• Newsletter — December, 2022


    All the latest news and events happening at the Closter Nature Center.

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  • Newsletter — October, 2019



    1. The Amazing World of Mushrooms

    October 17th 7:00 pm

    You will not want to miss this captivating and fascinating program: Naturalist Marc Gussenhas 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 kitchen!

    Admission is Free... Donations gratefully accepted.

    2. Hello Autumn Hike

    Sunday, October 27, 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...

    October After-School Programs

    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 15th, 22nd and 29th

    1st and 2nd  - Wednesdays 16th, 23rd and 30th

    3rd thru 6th  - Thursdays 17th 24th and 31st

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

    To register online please go to:

    https://register.communitypass.net/Closterand 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.



    Light Exercise for You, Big Help to Your Nature Center

    Needed: Deer Fence maintenance volunteers for 2 types of work throughout the year:

    A top priority for the Closter Nature Center is to ensure that our magnificent 130 acre forest remains healthy. A significant step in this process was to engage NJ Audubon to conduct a forest survey and develop a Forest Stewardship Plan. One of the threats Audubon identified was the loss of native species due to the deer eating them. To protect new tree seedlings (the future of the forest!), this summer (with support from the Borough of Closter) we installed over 1 mile of deer exclosure fencing. This fencing will remain in place until the seedlings grow large enough to survive the deer (approximately 10 years).

    Our challenge now is to monitor the fence to make sure there are no breaks where deer can come in. We are building a team of volunteers to support this effort - please consider joining us. Any time you could give would be very welcome!

    We need maintenance volunteers for 2 types of work throughout the year:

    1. Fence checkersThis role just requires the ability to walk in the woods and to be a good observer. Further details to be provided at the meeting, although may vary depending on the number of volunteers we get.
    2. Fence repairersThis role is a bit more physically demanding in terms of carrying tools and materials, possible use of a saw, and understanding of the cable system (pretty basic) or willingness to learn.   Ideally, we need 3 or 4 people available on call so that someone among them would be free to respond within a day or two to a checker's report of damage.

    Learn more and choose how you can help, often or occasionally ... do some good and get some exercise!  Maybe bring a friend who might like to work with you once a month or so.

    If you would like to be involved in this project please click here https://closternaturecenter.org/volunteer-positions-available/ and fill out our volunteer form at the bottom. Please mention this article.

    Thank you for your support!


    CNC Month By Month:

    October 17th @ 7pm Mushrooms - Marc

    October 27th @ 3pm Fall Hike

    November 17th @ 2pm Bats

    December 22nd @ 3pm Welcome Winter Hike

    December Bird Watch

    January Photo competition

    January 16th @ 7pm Primitive Tech

    February 9th @ 3pm Winter Hike

    March 15th @ 3pm Meet the animals of the nature center

    April 15th @ 7pm Invasive/native plants

    April 19th Soup Supper

    May Forest Stewardship/deer exclosure community update

    May Bird Count

    June Summer Hike

    June 7th Pond Celebration



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  • “I L.O.V.E. Closter”

    How to pick the best memes and ‘mom’ advice from Tara Clark, the woman behind @ModernMomProbs

    (201) Influencer Tara Clark (aka @modernmomprobs)

    Favorite things to do in Bergen County?

    I L.O.V.E. Closter, so I’m always at the Closter Plaza doing The Bar Method or shopping for leggings because #momlife. My family loves to visit the Closter Nature Center for a little hiking and fishing. Mr. Marc (who runs it) is a national treasure!

    As far as restaurants, The Hill has an amazing brunch I highly recommend. My fave new place is Jack’s Lobster Shack in Cresskill. Their lobster bisque is fantastic!

    For full article go to: NorthJersey.com

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  • Naturalist Notes: January, 2019

    >> Naturalist Notes & Musings:

    When winter really sets in, there is no better place than the Closter Nature Center for a quick hike. Considering the ordeal of getting dressed for the cold and snow, it gets hard in the winter to go outside for some exercise, but the benefits are tremendous. To offset our tendency to spend more time inside and less time outside, a few simple tips can help pave the way towards a happy and healthy winter. 

    "There is no such thing as bad weather - only bad clothes." I don't know who to credit this quote to, but that doesn't lessen the power of this nugget of wisdom. Layering up and topping things off with a windproof top can be the difference between a great hike and a shiver-fest. Snow boots may not be the best hiking boots for an all day trip, but for a 45 minute walk along snow covered trails they will be fine.  A warm hat that covers the ears, and some gloves to protect those tender digits and we are ready. 

    The forest in winter is a magical place, and being able to enjoy it while getting some exercise is a special treat. The Nature Center is  open from dawn to dusk, and we encourage you to show up and hit the trails no matter what the weather.

    See you on the trails!

    Marc Gussen, Naturalist

    P.S. Cute Kid’s Quote

    While talking with some kindergartners about habitats, I asked the kids, "What is a pond?"

    One insightful 5 year old scratched his head and said, "It's an inside out island"


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  • 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 — March, 2018


    “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.


    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.


    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)


    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:


    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!


    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 — 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: https://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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