May 8, 2015
YOU AND I walk through the woods and we see trees and bushes and thorny things. Tess Hooper, a young environmental educator at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, in Upper Roxborough, sees the makings of a fine beer. "This is a staghorn sumac," she said, nodding toward the kind of tree I've seen sprout dozens of times on vacant lots. "It bears these red cones that are like fruit. You could make beer with them. " Hmm . . . I must've missed that merit badge in Boy Scouts.
February 26, 2014 |
Sean Duffy didn't even hear the warning crack! of the tree branch breaking. But when it fell just behind where he was clearing the snow at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, the facilities manager ran inside for another piece of equipment: A hard hat. Not long after, the Roxborough center posted a notice on its door and its website: Trails closed. Even as temperatures warm and snows melt, the region's nature centers and others with big tracts of woods are still dealing with the tree carnage.
January 7, 2014 |
At this time last year, Rich Chichester said, "there was a lot of venom" in the classroom at the Rancocas Nature Center - and it wasn't from the harmless orange corn snake curled up in the corner. It was from a group of local residents, municipal officials, parents, and volunteers determined to keep the center open after the New Jersey Audubon Society abruptly announced its closure, citing a $55,000 funding gap. The Friends of Rancocas Nature Center quickly coalesced, and over the next six months arranged a public-private partnership to take ownership of the center, where children and adults can hike, birdwatch, and track wildlife on 210 acres of state park.
August 2, 2013 |
Nets in hand, scooping tadpoles from a frog pond and squealing at dragonflies, Chris Reeh and Isabella Vilic had no idea they were making childhood memories. That's how it is when you're 6 and 7 - especially at summer camp. But the pond, the bee meadow, the surrounding streams, the hiking trails, the child garden brimming with honeysuckle and chocolate mint, and that field where children squish mud between their toes when it rains, nearly became a vanished memory this year. "We got a call from the New Jersey Audubon Society in December," Toni Price recalled this week, perched on a wooden picnic table at the Rancocas Nature Center in Westampton.
March 31, 2013 |
Sunday was to supposed to be the last day for Rancocas Nature Center and Park in Westampton, forced to close after 35 years for lack of funding. But the Cub Scouts visiting the 130-acre site Friday had no thoughts of farewell as they labored on their forestry merit badges. "We're still here," said John Courtney, a volunteer since the center opened in 1978. Projecting a $55,000 deficit at the site in 2013, the New Jersey Audubon Society, which has operated it for years, announced in December it would close March 31. This week, however, the Burlington County freeholder board announced a shared-services plan to keep the center and its trails open.
March 1, 2013
Special Events Flower Show Black Tie Preview Party Early look at displays; food stations, cocktails & award presentations. Convention Center, 1101 Arch St. www.thepennsylvaniahorticulturalsociety.org . $400; $200 ages 21-40. 3/1. 7-10 pm. Germantown White House Exhibits Interactive exhibits featuring George Washington's family & household. Germantown White House (formerly Deshler-Morris House), 5442 Germantown Ave.; 215-965-2305. Healthcare Job Fair For healthcare professionals.
January 22, 2013 |
Ken Finch delights in asking people to recall happy childhood moments spent outdoors. Invariably, they involve nature: climbing a favorite tree, wading in a stream, catching fireflies in a jar. But this works only when his audience is older than about 30. If they're younger, they were born after a divide - the time childhood in America changed. For the worse. No longer did they run outdoors on a Saturday, coming home only when the streetlights went on. More and more, they stayed indoors.
January 2, 2013 |
The Rancocas Nature Center - which until a few days ago was slated to close New Year's Day - has been given a reprieve that Burlington County residents and officials hope will become permanent. In a cost-cutting move, the New Jersey Audubon Society, which operates the 135-acre facility in Westampton Township near Mount Holly, announced last month that it would shut the 35-year-old center along with the Weis Ecology Center in Ringwood, Passaic County. The group also said it would make its Nature Center of Cape May a seasonal facility by closing it to the public until April 15, 2013.
December 24, 2012 |
CAPE MAY - The New Jersey Audubon Society, which for 115 years has exhorted nature-seekers to interact with the physical world, is expanding its virtual horizons in a budgetary move officials say is born of Darwinian necessity. "To survive, we need to adapt," said Eric Stiles, president of the nonprofit nature and conservation group, which has no connection with the National Audubon Society. Effective Jan. 1, the organization will close two facilities - including the 135-acre Rancocas Nature Center in Mount Holly - and modify programming at nine others.