Through generous donations and grants we have restored our Quarry Pond Patio, which was in need of repair and removal of an adjacent sensory garden overrun with invasive species. It is located through the back entrance of our nature center building with a beautiful view of our pond. The new space includes an extended blue stone patio with an overhead retractable awning. There is an expanded seating area including cedar benches with planters, a new memorial bench, and a picnic table for visitors to enjoy breakfast or lunch while viewing Quarry Pond and its wildlife. Little explorers will stay shaded during the heat of summer outdoor education programs as will hikers and other visitors to our preserve. The patio is easily accessed from our parking lot and meets ADA requirements.
The result is a beautiful and welcoming area for all to enjoy. It’s already grown popular as a meeting space for field trips, a lunch spot for volunteer groups, a relaxing stop for hikers and even a stage for a bluegrass band. We look forward to many years of enjoyment by our educational programming participants, various groups and individual hikers.
Flat Rock Brook wishes to recognize The Bergen County Open Space Trust Fund, Cynthia Sumner, George & Carolyn Milne and The Oram Family for their very generous donations to this project. We thank everyone that made a contribution to make this restoration possible.
We’d also like to recognize our land manager, Brian Dedeian and his assistant Shaeer Baksh for their expert skills in building our new cedar benches and volunteer John Blakely for his time and craftsmanship in constructing our new memorial bench.
The county of Bergen awarded Flat Rock Brook a $14,000 Community Development Block Grant to support our education program, "Adaptations for all Occasions". This curriculum will be delivered in Englewood Public Schools and onsite at Flat Rock Brook for students in grades K-5. Our program is designed to supplement learning about animal adaptations that is being taught in science classes. Our lessons meet the New Jersey Student Learning Standards. Students will experience real-world connections to animal habitats and adaptations. Studies confirm that experiential education that engages students in hands-on learning results in stronger retention rates and improved academic outcomes. We thank the county for this generous grant that will enable us to bring together children's wonder of nature and environmental education.
Flat Rock Brook Nature Association was awarded a $4,000 grant from the Community Chest to help fund on-site environmental education programs and provide programming specific to the Englewood Public School District.
Flat Rock Brook educates approximately 6,000 children and adults annually by connecting them to the natural world. Among the programs offered by the Nature Center are field trips and outreach lessons for students in the Englewood Public School District and Englewood on the Palisades Charter School. The Nature Center also offers programming for 7th graders in Englewood and Englewood Cliffs designed to connect these students with their water and learn about the water cycle through intensive study. Grants enable us to make these programs available at no cost to participants. When the school year is out of session, Flat Rock Brook offers a popular, educational summer camp for local area children.
“The Community Chest has been a generous supporter of Flat Rock Brook Nature Association for over 25 years. They have granted over $130,000 to Flat Rock Brook over that time, which has had a significant impact on the quality of our education initiatives” said Stephen Wiessner, Executive Director of Flat Rock Brook. “We appreciate the Community Chest’s continued support of our education initiatives in the Englewood Public Schools and beyond. This is an important investment in the children of our community.”
Flat Rock Brook's volunteer Trail Guides went on a field trip of their own to The Raptor Trust today. Trail Guides are dedicated volunteers who lead field trip programs and public programs at Flat Rock Brook. Working directly along with our Education staff, these volunteers provide an invaluable service by inspiring children and adults to appreciate and care for the natural world.
Each year, our Trail Guides head out on their own field trip to learn more about one of the many topics they teach to visitors of Flat Rock. Today they went to The Raptor Trust where they enjoyed "From Rehab to Release," a program about the history of The Raptor Trust and the causes that bring birds to their facilities. After their event, the group toured the facilities and enjoyed watching the non-releasable raptors housed at the trust.