Flat Rock Brook is moving forward with an exciting Quarry Pond patio renovation this spring—a project that will ultimately provide a shaded workspace for students attending field trips and summer camp at Flat Rock Brook. Currently, there is no shaded workspace for students to complete studies of water quality and aquatic organisms in the pond. This patio renovation will offer students a comfortable place to immerse themselves in scientific studies and learn to be the STEM professionals of tomorrow.
Our patio renovation will feature a continuation of the blue stone paving that currently welcomes visitors into our Nature Center, seating for students to gather, native plantings acting as borders to the patio space and a retractable awning for sunny summer days. This multi-use space will be renovated up to the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), increasing accessibility at Flat Rock Brook.
This project is made possible by the generosity of the Bergen County Open Space Trust Fund and Trustee Cynthia Sumner. The Bergen County Open Space Grant is a matching grant and they will match us dollar for dollar up to $7,500. Through the generosity of donors, we have raised the matching funds and plan to break ground on the project in July.
Seen above, Flat Rock Brook Staff poses with Vice-Chairwoman of the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Mary J. Amoroso.
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.
Field trips are in full swing at Flat Rock Brook. Students from schools across Bergen County and beyond have visited the preserve to study a variety of topics from Wilderness Survival to Life Cycles. Each of our programs is designed to give the opportunity for hands-on studies on nature-related topics to school children.
When students arrive at Flat Rock Brook for a trip, they are greeted by one of our enthusiastic and talented Trail Guides who leads them on an educational adventure through the forest. Throughout their time here, students learn about the intricacies of nature and the many reasons to value the environment. Programs may focus on the forest, pond ecology, insects, animal adaptations or a plethora of other topics. Regardless of the program, however, students always leave with a smile on their face and newfound knowledge of nature.
Having already educated hundreds of students this spring, educators at Flat Rock Brook are prepared and excited to encourage local students to appreciate, enjoy and respect the natural world through experiential environmental education.
NVE Bank Sends Kids to Summer Camp
Flat Rock Brook is celebrating its third year of awarding camp scholarships to deserving children in our community. NVE Bank was our pilot partner in 2017 and provided one lucky child with a week exploring our forest and learning about nature through interactive crafts and activities. The bank has supported us each summer and will send two lucky campers to our nature day camp in 2019. Scholarships are awarded based on select criteria and affords kids the opportunity to spend a carefree week in our preserve. This year, with the help of partners like NVE, we hope to award 20 one week scholarships to children grades K-8.
Flat Rock extends warm thanks to NVE Bank for their continued support on this important initiative.