• 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. 


    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:


    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: 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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