gloves to protect those tender digits and we are ready. 

    The forest in winter is a magical place, and being able to enjoy it while getting some exercise is a special treat. The Nature Center is  open from dawn to dusk, and we encourage you to show up and hit the trails no matter what the weather.

    See you on the trails!

    Marc Gussen, Naturalist

    P.S. Cute Kid’s Quote

    While talking with some kindergartners about habitats, I asked the kids, "What is a pond?"

    One insightful 5 year old scratched his head and said, "It's an inside out island"

     


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  • Naturalist Notes: December, 2018

    >> Naturalist Notes & Musings:

    December is here and the days just keep getting shorter. The phenomenon of long days in the summer and shorter ones in the winter is one that we learn to live with, but it’s the real calendar for the comings, goings, and doings of Nature.

    While quite a few organisms base their seasonal cycles of sprouting, flowering, hibernation and mating on temperature, many can’t trust the vagaries of temperature, and use day length as a much more reliable indicator of what is in store for them or their progeny. Snowstorms in October and 65 degree days in January are very real possibilities, and could easily trick plants and animals into thinking that the seasons are farther along than they really are; sometimes with deadly results. Snapping out of dormancy too soon, when there are still months of winter left could be catastrophic!

    Once we get into January and bitter weather is really upon us, keep your chin up: it might be cold and wintry, but the days will just keep getting longer!

    See you on the trails,

    Marc Gussen, Naturalist

     

     


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  • Newsletter — December, 2018

    >>December Events and Activities –>

    END OF YEAR GIVING

    Closter Nature Center educational programs, held in Northern Valley classrooms, after school at the Nature Center, and during the summer session, reach over 6,000 children each year. Our goal is to disconnect children from digital devices and reconnect them with Nature! However, Closter Nature Center needs your support to extend our curriculum to as many Northern Valley schools as possible, and to expand our program offerings at the Nature Center. Please consider an education donation to the Closter Nature Center in your year-end giving plans. You can give either by going online to closternaturecenter.org/donate-now or by sending a check to P.O. Box 80, Closter NJ, 07624.

    We are a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your tax –deductible donation will help support our programming, our facility and 136-acre tract of forested woodlands. Thank-You for your support!

    December After-School Classes:

    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 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   4th - 11th - 18th 
    1st and 2nd  Wednesdays  5th - 12th - 19th
    3rd thru 6th  Thursdays  6th - 13th - 20th

    Cost: $40 members, $50 non-members

    Time: 3:45 - 5:00 PM

    To register online please go to:

    https://register.communitypass.net/Closter and you will be taken to Community Pass, our online registration and payment system.

    If you would prefer to register in person, please call Marc Gussen at  (201) 750-2778.

    Holiday Break Classes

    Need something fun and educational for the kids to do during the holiday break?
    We have the answer... Three days of Nature exploration and animal fun here at the Closter Nature Center!

    Our Break programs have been so successful, we are going to do it again.
    Depending on your schedule you can sign up for one, two, or all the days.

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

    Wednesday December 26th through Friday the 28th

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

    Cost: Full Session: $60.00 members, $ 80.00 non-members

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

    To register online please go to:

    https://register.communitypass.net/Closter and you will be taken to Community Pass, our online registration and payment system.

    Cute Kids Quote

    After I used the word “photosynthesis” during a 1st grade botany class,

    a young girl’s hand shot up. I called on her, and she happily shared with the class that her aunt’s name is Cynthia.

    SPIDERS!

    Thursday, December 13th at 7 PM

     A Presentation by Emil Fiore

    Ever since he was seven years old, Emil Fiore has been fascinated by spiders and their webs. Join us to find out more about our local spiders and their webs! Admission by donation; light refreshments will be served.

    Bergen County Christmas Bird Count 

    Saturday, December 15th, 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 fourth 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.

    RECOGNIZING OUR SUMMER VOLUNTEERS!

    The summer may be over, and the cold weather has arrived.  The trails which were filled with children all summer are now covered with snow. We look back at another successful summer program and wish to recognize the many volunteers who helped out all summer long.  This year we had two groups of volunteers, one group helped Marc with the summer program and the other group worked tirelessly throughout the Nature Center maintaining the trails.  

    The Board of Trustees wishes to thank all the volunteers who worked tirelessly ensuring that all the children gained an appreciation of the outdoors and learned about the environment; Zach Weiss, Marin Moore, Christina Ricciutti, Derin Ayas, Tanner Marshall, Luke Brakiovich, Olivia Greco, Sophia Clarke, Christian Brueck, Julie Ricciutti, Sienna Fenu, Ashley Kennedy, James Greco, Jay Woolf, Reese Wilson, Shauna McLean, Sophia Ashbahian and Sarah Keppler.  We also wish to thank the Trail Crew led by Liam McGrath who worked each day keeping the trails clear and safe; Rhett Matthews, Kevin Tong, Cole Veras and Joseph Matera. 

    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 need to thank Closter #1 for their continued support and generosity helping to nourish our hungry volunteers.  

    OUR THANKS TO CHIPOTLE IN CLOSTER PLAZA!

    On October 21st, CHIPOTLE sponsored a delicious fundraiser for the Closter Nature Center, donating a percentage of their receipts to the CNC. It was a great success! Many thanks to the team at Chipotle for recognizing and generously supporting our nature center!

    PHOTO CONTEST AND EXHIBITION:

    The 3rd Annual CNC Photography Contest & Exhibition will be held at the Closter Library during the month of April 2019. The contest is open to children and adults alike! All photos must be taken at the Nature Center during any season of the year (past and present). The exhibition will be held at the Closter Public Library, 280 High Street.

    The following rules apply:

    All photos, either color or black-and-white, must not exceed 16" x 20" including a frame.  Up to two photos may be entered, with selections made based on judges' choices and space availability.  Each photo must have the artist's name, address, e-mail, phone and age (for children) affixed to the back of each entry.  1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes will be awarded determined by a judges' panel.  Recipients can select their prize of a Closter Nature Center sweatshirt, hat or t-shirt.

    All participants will pay a $10. entry fee (for up to two photos), as a tax-deductible contribution to the Nature Center.  

    All entries must be received at the Library by Wednesday, March 28th. For additional information or questions, contact Susan McTigue at msmct4@aol.com or 201-767-0955.

    Deer Fence Installation Update

    There is a slow down in our preparations for installing deer exclusion fencing in 3 sections of the Nature Center.  The project is on hold as we conform to Borough regulations for a revised bidding process, triggered by the cost of the bids we have received so far.  We expect the project will move forward once this procedure is accomplished.  It is possible the installation will not occur until early spring.  Meanwhile, keep those light-colored, torn sheet ties coming in...about 3"x3' long.

    CNC Month By Month:

    December 13:  12/13 at 7 PM -  “Spiders!” with Emil Fiore

    December: 12/15, 11 AM -2 PM - Christmas Bird Count

    December:   Wednesday, 12/26 - Friday, 12/28

    Holiday Break Classes 

    January: 1/20 - Full Moon Winter Hike

    February:  2/20 - Primitive Technology Presentation, Part 2

    March: 3/25 - Welcome Spring Hike

    March: TBD Tick Presentation

    March: Photography Exhibition Entries Due 

    April: Photography Exhibition!

    April: Sunday, 4/7 from 5-7 PM - Soup Supper

    April: 4/29 - Annual Meeting

    June:  6/2, from 11-2 PM - Pond Celebration

    COMMUNITY PASS TRANSITION

    Closter Nature Center is gradually moving our administrative functions over to Community Pass. This digital support option allows our members to conveniently sign up for classes and renew their annual Closter Nature Center memberships. Community Pass renewal reminders will now be sent out on the anniversary date of your membership sign up. This transition is a significant change for the Nature Center and we hope it will enable us to better meet the needs of all our member families.


    Continue reading
  • Naturalist Notes: November, 2018

    >> Naturalist Notes & Musings:

         The first time I started a fire with two sticks and a small pile of tinder it changed my life. My interest in the skills of our ancestors started when I was a small boy. I had learned that there were people who lived in the forest, speared fish, ate berries and lived in houses made of bark, and my quest to learn the skills that made primitive life possible began. Archeologists have evidence to show that the ancient art of making fire by friction can be traced back 20,000 years. The species of plants used and the actual techniques varied around the world but the basics were the same- two pieces of wood were vigorously rubbed or spun against each other producing heat and a fine powder of pulverized wood called char. Once this char reaches 450 degrees Fahrenheit it can start to smolder and turn in to a small glowing coal. This coal can be coaxed into flame by placing it on a pile of dry fibrous tinder like bark, leaves or grass, and carefully blowing on it to feed the fire-to-be the oxygen it needs. I have gone through these steps and created fire hundreds of times during the many years I spent honing this skill, and while demonstrating the art of fire making.

    It never gets old for me, and each time I see that coal burst into flame it unites me with my ancient ancestors in a profound and unique way that can't be described.

    See you on the trails,

    Marc

    *If the primitive technology of the past is something that interests you feel free to attend our adult program for November.

     


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  • Newsletter — November, 2018

    >>November Events and Activities –>

    Hello Autumn Hike

    Sunday, November 4th, at 3 PM

    Come visit the Nature Center and join us for a hike along our trails. Enjoy our woods as colors peak in mid - Autumn!  Meet at the cabin by Ruckman Pond...

    November After-School Classes

    Survival Skills 

    This month we will try our hand at some primitive technology, learning about how Native Americans used nature to survive and thrive. Dress for all conditions, as did the people who lived here not so long ago!

    PK- K –Tuesdays- 6th -13th and 27th

    1st and 2nd -Wednesdays -7th -14th and 28th

    3rd through 6th –Thursdays- 8th -15th and 29th

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

    To register online please go to:

    https://register.communitypass.net/Closter and you will be taken to Community Pass, our online registration and payment system.

    If you would prefer to register in person, please call Marc Gussen at  (201) 750-2778.

    CLOSTER NATURE CENTER ADULT PROGRAM

    “PRIMITIVE TECHONLOGY”

    Thursday, November 15th, 7 to 8:30 PM

    Presented by Marc Gussen

    Come learn the skills of the ancients. This program for adults and teens covers the history of primitive technology from the first stone tools on up. Skills covered include fire making by friction, cordage, flint-knapping and a host of other lost arts. Light refreshments will be served.

    The program is free, but donations will be gratefully accepted!

    400 White 'Flags' in Our Forest...Help from Your Home?

    While the dates for installing our deer exclusion fencing are uncertain - hopefully November - one thing is for sure:  we are going to need an abundance of large white ties to mark the black vinyl fence at frequent intervals, to increase its visibility until the deer get used to its presence and don't run into it.  As many as 400 white, or very light colored ties, may be needed.  The size can be variable, but generally 3 inches by 3 feet long.  Shaggy, torn ties are fine!  Can you donate some bundles of 20 such ties?  More?  Or, bring sheets to the N. Ctr. porch table for others to tear up?  It would be a great way to help out with this BIG project.   Thank You!

    Also, if you are able to help carry materials into the sites for actual installation, please e-mail Mary Mayer at marym812@aol.com.

    Clothes Recycling Bins

    MANY THANKS to all of our supporters who were concerned that the collection bins at the Stop & Shop in Closter had disappeared! 
    Apparently the bins are being repaired and refurbished and will soon be back in place. Just a reminder that the used clothing bins are maintained by Carecycle, a recycling company, and help to financially support our Closter Nature Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. So keep filling up those bags! 

    CNC Month By Month:

    November: Sunday, November 4th, at 3 PM – Hello Autumn  Hike

    November: Thursday, November 15th, at 7 PM- “Native Technology” presented by Marc Gussen

    December: Holiday Break Classes: Wednesday, 12/26 - Friday, 12/28

    March: Photography Exhibition! 

    END OF YEAR GIVING

    Closter Nature Center educational programs, held in Northern Valley classrooms, after school at the Nature Center, and during the summer session, reach over 6,000 children each year. Our goal is to disconnect children from digital devices and reconnect them with Nature! However, Closter Nature Center needs your support to extend our curriculum to as many Northern Valley schools as possible, and to expand our program offerings at the Nature Center. Please consider an education donation to the Closter Nature Center in your year-end giving plans. You can give either by going online to closternaturecenter.org, or by sending a check to P.O. Box 80, Closter NJ, 07624. 

    We are a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your tax –deductible donation will help support our programming, our facility and 136-acre tract of forested woodlands. Thank-You for your support!

    COMMUNITY PASS TRANSITION

    Closter Nature Center is gradually moving our administrative functions over to Community Pass. This digital support option allows our members to conveniently sign up for classes and renew their annual Closter Nature Center memberships. Community Pass renewal reminders will now be sent out on the anniversary date of your membership sign up. This transition is a significant change for the Nature Center and we hope it will enable us to better meet the needs of all our member families.


    Continue reading
  • Naturalist Notes: October, 2018

    >> Naturalist Notes & Musings:

    Every season has its own special basket of gifts from nature, but in my mind fall takes the cake. With the coming of cool nights and ample rain, the fungi of the forest start to fruit and make their reproductive structures: Mushrooms! October is typically the highlight of the mushroom hunter’s year, as conditions can be perfect for this vital stage in the life cycle of fungi. Apple trees make apples loaded with seeds so that they can insure the future of their species, and the rest of the plant world works pretty much the same way. Fungi are similar - just with different structures and a few special twists. When it is time for fungi to reproduce there are a couple different strategies, but the one that concerns me the most is one that produces mushrooms. Forest fungi can live in many different ways - some are parasites of trees, some are decomposers, and some have a relationship with plants that benefits both parties; but no matter how they make their living, they all need to reproduce. When it is time for fungi to complete their life cycle the "fruit" is the mushroom, and the "seeds" are spores. The variety of shapes, sizes and colors that mushrooms can come in is astounding. Some are conspicuous and common, but many are tiny and difficult to identify.  Mushroom hunting is a great way to spend a couple of hours wandering through the woods - and if you put in your time, and learn to identify some of our common delicious edible mushrooms, you will be in for one of natures tastiest gifts.

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


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  • Newsletter — October, 2018

    >>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.

    Pre-K and K - Tuesdays - 9th - 16th – 23rd

    1st and 2nd Gr. - Wednesdays - 10th - 17th - 24th

    3rd through 6th Gr. - Thursdays - 11th - 18th - 25th

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

    To register online please go to:

    https://register.communitypass.net/Closter and you will be taken to Community Pass, our online registration and payment system.

    If you would prefer to register in person, please call Marc Gussen at  (201) 750-2778. 

    BATS, BATS, BATS!

    Go Batty with NJ's own "Bat man" Joseph D'Angeli

    One of Our Most Popular Programs!

    Sunday, October 7th at 2 PM

    At the cabin by the Pond

    Throughout the world, bats have been misunderstood and persecuted, causing a serious decline in bat population. The program "BATS, BATS, BATS!" was established to bring this matter to the public's attention with a LECTURE, SLIDE PRESENTATION & LIVE BATS! Find out why bats are now being protected because of their vital role in virtually every environment on earth: for example, their importance in insect maintenance and rainforest regeneration. Join Mr. D'Angeli in dispelling the many myths of these most important nocturnal creatures.

    Cost: Suggested Donation of $5 for non members and $3 for members

    Light refreshments will be served

     

    Fundraiser Planned:

    A TASTY FUNDRAISER AT CHIPOTLE

    Sunday, October 21st from 4 – 8 PM

    Closter Plaza's Chipotle Mexican Grill is partnering with the Closter Nature Center for a fundraiser on Sunday, October 21, from 4 - 8 P.M.  Event flyers will be circulated soon.  We urge everyone to plan their family's late lunch or Sunday dinner at Chipotle and save the home cooking for another day! In order to benefit from the 30% donation by Chipotle, each customer must show a flyer OR simply mention to the cashier that you've come to support the Nature Center.  Why not plan a fall festival or pre-Halloween party around this date and leave the cooking to Chipotle!  Please mark your calendars and spread the word to friends and neighbors.

    Forest Stewardship Update

    Feeling Strong?  Got Some Extra Energy?

    Our Forest Stewardship Program could use lots of energetic volunteers to carry in the fencing materials as we prepare to have the 3 areas of deer exclusion fencing installed.  The dates are not yet firm, but likely to be the end of October or early in November.  Materials vary from heavy, to medium, to light but awkward.  Carry distance: 200-300 yards.  As always, many hands make for lighter work! If interested, (of course, subject to your availability when the dates are fixed), please e-mail Mary Mayer at marym812@aol.com.  Ask a friend if they'd like to join you!  We expect the work would be a full day, but people could sign up for a morning or afternoon shift, once the date/s are clear.

    And Thank You!

    CNC Calendar:

    Thursday September 27, at 7 PM - Marc’s Mushroom Presentation

    Sunday, October 7th, at 2 PM – BATS, BATS, BATS!

    Sunday, October 21st,  4-8 PM – Chipotle Fundraiser (details above)

    Sunday, November 5th, at 3 PM – Winter Hike

    Holiday Break Classes: Wednesday, 12/26 -  Friday,  12/28

     

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  • Naturalist Notes: September, 2018

    >> Naturalist Notes & Musings:

    Another round of summer programs is in the books, and it is time to look back and reflect on the last 9 weeks. First off, being the front man of the Nature Center, I too often end up getting more credit than I deserve. It is all too easy for people to associate our successes with me, but in reality there are quite a few people that help to make them possible. It all starts with The Closter Nature Center Board of Trustees. Without this group of local and devoted nature lovers none of this would happen. There is lots of work for the board to do: a combination of addressing day-to-day issues to keep our grounds and programs going strong, but also looking to the future, insuring that we can continue to be a natural history education and outdoor recreation asset for our community. 

    I would like to thank one board member in particular for her years of service and commitment to the Nature Center’s Summer Program. Year after year, Leslie Brunell starts work on the program in the winter, and doesn't stop until after it is all over. In addition, the other shining stars that make our programs so great are our teen-aged volunteers. Most of them have been coming here since they were 4 or 5, and apparently can't get enough of my corny jokes. These kids come day after day and take a great sense of pride in the fact that they are not only helping the Nature Center, but getting a chance to spread their love for nature and animals with visitors and summer program kids. This year my "helpers" not only assisted in making this summer the best ever- even with the highest attendance rates and the most rain- but also, the amount of trail work they tackled and completed was unprecedented! I would like to thank everyone that helped to make this possible, including all of the program attendees and the parents that drove them, for letting me have the best job on earth! 

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


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  • Newsletter — September, 2018

    >>September Events and Activities –>

    Forest Stewardship Update

        During the summer, the Forest Stewardship team has been sporadically busy in the forest, despite the very wet weather.  Rutgers graduate students have completed spring and summer assessments of vegetation in their 6 study plots scattered throughout the Nature Center.  Three of the six research plots will be protected within 3 separate 8-10-acre deer exclusion fences.  The other 3 research plots will be left outside the fencing to allow us to compare and determine the effectiveness of deer exclusion.   You may notice the abundant pink and yellow flagging through the woods.  In a few months we expect vinyl fencing to be erected along these flag lines.

    A presentation of the project has been made to the Mayor and Council, and we received their appreciative endorsement for our plans to protect this Borough-owned forest.

    SEPTEMBER EVENTS AND CLASSES:

    September After-School Programs

    “Let's Take a Hike”

    Come explore the trails of the Nature Center. See the sights, meet the animals and have some fun outside this September!

    Please dress for the weather... 

                                            Pk-K - Tuesdays 11th - 18th - 25th 

                                            1st-2nd – Wednesdays - 12th - 19th - 26th 

                                            3rd-6th – Thursdays - 13th - 20th - 27th  

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

    To register online please go to:

    https://register.communitypass.net/Closter and you will be taken to Community Pass, our online registration and payment system.

    If you would prefer to register in person, please call Marc Gussen at  (201) 750-2778.

    “Goodbye Summer” Hike

    Saturday, September 22 at 11 AM

    Come visit the Nature Center and join us for a hike along our trails. Enjoy our woods as Summer turns to Autumn!  Meet at the cabin by  Ruckman Pond...

    ADULT PROGRAM: MUSHROOMS!

    Thursday, September 27, at 7 PM

    You will not want to miss this captivating and fascinating program: Naturalist Marc Gussen has offered it often over the years, and always has had a great response. Come learn about mushrooms, their role in the forest...and in the 

    kitchen! 

    SPECIAL PROGRAM: BATS, BATS, BATS!

    Sunday, October 7th at 2 PM

    Throughout the world, bats have been misunderstood and persecuted, causing a serious decline in the bat population. The program "BATS, BATS, BATS!" was established to bring this matter to the public's attention. Find out why bats are now being protected because of their vital role in virtually every environment on earth, and learn, for example, about their importance in insect maintenance and rainforest regeneration. 

    Suggested donation of $5 per person for non-members and $3 per person for members. Light refreshments will be served.

    CNC Month By Month:

    Saturday September 22nd, at 11 AM – “Goodbye Summer” Hike

    Thursday September 27, at 7 PM - Marc’s Mushroom Presentation

    Sunday, October 7th, at 2 PM – BATS, BATS, BATS!

    Sunday, November 5th, at 3 PM – Winter Hike

     

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