By Lisa McNamara
Nestled along the tree-lined streets of Short Hills lies a natural gem, the Cora Hartshorn Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary. In April, a new exhibit was unveiled in the recently renovated Stone House Nature Center, which offers a museum-quality exhibit experience with more interactive learning opportunities and discovery stations.
“We’re excited about the new exhibit; we’re able to utilize it in our teaching especially for our summer camp,” boasted Nicole Esposito, environmental educator at CHA.
Esposito is also excited about their new residents. A corn snake, eastern king snake and rat snake have joined the turtles, fish and rabbits at the Stone Center. The exhibit is also home to a hive of honeybees; the beehive provides visitors with a rare opportunity to see bees up close and to hear their amazing hum as they work. Colorful canopies hang from the ceiling in the exhibit and are backlit for evening events to spotlight the animals, birds and bugs that thrive in trees during the spring, summer and fall in New Jersey. Discovery stations and viewing platforms offer even more learning opportunities.
Nicole Landreman started coming to the Arboretum as a little girl, and now she works there. Last year, when Landreman was a senior at Millburn High School and the president of the high school’s Environmental Club, she was looking for a volunteer opportunity and “wanted to learn more about the animals and plants in my local ecosystem,” and The Citizen Science program at CHA was the “hands-on” answer.
Landreman speaks highly of her volunteer experience and of the new exhibit; the snakes are one of her favorite features because “snakes are the easiest to handle, and they crawl up your arm!” she says. She enjoys the animals and people too. A recent visitor told her he has been coming for 30 years, and that day, he brought along his one-year-old.
Summer is the perfect time to check out CHA, an ideal setting for summer camp and wonderful opportunity to get kids to unplug and enjoy nature.
Esposito was pleased to announce, “We are debuting new curriculum this summer for all age groups which incorporates hands-on learning.”
Nature Discovery Camp at CHA has programs for children ages 3-5, first-third grade and fourth-sixth grade, and each week features a different theme. Esposito said, “We want kids getting outside, asking questions. No matter what, we go out every day.”…..
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