• Newsletter — November, 2018

    >>November Events and Activities –>

    Hello Autumn Hike

    Sunday, November 4th, at 3 PM

    Come visit the Nature Center and join us for a hike along our trails. Enjoy our woods as colors peak in mid - Autumn!  Meet at the cabin by Ruckman Pond...

    November After-School Classes

    Survival Skills 

    This month we will try our hand at some primitive technology, learning about how Native Americans used nature to survive and thrive. Dress for all conditions, as did the people who lived here not so long ago!

    PK- K –Tuesdays- 6th -13th and 27th

    1st and 2nd -Wednesdays -7th -14th and 28th

    3rd through 6th –Thursdays- 8th -15th and 29th

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

    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.



    Thursday, November 15th, 7 to 8:30 PM

    Presented by Marc Gussen

    Come learn the skills of the ancients. This program for adults and teens covers the history of primitive technology from the first stone tools on up. Skills covered include fire making by friction, cordage, flint-knapping and a host of other lost arts. Light refreshments will be served.

    The program is free, but donations will be gratefully accepted!

    400 White 'Flags' in Our Forest...Help from Your Home?

    While the dates for installing our deer exclusion fencing are uncertain - hopefully November - one thing is for sure:  we are going to need an abundance of large white ties to mark the black vinyl fence at frequent intervals, to increase its visibility until the deer get used to its presence and don't run into it.  As many as 400 white, or very light colored ties, may be needed.  The size can be variable, but generally 3 inches by 3 feet long.  Shaggy, torn ties are fine!  Can you donate some bundles of 20 such ties?  More?  Or, bring sheets to the N. Ctr. porch table for others to tear up?  It would be a great way to help out with this BIG project.   Thank You!

    Also, if you are able to help carry materials into the sites for actual installation, please e-mail Mary Mayer at marym812@aol.com.

    Clothes Recycling Bins

    MANY THANKS to all of our supporters who were concerned that the collection bins at the Stop & Shop in Closter had disappeared! 
    Apparently the bins are being repaired and refurbished and will soon be back in place. Just a reminder that the used clothing bins are maintained by Carecycle, a recycling company, and help to financially support our Closter Nature Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. So keep filling up those bags! 

    CNC Month By Month:

    November: Sunday, November 4th, at 3 PM – Hello Autumn  Hike

    November: Thursday, November 15th, at 7 PM- “Native Technology” presented by Marc Gussen

    December: Holiday Break Classes: Wednesday, 12/26 - Friday, 12/28

    March: Photography Exhibition! 


    Closter Nature Center educational programs, held in Northern Valley classrooms, after school at the Nature Center, and during the summer session, reach over 6,000 children each year. Our goal is to disconnect children from digital devices and reconnect them with Nature! However, Closter Nature Center needs your support to extend our curriculum to as many Northern Valley schools as possible, and to expand our program offerings at the Nature Center. Please consider an education donation to the Closter Nature Center in your year-end giving plans. You can give either by going online to closternaturecenter.org, or by sending a check to P.O. Box 80, Closter NJ, 07624. 

    We are a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your tax –deductible donation will help support our programming, our facility and 136-acre tract of forested woodlands. Thank-You for your support!


    Closter Nature Center is gradually moving our administrative functions over to Community Pass. This digital support option allows our members to conveniently sign up for classes and renew their annual Closter Nature Center memberships. Community Pass renewal reminders will now be sent out on the anniversary date of your membership sign up. This transition is a significant change for the Nature Center and we hope it will enable us to better meet the needs of all our member families.

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  • Newsletter — September, 2018

    >>September Events and Activities –>

    Forest Stewardship Update

        During the summer, the Forest Stewardship team has been sporadically busy in the forest, despite the very wet weather.  Rutgers graduate students have completed spring and summer assessments of vegetation in their 6 study plots scattered throughout the Nature Center.  Three of the six research plots will be protected within 3 separate 8-10-acre deer exclusion fences.  The other 3 research plots will be left outside the fencing to allow us to compare and determine the effectiveness of deer exclusion.   You may notice the abundant pink and yellow flagging through the woods.  In a few months we expect vinyl fencing to be erected along these flag lines.

    A presentation of the project has been made to the Mayor and Council, and we received their appreciative endorsement for our plans to protect this Borough-owned forest.


    September After-School Programs

    “Let's Take a Hike”

    Come explore the trails of the Nature Center. See the sights, meet the animals and have some fun outside this September!

    Please dress for the weather... 

                                            Pk-K - Tuesdays 11th - 18th - 25th 

                                            1st-2nd – Wednesdays - 12th - 19th - 26th 

                                            3rd-6th – Thursdays - 13th - 20th - 27th  

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

    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.

    “Goodbye Summer” Hike

    Saturday, September 22 at 11 AM

    Come visit the Nature Center and join us for a hike along our trails. Enjoy our woods as Summer turns to Autumn!  Meet at the cabin by  Ruckman Pond...


    Thursday, September 27, at 7 PM

    You will not want to miss this captivating and fascinating program: Naturalist Marc Gussen has offered it often over the years, and always has had a great response. Come learn about mushrooms, their role in the forest...and in the 



    Sunday, October 7th at 2 PM

    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.

    CNC Month By Month:

    Saturday September 22nd, at 11 AM – “Goodbye Summer” Hike

    Thursday September 27, at 7 PM - Marc’s Mushroom Presentation

    Sunday, October 7th, at 2 PM – BATS, BATS, BATS!

    Sunday, November 5th, at 3 PM – Winter Hike



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  • Naturalist Notes: December, 2017


    Fall is slowly coming to an end, and everything in nature is readying for winter. Plants are closing up shop, migrants are leaving, forest residents are prepping to sleep or stick it out; and we are here to enjoy it all. Late fall is probably my favorite time to be in the woods.  Deep breaths of cool autumn air, the sound of crunching leaves under my feet, and that magical fall smell of the forest are just some the reasons to take a hike in December.  With the leaves off the trees, visibility is increased and you would be amazed at the number of last years’ nests that are visible now. Animal watching reaches new levels, since seeing birds of all kinds and mammals is easy without leaves blocking your view. The sounds of the forest are enhanced as well. I am always amazed at how far the sounds of woodpeckers can travel in a leafless forest. It’s not just the loud and obvious, but the soft sounds of squirrels’ claws on the bark of tree as they scurry up to safety, and the footsteps of deer traipsing along can finally be heard. As the temperature drops and the days shorten, and we are often feeling trapped inside, let’s not forget what a great time it is to be outside.

    See you on the trails,
    Marc Gussen, Naturalist


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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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  • 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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