• 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.


    Continue reading
  • 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


    Continue reading
  • 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…


    Continue reading
  • Naturalist Notes: May, 2017

    The Nature center is home to a quite a few education animals. From Captain Crunch the snapping turtle to Broccoli the bullfrog, these animals are put to…


    Continue reading
  • Naturalist Notes: April, 2017

    The Winter of 2017 was pretty mild, but it ended with some serious snow. Everyone knows that “April showers bring May flowers”, but March snow-melt is just…


    Continue reading
  • Naturalist Notes: March, 2017

    Many of the animals that we love and care for here at the Nature Center were once brought here as unwanted pets. Their stories vary…


    Continue reading
  • Naturalist Notes: January, 2017

    Of all of the interactions between kids and nature that warm the heart and illustrate the importance of the natural world…


    Continue reading
  • Naturalist Notes: February, 2017

    The muskrat is one of the many mammals that reside at the Closter Nature Center. These interesting rodents, like their cousin…


    Continue reading