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Pond At The Closter Nature Center

Featured Article

Closter Nature Center

Explore the Wonder

The Closter Nature Center Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to protecting 136 acres in downtown Closter. At its heart is a mission to conserve natural resources, provide educational programs, and elevate recreational experiences to build a greater appreciation for the natural world. We spoke with Marc Gussen, Naturalist/Director, and Aubrie George, Program Director, to find out more.

What programs do you have for kids who love nature?

The Closter Nature Center's children's programs focus on the local environment for children and teens ages four through 17. These are hands-on learning experiences where participants learn the fundamentals of ecology and the interconnectedness between humans and the natural world. During classes, children might hike, dig in the mud, wade in our streams, examine nature through a microscope, discuss the environment, and above all, have fun! Participants learn about sustainability and caring for natural resources in an outdoor classroom and can explore nature as a means of recreation. Classes occur in our rustic cabin and on the trails of our wetland preserve.

What adult programs do you offer?

We offer adult lectures and hikes on a variety of topics. This year's programs have included everything from mushrooms to an introduction to birding to the growing problem with the latest invasive species, the spotted lanternfly.

Tell us about your Forest Stewardship Management Program

We have a very active Forest Stewardship Management Program. Starting in 2015, the Closter Nature Center (CNC) Board of Trustees undertook a long-term project to assess and protect the health of its 136-acre site of forested wetlands. Soon after, a forest stewardship study was conducted by New Jersey Audubon for the CNC, which has served as a baseline for further study and recommendations of care. In addition, we have protected about 30 acres of forest from the degradation of deer browse, giving areas of our woods time to produce seedlings and flowers protected from our voracious deer population.

What are some fun things to do at Closter Nature Center?

The Closter Nature Center has three miles of marked trails for walking and hiking. Locals can fish (catch and release) in our ponds, explore our forested wetlands and meadows or sit on a bench in the sun. Other activities include lectures, nature photography, bird watching, and group hikes. Organized events, including after-school and summer programs for children, are advertised on our website.

As a 501c3, how do you garner support for your organization?

The Closter Nature Center relies on the community's support through donations, grants, memberships, and participation in our classes and activities. We also hold fundraisers and special events. In addition to an Earth Day event on April 22, we will have our annual "Soup Supper" on April 30 and "Pond Celebration" on June 3, where community members can explore the pond in a kayak, tie-dye a t-shirt or learn about pond ecology under a microscope!

Why is it important for our communities to have resources like Closter Nature Center?

For 60 years, Closter Nature Center has provided opportunities for people to become active and at ease outdoors, to develop a greater understanding of the connection between humans and nature, and to appreciate the natural world as a source of learning and adventure. Our property consists of a forested wetland which is essential to our community's quality of life because it acts as a natural sponge that traps water, rain, and snowmelt, helping to replenish water tables and prevent flooding. We serve a vital role as forest stewards; thus, we are duty-bound to protect this natural habitat from the negative impacts of climate change, invasive species, and deer overpopulation.

Visit the Closter Nature Center for community events, group walks in the woods, family programs, and environmental education classes for children and adults.

  • After School Nature Program at Closter Nature Center
  • Closter History Hike at Closter Nature Center
  • Pond At The Closter Nature Center
  • Green Heron Above The Trail