Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Five Pipes Are Open

After painting all summer in the muggy, buggy heat lead artist Eduardo Alexander Rabel, the students of Thomas Jefferson Middle School, and community volunteers both young and old, are proud to present the final product of hundreds of hours of creative artistry.

On October 21st we celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony officiated by County Executive Dennis McNerney.

“This unique artistic project involved the transformation and beautification of five graffiti covered storm pipes that had been abandoned in the 1960’s on what is now the 46 acre Teaneck Creek Conservancy in Teaneck, NJ. The murals painted on the pipes are educational in nature, addressing the theme of human relationship to nature throughout different eras in local history.” Lead Artist, Eduardo Alexander Rabel.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sneak Preview

So what is it about being around creative people? They are like flashes of bright red in gray landscape. I always feel elevated in their presence.

This weekend the Creek is opening a photography exhibit that features the work of members of the Puffin Camera Club. An eclectic bunch, led by professional photographer Rachel Banai, they have been documenting the environs of the Teaneck Creek Park for over seven years now. Their collective work has captured the metamorphosis of this 46-acre brownfields-to-greenfields site with amazing clarity and beauty.

In the "Windows on the Park" exhibit PCC members have used old wooden window sashes to frame some of their most striking images. In the exhibit the frames will be hung from the black walnut trees in the meadow area of the park during the month of April.

We had a great time hanging the work. Each piece was more incredible than the next. I couldn't help thinking about what people see when they come to our park. It is intentionally a wild place, without the outward trappings of formal gardens or trimmed and groomed green spaces, but that does not mean it is without great beauty. The photographers in this group can see it, and catch it. Can you?

Come on out and see for yourself:

Windows on the Park / Artists' Reception

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Noon to 2:00pm / Teaneck Creek Park / 20 Puffin Way, Teaneck NJ

For directions or more information, visit our website, and follow the programming links.

See you on the trails!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Come out, come out where ever you are

Now that spring is officially here my mind is racing with thoughts on green and growing things. I was buoyed by the announcement that the Obamas are going to Eat The View and grow their own veggies on the White House Lawn. Raised beds, organic seedlings, bee hives, and fifth graders - who wouldn't be excited!

It sent me in search of a project I heard about several years ago called
Edible Estates where homes across the country were ditching their carefully groomed and trimmed front lawns in favor of fruit and vegetable producing gardens of Eden. Check out this Maplewood yard that was transformed.

When I looked further, I see the good work has continued, and this spring the same initiative is putting in a Lenape Children's Garden in New York City. This from their website:
This landscape will simulate how the native Lenape people lived off the land on the island of Manhattan 400 years ago, with native edible plants and cultivars such as beans, corn and squash (three sisters).

How great is that!

One of the very captivating parts of our history here at the Teaneck Creek Park is that our 46-acre parcel was once home to a thriving Lenape community. They used these lands and waterways to hunt and fish. Fycke Lane, which borders our northern edge, pays tribute to the Lenape hunting device called a "fycke", and the grounds of the creek were part of a parcel of land that the Lenape Leader Oratam gifted to Dutch translator Sarah Kiersted back in 1669. (visit out history page for more details).

So even though it seems it way too gray and cold outside, I know this too shall pass, as spring advances undeterred. Anyone up for a little Guerrilla Gardening in the park??!!?

See you on the trails!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Ready, set, go!

The park is like an orchestra just before a performance. All the musicians are getting settled, instruments are being tuned, and the hum of the expectant concert-goers fills the air.
When I saw this photo from the Puffin Camera Club of these crocuses, upright and ready to burst, I thought of bows posied over stringed instruments, just waiting for the conductor's signal.

If you are poised to leap too, consider joining us this weekend when we host:

The Second Annual Weed Warrior Breakfast & Training
Saturday, March 14th @ 10:00am / 20 Puffin Way, Teaneck

Teaneck Creek's Weed Warriors are part of an all-volunteer force that works throughout the spring season to manage the non-native invasive plants in our 46-acre park. Come on out and spend some quality time with your favorite non-profit, you'll feel better, enhance the environment, and develop new friendships too!

To RSVP, email Shelly at .

Monday, March 2, 2009

I'd like to think that I was one of those gardeners that has spent the last several months pouring over seed catalogs and dutifully starting trays of seedlings in my basement six weeks before the last frost, but alas, such forethought and energy usually eludes me.

Wintertime does find me yearning for green growing things though, especially on a day when March reminds us that winter is still king. So I was pleasantly stoked when I read a posting from Kitchen Gardeners International today about the cost effectiveness of growing your own veggies. They're the organization behind the campaign to persuade the Obamas to plant an organic vegetable garden on the front lawn of the White House. Just the kind of awe-inspiring energy and "outside of the box" thinking that inspires me to hug something green. Good for us and good for the planet! See you on the trails!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

No Surprises

Remember the "I should have had a V-8!" commercials? That's the kind of reaction that I had yesterday when I read this article in the NYTimes about the benefits of time outdoors for children.

It reminded me of the time I raised the question at my daughter's middle school several years ago when I found out the students weren't allowed out of the building during the day (despite the fact that the school bordered a large, well-equipped county park). "Oh, there's just no way to keep the students out of trouble if we let them go outside" is what I was told. -Wow-

Let's hope the educators and administrators who have the lion-share of our children's waking hours sit up and take notice. The Teaneck Creek Park is 46 acres of nature right here in our own backyard, only a stone's throw away from over 1000 students in Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Hawthorne Elementary school. Have you taken a walk today?

To learn more about the movement to get our children outdoors visit No Child Left Inside and Ricard Louv's Children & Nature Network.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Promises Kept

Even though I strongly believe in working towards balance in all things, especially my work vs home life, this holiday weekend I find myself committed to being in the office to meet and greet the birders participating in The Great Backyard Bird Count and I am reminded why I love this job so much.

It's the people! Not the endless paperwork, or the long meetings, or the many days when I don't even step a toe outside. It's the people who come out, even on a grey day in February, to find the beauty in this park. Their passion and joy for this little green oasis in our community spreads through me with a warm glow. Thanks! It's great to see you.

Spring is rising and the park is filled with the signs. More than one friend has reported their first robin sighting. The photography class tells me they've spied snowdrops.

I'm watching the buds on the trees! Set in the autumn when everyone is distracted by the riot of fall colors, the buds take form. All winter long they sit exposed to the elements, poised, waiting to take advantage of just the right tempertaure, sunlight, and moisture. Ready to burst back into control. It won't be long now.

Check out friend and Teaneck Creek member Marta McDowell's blog. Today she's talking about buds too. And she does it so well!

"The buds, however, are darling. Even more darling in February than May, because of their promise that in a mere five weeks the light will equal the darkness in the great stretch towards Spring."

My valentine gift to you!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

got birds?

The Teaneck Creek Conservancy loves its birds, especially at this time of year. A brilliant flash of red against the snow, or goldfinches in their winter colors never fail to inspire. Who cares about the ground hog seeing his shadow, I'd much rather watch the birds as a hopeful sign of spring.

Join fellow bird-watchers across the nation next week for the Great Backyard Bird Count. Sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon, the program is a citizen-science project that takes a real-time snapshot of birds across the continent from February 13th through 16th. For more information about the program visit:

Come by the park at 10:00am on any of those days and we'll be happy to start you off with a warm cup of cocoa, the necessary forms, and a map of the park. If we're not here, look for the forms in our Membership Box (in the Puffin Way parking lot). And if you like, leave you completed forms back in the same box, and we'll enter the data online for you.

See you on the trails!

Friday, January 23, 2009

A picture is worth a thousand words

If you are following our fledgling forays into web 2.0 technology, I hope you take the time to enjoy the visual imagery. When I talk about the amazing passion of some of "our people" I am often thinking one of our most tireless cheerleaders - Rachel Banai .
An internationally-recognized photographer, she has been cataloging the transformation of our site from dumpsite to parkland, on a near-daily basis for the last six years. You can see a small sampling of some of her images in the flash movie on our home page.

Starting January 31st, Rachel returns to teach her popular Nature Photography classes in the Teaneck Creek Park. The classes meet either Saturday or Sunday morning in a series of five week cycles, and they are amazing! Part indoors for review, part outside in the park, the experience will leave you with an incredible urge to drop everything else in your life and just take pictures!

The Conservancy is grateful to the Puffin Foundation for underwriting the cost of the tuition so that we can offer it to our community for a very modest fee. Visit the Puffin Cultural Forum for dates and details.

Til then, see you on the trails!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Say it isn't so...

By now, many of you have heard about Richard Louv and his ground-breaking book "Last Child in the Woods". He argues that children today are often disconnected from nature, opting instead for anyone of the myriad of technological choices in our plugged-in world: television, computers, video games, cell phones, and ipods. In the early pages of his book he recounts how a fourth grader expressed his preference to stay inside: "...cause that's where all the electrical outlets are."

Now this today from a Canadian newspaper:
The publisher of the Oxford Junior Dictionary has sent words like "beaver" and "dandelion" the way of the dodo bird. In the latest version of its dictionary for schoolchildren, Oxford University Press has cut nature terms such as heron, magpie, otter, acorn, clover, ivy, sycamore, willow and blackberry.In their place, the university publishing house has substituted more modern terms, like the electronic Blackberry, blog, MP3 player, voicemail and broadband.
Canadian wildlife artist and conservationist Robert Bateman, whose Get to Know Program has been inspiring children to go outdoors and "get to know" their wild neighbours for more than a decade, said the decision is telling kids that nature just isn't that important."This is another nail in the coffin of human beings being acquainted with nature," Bateman said in an interview with The Canadian Press."If you can't name things, how can you love them? And if you don't love them, then you're not going to care a hoot about protecting them or voting for issues that would protect them."
I particularly like that they have cut "blackberry"- the fruit/shrub, but added "Blackberry", the handheld. Read the full article here: .

What do you think? I'd vote for the dandelion any day.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

While setting up a blog yesterday, it occurred to me that blogging could be a very interesting way to record the different migratory species that people observe passing through the Conservancy.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Greetings from the Creek

January is so much about new beginnings. The ideas and possibilities that stretch before us seem unlimited and so possible.

The volunteers and staff of the Teaneck Creek Conservancy have returned from the holiday break renewed and energized. The months of 2009 stretch before us like an unmarked canvas and we stand paint brushes at the ready!

If you are on our e-mail blast list you know that one of our "resolutions" in this new year is to better communicate with our stakeholders. As a 501 (c)(3) organization we recognize our commitment to serve you, our community.

Towards that end we are taking advantage of every tool at our disposal, including the wealth of opportunities that the Internet provides. Please visit our website, (, sign up for our e-newsletter, and tune in here, at our new blog: Conversations at the Creek. Let us know what you would like to see happen at the Teaneck Creek Conservancy this year!