• Naturalist Notes: March, 2018

    NATURALIST’S NOTES: March, 2018

     As the days lengthen and the air temperatures warms, nature gives us many signs that spring is on the way. The harbinger of spring that has the most profound effect on me and on my natural history calendar is the first sighting of aquatic turtles. During winter, ponds and lakes don't seem like hot beds of animal activity, but a lot goes on under the ice. Fish of all kinds can be actively feeding and prepping for the spring breeding season. Being cold blooded doesn't stop fish from enjoying winter, but reptiles like our native eastern painted turtles and northern water snakes must hibernate to survive the cold months. The red-eared sliders are the first of our aquatic turtles to make a showing in the spring, with painted and snapping turtles soon to follow. After months of sleeping in the mud, they awaken as the water temperatures rise and they set out to look for their first meal of the new year. On warm sunny days in March they can sometimes be seen sitting en masse on the rocks around Ruckman Pond soaking up some much needed sunshine. I look forward to seeing the first robin and hearing the first spring peeper; but soon, on a warm and sunny afternoon, a little head will pop up and break the water’s surface marking the end of winter.

    See ya on the trails.

    Marc Gussen, Naturalist


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  • Newsletter — March, 2018

    MARCH EVENTS AND CLASSES

    “Last Chance Winter Hike” March 18that 2 PM

    Come one, come all! Layer up your winter clothes and join us for an afternoon forest adventure. With no leaves on the trees, finding wildlife becomes much easier! You never know what you may find around the next bend in the trail...

    MARCH AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMS Pets, Pets and More Pets!

    This month we will focus on what animals make good pets and why.
    Kids will learn about responsibility and the work required to take care of animals.
    Dress for the weather.

    PreK-K .......Tuesdays - 13th, 20th and 27th
    1st and 2nd...........Wednesdays - 14th, 21st and 28th
    3rd thru 5th...................Thursdays - 15th, 22nd and 29th

    Time: 3:45pm - 5:00pm

    Cost - $40 for members, and $50 for non-members.

    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.

     

     

    Photo Contest: Entries Due on March 30th

    This is the month to take some new photos at the Nature Center or look through ones that you've saved from previous seasons.  The Second Annual Photography Contest and Exhibition will be held at the Closter Library during the month of April.  Adults and kids can enter up to two photos each measuring no more than 16" x 20".  No matter where you live, the photos must have been taken at the Closter Nature Center.  Photos must be dropped off at the library by March 30 and left in Director Ruth Rando's office.  Please attach a note to the back of photos with name, address, email, phone and age (for kids).  A donation of $10 is requested.  Contest winners will receive a CNC hat, t-shirt or sweatshirt.  Last year's exhibition was a great success, so let's make this one even better!  For more information, contact Susan McTigue at msmct4@aol.com or 201-767-0955.

     ANNUAL CLOSTER TOWN CLEANUP 

    SATURDAY, MARCH 24TH 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM

    The Closter Environmental Commission is conducting its Annual Spring Cleanup Drive on Saturday, March 24th from 10 AM to 2 PM.

    Staging stations will be at the Closter Nature Center Log Cabin and the Lustron House on Durie Ave. Gloves, pickup tools and bags will be provided to participants, and refreshments will be available. This cleanup has been an annual event in Closter for many years! It is particularly suitable for families and children eager to help, although those under fourteen years of age must be accompanied by an adult. Pitch in and join the volunteer members of the Environmental Commission, Closter Nature Center, Closter Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts.  Event details are at the Borough website: www.closternj.us.

    SOUP SUPPER COMING IN APRIL!

    April 15th 5-7 PM

    One of our most popular events, the Soup Supper has brought members and friends together for more than 30 years. A great variety of homemade soups and breads is our speciality. You get a bowl and spoon to sample as many soups as you like—plus tasty breads! Arrive by 6:30 for best selection.

    Watch for more details in our next newsletter. 

    And just before we start ladling soup, join us for the big unveil of the “Mayer Loop Trail” sign! This trail was named to honor the tireless work for our Nature Center by Gay and Mary Mayer. 

    4:30pm — far side of the pond

    CNC 2018 Summer Program:

    Registration will begin in March.

    The program runs Monday - Thursday for 9 weeks.  Each day includes two sessions as noted below.

    We offer 2-hour programs for children ages 4 - 6 and 3-hour programs for children ages 7 - 10 and 11 - 14.

    Fees for the 2-hour programs are:

    $70 for members ($90 for non-members)

    Fees for the 3-hour programs are:

    $90 for members ($110 for non-members)

    DATES FOR THE PROGRAM ARE AS FOLLOWS:

    WEEK #1 June 25 - 28    Ages 4 - 6 and 7 - 10

    WEEK #2 July 9 - 12 Ages 11 -14 and 7 - 10 

    WEEK #3 July 16 - 19 Ages 7 - 10 and 4 - 6

    WEEK #4 July 23 - 26 Ages 7 - 10 and 11 - 14

    WEEK #5 July 30 - August 2 Ages 4 - 6 and 7 - 10

    WEEK #6 August 6 - 9 Ages 7 - 10 and 11 - 14

    WEEK #7 August 13 - 16 Ages 4 - 6 and 7 - 10

    WEEK #8 August 20 - 23 Ages 11 - 14 and 7 - 10

    WEEK #9 August 27 - 30 Ages 4 - 6 and 7 - 10

    To register please go to:

    REGISTER.CAPTUREPOINT.COM/CLOSTER 

    and you will be taken to Community Pass, our NEW online registration and payment system.

    If you prefer to register in person please email:

    CNCSUMMER@GMAIL.COM to receive a registration form and the mailing address.

    Cute Kid’s Quote
     Out with some kindergartners last month we saw a bright red cardinal standing out against the drab winter forest. One of the kids yelled with enthusiasm..."Look, a Carnival!"MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

    CNC MONTH BY MONTH:

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

    Photo Contest: Entries Due on March 30th

    April 9th – 12th Spring Break Classes

    April 15, Soup Supper 5-7 PM

    April 21, Earth Day Fair...in Demarest this year!

    Photo Contest and Exhibit!

     May – Annual Meeting May 2nd

    Bird Walk Saturday, May 5th 8-10 AM

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

    June 25 to August 30 - Summer Programs!

    September 30 - Hawks Over the Hudson at State Line Lookout


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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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  • 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

    MARCH AFTER-SCHOOL CLASSES:

    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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  • 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…


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  • 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…


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  • Newsletter – February, 2017

    FEBRUARY ACTIVITIES AND CLASSES:

    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…


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