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Ecology of Tenafly Nature Center

Within its nearly 400 acre expanse, the Tenafly Nature Center hosts two ecosystems, brimming with natural biodiversity & actively managed with human effort too. TNC encourages first-time visitors and naturalists alike to learn more about the thriving flora and fauna that inhabit TNC and the surrounding environment.

American Chestnuts
Plant & Wildlife Checklists
Nature's Calendar

American Chestnuts

Hundreds of year ago, the largest, most abundant tree in New Jersey forests was the American Chestnut. In the late 1800s, a fungus was introduced that killed over 3 billion of these once numerous trees. The Tenafly Nature Center partners with the Garden Club of Englewood and the American Chestnut Foundation in a project to restore this important tree, a nearly vanished native. Visitors can visit these rare plants while enjoying the other native species found throughout the 7+ miles of trails. 

Plant & Wildlife Checklists

Fungus & Plant Species: Plants and fungi are two different kingdoms that comprise a large portion of species on earth. There are several things that differ among fungus and plants; plants reproduce through seeds and pollen, while fungi reproduce through spores. Plants have chlorophyll and can produce their own food, while fungi live off others, and cannot produce their own food.  Plants have roots, stems and leaves, while fungi only have filaments which attach to the host. Plants are producers in an ecosystem, while fungi are decomposers. Finally, the cell walls on plants are made of cellulose, while those of fungi are made of chitin. We have comprised a checklist of the 139+ species of fungi and plants found throughout the nature center trails.

Invertebrates: Invertebrates are animals which do not have an internal spinal/skeletal structure. Instead some invertebrates, such as ants (insects) or crabs (crustaceans) have an exoskeleton while others, such as worms (annelids) have a fluid filled hydrostatic skeleton. Invertebrates comprise more than 98% of Earth's animal species and are the world's most abundant animal class. There are over 1,000,000 species known to science, many are still undiscovered. We have comprised a checklist of the 100+ species of invertebrates found throughout the nature center trails.

Reptiles & Amphibians: Reptiles and amphibians both have a internal skeletal system, lay eggs and are cold blooded; body temperature is determined by the surrounding environment. There are approximately 4,600 amphibian and 6,000 reptile species known to science. The study of amphibians and reptiles is known as Herpetology. Amphibians have smooth permeable skin and include three groups of animals: frogs, salamanders and caecilians. Reptiles have scaly skin and include turtles, crocodilians, lizards, snakes and tuatara. We have comprised a checklist of the 25+ species of reptiles and amphibians found throughout the nature center trails.

Birds: Birds are warm-blooded animals with a backbone whose bodies are covered with feathers and whose forelimbs are modified into wings. Most can fly. There are approximately 10,000 bird species known to science. We have comprised a checklist of the 189+ species of bird found throughout the nature center trails.

New Jersey Bird Records Committee collects records of rare birds reported in New Jersey, and maintains a list of all species seen in the state.

Mammals: Mammals are warm blooded; body temperature remains within a constant temperate range regardless of environmental conditions. All mammals have fur or hair, give live birth and readily provide milk to newly born offspring. There are approximately 4,000 mammal species known to science. We have comprised a checklist of the 24+ species of mammals found throughout the nature center trails.

Other New Jersey's Wildlife Checklists:

Nature's Calendar (Seasonal Natural Events)

These calendars will hopefully entice you to come up and explore the trails more often! Dates are only approximate. Email us about your weekly sightings from the TNC trails.

Spring: Read up on activity going on like hearing the bull frogs at their loudest at Pfister’s Pond.       

Summer: Read up on activity going on like looking for the white blossoms of Shadbush (a small tree) along the DeFilippi boardwalk.

Autumn: Read up on activity going on like listening for the “ chimp - chimp ” call of Winter Wrens as they scurry mouse like along the boardwalk or low bushes.

Winter: Read up on activity going on like the Great Horned Owls hooting to announce their territories and maintain the pair-bond.

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