Flat Rock Brook is pleased to announce the award of a $4,000 grant from the Community Chest of Englewood to provide continuing support for the Nature Center’s environmental education initiatives. The grant will enhance our ability to provide education programs for the thousands of area adults and students to learn about the natural world. The Community Chest has been a long-time supporter of Flat Rock Brook, providing over $125,000 in grant funds over the past 25 years. We also appreciate the Community Chest’s continued support of our education initiatives in the Englewood Public School District, and their leadership regarding the excellent Professional Development Series they offer area nonprofits, which several members of the Flat Rock Brook staff.
Flat Rock Brook is excited to announce that NVE Bank spearheaded our pilot Summer Nature Day Camp scholarship program this year. Pictured is this year’s recipient – a 7th grader who loves nature and gained the benefit of spending time outdoors immersed in hands-on experiences learning about our natural world. We plan on expanding this program in 2018 so that more deserving community children can gain access to a weeklong experience learning about natural history while cultivating a desire to protect it. Thank you NVE Bank!
Flat Rock Brook Nature Center’s forest has experienced extensive habitat degradation caused by the overpopulation of deer feeding on native tree seedlings and saplings. Overgrazing deer prevent the forest from naturally regenerating. The shrub layer disappears, leaving a barren understory that is no longer able to function as habitat for wildlife. This problem, combined with the rapid spread of non-native plants, or invasive species, is compromising the overall health and biodiversity of our forest. This has become a serious threat to forests across the state of New Jersey.
Our Board of Trustees and staff began discussing deer management options several years ago. After careful research and consultation with authorities that weighed various solutions, it was decided that a deer exclosure would be the most effective resolution. Creating deer exclosures on the preserve offers the most sustainable and effective method for long-term forest health and regeneration. The fencing in of crucial habitat within our preserve will give the forest understory a chance to regenerate and rebound after years of extensive damage. Native plant communities will return, biodiversity will increase and viable wildlife habitat will become more readily available.
Much of the water flowing through Flat Rock Brook comes from runoff of rainfall and snow melt throughout the surrounding suburban developments. We are monitoring the following water characteristics to help people understand the impact they can have on aquatic ecosystems, to identify specific problems, and to work towards solutions of those problems. We regularly sample water from several locations along Flat Rock Brook, including both the northern and southern tributaries upstream from McFaddens Wetland, and in the stream at the picnic area along Jones Road.