It's officially spring

| 20 Mar 2012 | 03:15

Ringwood — So if the beautiful weather hasn't been enough of a sign of spring, here are three sure signs: Spring peeper’s are in chorus,black bears are emerging from their winter dens, and the official reopening of NJ Audubon’s Weis Ecology Center is set for April 1

By all the signs, it’s time for you and your family to get out and aboutwith the staff at Weis. New Jersey’s eco-rich Highlands are shaking offwinter and New Jersey Audubon’s northernmost nature center is opening itsdoors for another season of programs and events. Adjacent to Norvin GreenState Forest, only minutes from West Milford, the Weis Ecology Center is NJAudubon’s portal to one of the state’s most pristine natural areas.

From now until late autumn, thousands of visitors will hike the well-marked trails, inhale fern scented air of northern forests, and enjoy anarray of programs and events orchestrated by Weis Ecology Center’s staff.

“We have numerous programs for families and adults on the schedule for spring,” said sanctuary Director Phaedra Demers, one of the stars of New JerseyAudubon’s education department. Demers and her staff take particulardelight in opening young minds to the natural wonders around them.

Very much in the spirit of the season, Weis Ecology Center will be hosting an all natural egg dying event on April 6, followed by theCamouflaged Egg Hunt on April 7. There will be different hunts for ages3 and 4, 5 through 7 and 8 to 10.

Why camouflaged? Come and find out. Fun and natural historyinterpretation go hand in hand at Weis. Who ever said “environmentaleducation” was supposed to be dull? And why shouldn’t a traditionalcelebration of spring be as natural as the seasons?

New Jersey Audubon knows a thing or two about offering insights intothe natural world. Founded in 1897, the award winning organization willwelcome its one millionth child through its doors this year. NJA’s weeklong Nature Camps are the organization’s most popular program. Demers advises that there are still spaces available for this year’s roster, as well as openings for scout and school groups).

The 160-acre Weis Ecology Center grounds abuts Norvin Green StateForest. These combined and mostly forested grounds offer 24 miles oftrail. In addition, the Ecology Center maintains a store that carriestrail maps and other items for hikers and nature enthusiasts.

The center is open five days per week, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. They are closed Monday and Tuesday. Directions can be found on-line. For information on programsor events, or to register, call 973-835-2160 or visit New Jersey Audubon’s Website,, and click on Centers/Weis Ecology Center.

Don’t dawdle. Spring is not eternal. And registration for someprograms and events is limited.