• Newsletter — February, 2018




    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 6th, 13th and 27th

    1st and 2nd Grade   Feb 7th, 14th and 28th

    3rd - 6th Grade   Feb 8th, 15th and March 1st

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

    To register online please go to REGISTER.CAPTUREPOINT.COM/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.

    MEET THE ANIMALS of the Closter Nature Center

    Sunday, February 11th at 2 PM

    Come visit the cabin by the pond and meet the animals of the CNC! Our collection of education animals delights children who come for our after-school programs and summer camp, and now it’s time for everyone to get to meet them!

    The program is free, but donations will gladly be accepted.

    Celebrate Valentine's Day! 

    Take your sweetheart for a walk on the RED trail this month.


    Winter Break Program
    Tuesday February 20th - Friday February 23rd 

    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 them 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 and 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: $80 full session for Members... $100 full session for NON-members

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

     Feel free to sign up online with CommunityPass, if you are signing up for the whole week. 

    For Daily Classes, please call Marc at (201) 750-2778 to sign up, then pay $25 by check or in cash on the day of the program. 


    The 2nd Annual CNC Photography Contest & Exhibition will be held at the Closter Library during the month of April, 2018. 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.

    Forest Stewardship and Ash Tree ID Workshops

    On Saturday, January 13th, 21 adult volunteers participated in our first Ash Tree Identification Workshop.  Anticipating the arrival of the Emerald Ash Borer, a small insect that will likely destroy 90% of our ash trees in the next 3 to 8 years, we are working to identify which areas of our forest will be most affected.  After an indoor learning session, volunteers spread out along the White and Red Trails, recording the presence and general health of each ash tree they encountered.  The location of each tree was recorded by GPS on a computer map - and marked in the field with 2 small pink dots, so the same tree would not be counted again.  Using the GPS data, we can return to each individual tree and monitor its health.  This way we can anticipate the location of major changes in our forest canopy, perhaps plant replacement trees ahead, and identify which dying trees might pose a risk to frequently used trails.   A second workshop was held on January 20th to continue with this forest survey. Size and health data has now been collected for more than 80 ash trees along the White Trail. 



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

    February 20-23—Winter Break Classes, *Tuesday-Friday*

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

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

    Photo Contest: Entries Due on March 28th

    April 9th – 12th Spring Break Classes

    April 15, Soup Supper 5-7 PM

    April 22, Earth Day

    Photo Contest and Exhibit!

    May – Annual Meeting 

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

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  • Newsletter — October, 2017


    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


    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.


    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.)


    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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  • 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…

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  • Newsletter – March, 2017


    Pets 101
    What it means to have a pet, what animals make good pets, and what it takes to keep them happy and healthy.

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  • Newsletter – February, 2017


    Watch out!!!  Mount Closter is about to erupt again! 
This month’s after-school science program will focus on everyone’s favorite natural disaster…

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  • November 2016 Newsletter

    NOVEMBER, 2016

    P.O. BOX 80, CLOSTER, NJ 07624  closternaturecenter.org
    By the pond on Ruckman Road


    “Dogs and Their Wild Relatives”

    This month’s after school science program…

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