Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Kuser Mansion Home Entertainment: Then and Now

August 25, 2014

“We were in the magic domain …” wrote the author. When the curtains parted, the silent and darkened room transformed into another realm with a fanfare of music and 20th Century Fox spotlights flashing across an 18-foot screen, once hidden but now revealed by the theater master’s cue and a pull of a chord.

Welcome to one of America’s first home entertainment centers, dating back to 1919.

The movie night described above was from circa 1940. The venue was — and still is — the Kuser farm mansion on Newkirk Avenue, Hamilton; the theater master, Fritz Kuser; and the author mentioned above, Tom Glover, Hamilton Township historian and writer/publisher of the blog known as the Hamilton Scrapbook.

Only a couple hours before the show, the 45-foot-long home-theater room would have been the Kuser family’s dining room. But when it was time for the Sunday night movie, the table would be folded up and set aside, the big oak chairs lined up in rows, folding chairs added as needed, and pillows placed up front for the children. ……..

Today, almost 100 years after the Kusers showed their first film, Hamilton Township continues the tradition.

Movies are shown monthly, and visitors can explore the projection room with its original equipment and vintage movie posters almost any weekend during house tours that are offered throughout the year…… Read more at


National Trails Day Hike offered by D&R Greenway Land Trust

May 7, 2014

D&R Greenway Land Trust invites the public to join staff and volunteers for a  National Trails Day Hike, Saturday, June 7. Several more nature walks take place over the next few months. (

National Trails Day Celebration at Pryde’s Point
Co-hosted with Blue Ridge Mountain Sports

Saturday, June 7
10:30am – 12:00pm
Leader: Deb Brockway, D&R Greenway Volunteer and Trail Crew Leader

Every year on the first Saturday in June, organizations around the country celebrate National Trails Day with outdoor activities.  Join us for a walk on our Pryde’s Point Trail to celebrate this year! The trail begins at one of the highest points in Hunterdon County and loops about 1 mile down to Alexauken Creek, providing a connection with the Alexauken Creek Wildlife Management Area.

Location: West Amwell Township, Hunterdon County, NJ
Stony Brook Adventure & Family Picnic
Co-hosted with the Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association

Tuesday, July 8
5:30 – 7:30pm
Leader: Jeff Hoagland, Educational Director, SBMWA
Cost: $5 per person

Join us for our annual family picnic and naturalist-led walk along the Stony Brook.  Bring your dinner (drinks and desserts provided) to enjoy a picnic on the terrace and then explore the brook! The walk will introduce you to aquatic plants and animals (bring your water-friendly shoes!), and teach you about vital ecological stream functions.

Location: Johnson Education Center, One Preservation Place, Princeton, NJ 08540

Meadow Restoration at Cadwalader ParkDate TBA: Mid to late summer
Leader: Diana Raichel, Conservation Biologist, D&R Greenway

At Cadwalader Park in Trenton, we’ve turned an old animal paddock into a native meadow!  This streambank and meadow restoration project (pictured right) improves water quality, increases biodiversity and provides environmental education opportunities for the local community. Join us to learn about our restoration techniques and outreach efforts.

Location: Cadwalader Drive, Trenton, NJ 08618

More hikes are slated this summer and fall.

From D&R Greenway:

Environmental Schollarship

January 6, 2012

The Hackensack Riverkeeper is inviting college-bound students to apply for an environmental scholarship. Although this award is limited to students from participating New Jersey schools, I think this information is worth sharing. Hopefully it will serve as a model for other school districts.

From Captain Bill Sheehan, Hackensack Riverkeeper:

2012 Ron Vellekamp Environmental Scholarship

 Group seeks the best, brightest – and greenest – students in their watershed 

Hackensack Riverkeeper is now accepting applications for the 2012 Ron Vellekamp Environmental Scholarship. Now in its twelfth year, the program was created in 2001 to support college-bound high school seniors who excel academically and who demonstrate a strong commitment to the environment.

All told, seniors at sixty-six Bergen, Hudson and Rockland County high schools are eligible for the award. Why those sixty-six schools and not all the high schools in those counties? Because in order to be eligible to apply, students must reside and/or attend school within the 210 square-mile Hackensack River Watershed.

Teachers and guidance counselors are invited to submit applications on behalf of deserving students; and each school may nominate one student. A panel of Hackensack Riverkeeper Trustees and staffers led by Captain Bill Sheehan will review each application. Among other criteria, the panel will consider each applicant’s academic achievements, environmental extra-curricular activities and future plans. The $1000 Scholarship is unrestricted and can be used for any required purchases during the student’s first year at college. 

“Last year despite our liberal application criteria and the fact that all sixty-six guidance departments were notified of the scholarship in early January, only two students applied,” explained Program Director Hugh Carola. “Unfortunately neither student lived or matriculated within our watershed, and so the 2011 scholarship went un-granted. We do not want a reprise of that situation this year.”

Full scholarship application criteria (in all its ease and liberality) are available online at or by calling 201-968-0808.  A list of all watershed municipalities is available on the “Links” page of the Website. For those residing in bi-watershed communities like Bayonne, Paramus or Ramapo some additional sleuthing (or a phone call to scholarship administrator Carola) is necessary to determine a student’s eligibility.

Applications must be postmarked no later than April 23, 2012 – one day after Earth Day. The winner will be chosen no later than June 1. 

The late Ronald Vellekamp was a science teacher in Ridgefield, New Jersey. During his life he also served as a Palisades Interstate Park ranger, Boy Scout leader, and was a Hackensack Riverkeeper trustee. The scholarship that bears his name is fitting tribute to a life lived in the service of others. 

“One of the many things I learned from Ron during the all-too-short time he was with us was the value of education and of never letting a teachable moment pass,” said Capt. Sheehan. “That’s something all of us should understand because time is the best investment you can make in the life of a young person.”