November 2016 Newsletter


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


“Dogs and Their Wild Relatives”

This month’s after school science program will focus on dogs and their place in nature. Dress for the weather, and…
Check times and dates very carefully as we will skip one week for Thanksgiving!

Pk-K….Tuesdays: 8th 15th 22nd
1st and 2nd…..Wednesdays: 9th 16th 23rd
3rd thru 6th……..Thursdays: 10th 17th and *Dec 1st*

COST: $30 members, $40 non-members……TIME: 3:45 to 5:00
To register for classes: Call Marc at (201) 750-2778 to reserve a place in class. Then, bring to the first class a check, (preferably not cash) for the proper amount, made out to the Closter Nature Center.



Sunday, November 13th at 3:00

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.


Coming in December:
Bergen County Christmas Bird Count
Saturday, December 17th, 9AM 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 second 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 lots of 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 with warm drinks available through out the day.
A few extra binoculars are available at the Nature Center. If you would like to add to the Closter count by sending in sightings from your own yard on that day, you can email results (or questions) to: Mary Mayer at


Naturalist’s Notes

I know it is hard to imagine that our pet dogs were once wild wolves, but even teacup yorkies have it in them to howl at the moon. Our relationship with our best friends began thousands of years ago, before writing, so there is no documentation concerning the first domesticated dogs. Archeologists have unearthed evidence that points to the first dogs at about 40,000 years ago. The wolves of Europe and Asia were taken in by early humans and kept as “pets”. I use “pets” loosely, as they were probably used for security and emergency food. As time went on and humans picked the parents and culled offspring to get the qualities that we wanted, we slowly developed hundreds of breeds of domesticated dogs.
Our beloved pets ancestors, the wolves and their cousins, coyotes, foxes and wild dogs span the globe and are important links in the food chains they belong to. It was around 1850 when New Jersey saw the last of the wolf, and the proliferation of the white tailed deer is a direct result. We have learned over and over again that we need predators; when fox populations drop, rabbit populations rise. Luckily we have started to change our tune concerning wild predators, and instead of bounties on their heads we look at them as majestic and useful. The importance of wolves and their kin in nature is undeniable but it is easily eclipsed by the magical place they have attained in our lives, families and hearts.


Membership Drive is Underway!
Watch your mail for our annual dues drive envelope. The money raised helps to support our many educational programs as well as everything from worms for our teaching animals to keeping the lights on in our cabin! Our very active, all volunteer Board is also about to embark on some capital improvements, including an outdoor seating area for classes, a new bridge at the head of the Orange Trail and a new and more efficient furnace in the Log Cabin. Members enjoy reduced rates at programs, our newsletter and the satisfaction of helping to maintain and grow a vital local asset. Membership at any level is encouraged. Tell a friend!


Corporate Giving
Does your company use Benevity? “Do well by doing good” is the motto of Benevity, an online giving platform, used by Fortune 500 companies including Google, Coca-Cola and Microsoft. The Closter Nature Center is now a registered charity on Benevity’s platform. If you are considering a charitable donation this holiday season, please consider directing it to the Closter Nature Center or directly at,…/donate/index.html.
And speaking of generosity:
Special thanks to the Closter Volunteer Ambulance and Rescue Corps for providing Certified American Red Cross training in first aid and CPR to our summer volunteers and staff!

Closter Nature Center, Month by Month:

November: NJ Bat Man, Sunday 11/13, at 3 PM
December: Welcome Winter Night Hike: 11/17
2nd Annual Christmas Bird Count Program will run from
9AM to 2 PM, also on Saturday, Dec. 17th.

January – Closter Nature Center photo exhibition and competition
February: Winter wonderland hike
March: Meet the Animals of the Closter Nature Center
April: 4/2nd – Soup Supper
May: Plants of NJ
June: 6/3 – Pond Celebration (June 10th rain date)

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