Lake Tappan

 Bergen SWAN 2016 Events

Please note that we are currently planning our lineup of programs for 2016, which will include guided paddles on the reservoirs, guided walks through the watershed woods, talks on watershed-friendly landscaping, and an all-hands clean-up of Emerson Woods. Stay tuned for more details!

 If you have a special area of interest, please call or write us to make a suggestion. 

Thank you for your continued support! 

Support Bergen SWAN by purchasing an early holiday gift. Visit Shaw's Book Shop in Westwood to buy our lovely nature image recycled paper blank books, card collections, and book marks. Or, if you are in the market for something special and specific, email us - we have lots of donations of beautiful and great condition jewelry, scarves, home accents, and collectibles for sale at affordable prices.  Write, subject "interested in purchase." Extra thanks to everyone who has contributed to our fall fundraising efforts to date! 

Fundraising Sale continues online:

Starting Monday, November 17, you can virtually shop online on our Resources page  for scores of decorative and functional items.  View our extensive lists of housewares, art, handcrafts, supplies, lamps, linens, appliances and office supplies, all on sale to benefit our environmental education work. The lists contain specs, descriptions, and photographs of a wide variety of wonderful and affordable items.  We will accept all reasonable offers!

Click here to go to the item lists, return often for new items and updates. 

Start your search online and then come to our impromptu SWAN "store" to make your purchases.  If you see something you would like to purchase, just call us at 201-866-1877 or email us at, subject "Online Sale", for more information about the item(s) and to arrange payment and pick-up.

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Our 2015 Landscaping for the Watershed workshops and pollinator garden project turned out to be very successful. Among all the pollinators seen in the garden, hummingbirds and monarch butterflies have been visiting! And though 2015  has come and gone, our work goes on. We continue efforts to safeguard open space. The plantings at  the Emerson Woods stream restoration project need tending and monitoring. We are conducting an inventory of green infrastructure and open space opportunities in Hillsdale and Westwood that will benefit stormwater management. We are also re-organizing our headquarters and operations. If you would like to help please go to our Get Involved  page and contact us! 

--- To Our Supporters ---

Click here to read two poems for Mark, on what would have been his 54th birthday, September 30, 2014...

Mark B at photo nature walk       

It is with deep sadness that we inform the Bergen SWAN community of the sudden, tragic death of Mark Becker on February 26, 2014.

Since the start of Bergen SWAN in 1988, Mark has tirelessly worked for protection of our watershed and other natural areas, and the amount of his personal time, money, and energy spent for the benefit of all is incalculable. And for those of us who had the pleasure of working with him, his intelligence, generosity, and good humor makes this really a greater loss than we can say.

The tremendous outpouring of love and support from the community, many dear friends, family members, colleagues and students has provided great comfort at this difficult time.


 Bergen SWAN 2015 Events 


Nature Lover's Fall Fundraiser!

Go to the HAPPENINGS page for our colorful event flyer! 

Attention: Lovers of Art, Crafs, Cool Stuff, Local Healthy Food, and Natural Cosmetic Products - Attend our Annual Fundraising Sale Next Week!

The first 50 people to make a purchase of $50 or more at our sale will be given a free packet of milkweed seeds...favorite of treasured monarch butterflies.

Media Sponsor: Pascack Valley Community Life

Local Sponsors: Bergen County Camera, Westwood; The B-Hive Organic Salon, Hillsdale; Old Hook Farm, Emerson; REJUVENATE Sanctuary, Westwood; Wild Birds Unlimited, Paramus.


On Saturday, OCTOBER 17, Bergen SWAN will host a high end fall sale inside the Community Center in downtown Westwood, NJ. Tablers will showcase their own or others' lovely creations with a nature theme - art works, handmade goods, decorative items, ornaments, unusual wearables, nature books, locavore artisinal foods, eco services.

Proceeds will benefit our work, and tablers will get to keep the profits from their sales.  Some of the funds will go toward our continuing pollinator garden education campaign.  In May 2015, we planted two small pollinator beds in Girl Scout Park, Westwood, and we hope to construct an information kiosk at the site.  We are also working toward creating a rustic memorial arbor for SWAN Founder/Co-Director Mark G. Becker.  And we want to continue our program of naturalist guided walks and paddles in the watershed woods.

Email:, Subject: Fall Sale!

Phone: 201-666-1877.

Landscaping for the Watershed:

Planting for Pollinators, Wildlife, and Streams - Parts 2 & 3

Part 2: MAY 14, 7PM, Westwood Library
Part 3: MAY 17, 2PM, Garden Site in Westwood 

Our sucessfull April 14th workshop program continues with two more garden workshops focusing more on putting our words into action. The points covered during Part 1 will be translated into how-to techniques in Part 2 and put into practice during the Part 3 hands on planting.  We will install a lovely pollinator garden in a streamside pocket park in Westwood. Both Parts 2 & 3 will be taught by Bill Kolvek, an instructor at New York Botanical Gardens, and owner of of Bill Kolvek Perennials, a nursery that features native plants.

The program is sponsored by Bergen SWAN and underwritten by PSE&G. Cost is $10 per participant per workshop, and pre-registration is required.

Go to the Happenings  page for the event flyer with more information on registering.  


Tuesday, April 14, 2015,

7:30 pm–9:30 pm

Landscaping for the Watershed:
Planting for Pollinators, Wildlife, and Streams

Featuring Carolyn Summers, author of Designing Gardens with Flora of the American East, this part one of three workshops will center on using native plants in your garden to benefit wildlife and our watershed.

An intermission will feature refreshments and information tables.  For the 2nd part of the program, Ms. Summers will show slides of inspirational ecologically beneficial gardens. The event will close with a two-way Q & A session with a panel of four local botanists, naturalists, and watershed experts.

The program is sponsored by Bergen SWAN, the Nature Program Cooperative, PSE&G, the Bergen-Passaic Chapter of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey, and United Water New Jersey, which is hosting the program at its Haworth Water Treatment Plant on Lakeshore Drive. Cost is $10 per participant, and pre-registration is required.

Go to the Happenings  page for the event flyer and more information on registering. 

On Sunday, February 8, 2015, 8:30 am – Noon

Bergen SWAN will have a table set up at the Nathan Barnert Memorial Temple's 15th Annual Mitzvah Mall

Annually, the congregation at Barnert Temple raises money and awareness for ten carefully selected grassroots organizations close to home and around the world.

There will be something for everyone:  interactive charity exhibits for children and adults; adult education with Rabbi Elyse Frishman, 9 – 10:30 am; a pancake breakfast and raffle.

Go to our Happenings page to see the event flyer with a list of all ten organizations. Or, for more information and to donate online, go to

 Bergen SWAN 2014 Events 

Don't Miss our Unique Upcoming SWAN Fundraiser:

Sunday, December 7, 2014 

 Click here to go to our event flyer: Happenings.

Hackensack River StoryNight: 

Join us on Sunday, December 7 for a warming night of learning and exploration as we tell each other river stories by lantern light, at the stunning historic Demarest Railroad Station on the Tenakill Brook.  We will be festively decorating the station for the occassion.

The evening will start with a tribute to SWAN's Co-Director, Mark G. Becker, who was a huge fan of reading and listening to stories.  

Then hear Watershed Educator Nancy Slowik's Watershed Moments slide presentation, about our 2014 adventures on the trail and out on the water.  This will be followed by tea and dessert, a silent auction, and a sale of winter seasonal goods.  

The night will cap off with a story circle led by playwright Will MacAdams, in which participants will relate a brief experience involving being on or near a waterway in the Hackensack River Watershed.  

Our story theme will be: Going by the Water: Experiences by Local Streams, Brooks, Lakes, Ponds & Rivers.

Story telling participants will include watershed advocates Lori Charkey, Barton Knight, Nancy Slowik, Bill Sheehan, and Hugh Carola.  Up to 15 guests will have the opportunity to tell their tales, based on whoever is first to sign up at registration.  

Admission to StoryNight is a minimum donation of $25 per person, but please contact us if this is a hardship and you need to pay on a sliding scale.  To register, call us at 201-666-1877, or write us at, subject "StoryNight Registration." 

Payment can be made by:

  • Check, deliverd no later than 12/1/14 to the following address:  P.O. Box 217, Westwood, NJ 07675


  • PayPal - See the Donate button to the right.  Note: Please add an additional $2 per ticket to cover what PayPal charges us per transaction. 

Register early as space is limited to the first 40 participants! 

Earlier in the day on  Sunday, December 7  come and join the Emerson Woods Clean Up and Invasive Pull

Invasive plants, many non-native, has become a very real problem everywhere. Persisently pulling and monitoring is the only way to control them without use of chemicals, which is especially important to avoid within watershed lands. It will start at the Emerson Woods Stream Restoration Project site, which SWAN spearheaded, on Main St. in Emerson.

You must register with Annabelle Bower at to join in.   Go to SWAN's Happenings page to see the flyer for more information.

An Afternoon Paddle on Lake Tappan Reservoir  -- is on Sunday, September 7th. Come with us as we look for migrating hawks and shorebirds, and the wildflowers' last show of the summer. 

See Happenings for the flyer and more information, or email us at

Sunday, June 22,   2:00-4:00 PM - Afternoon Paddle on Lake DeForest

Join us on the first Sunday of summer in our first exploration of the Lake DeForest Reservoir! SWAN's Watershed Educator and Naturalist Nancy Slowik will guide us on this northern-most reservoir in our watershed. 

Go to the Happenings  page for the flyer and more information on registering. Or email us at

Participation is limited to 30 boats and entry is first -come first-served, so don't hesitate! Sign up now!!

 IMPORTANTPlease note that this Sunday's walk is fully booked!  We are now taking names for a waiting list.   Please email to be added to this list and we will contact you if there is an opening.  Thank you!

Sunday, June 8, 6:00-8:00 PM - Memorial Walk for Mark Becker at Lake Tappan Reservoir

If last year's nature walk at Lake Tappan was any indication, this walk will be excellent - yellow warblers, cedar waxwing, and Baltimore orioles were among the birds we saw, and an evening walk a great time to observe them. This was one of Mark's favorite trails to walk, especially at evening.

Go to the Happenings  page for the flyer and more information on registering.

Thursday, May 8, 10:00 AM,  - Tree planting in Pascack Brook County Park in Westwood (sponsored by the Bergen County Parks Dept. and Bergen County Environmental Council)


A Memorial Service and Celebration of the Life of Mark G. Becker

We invite you to join us at the IBM/Dolce Conference Center in Palisades, New York on Sunday, March 23rd, from 12:00 to 3:00 PM.

For more information and to register to attend, go to the Eventbrite invitation page here.


A Spring Nature Walk in Old Tappan Woods with Watershed Educator Nancy Slowik on April 27th! 

Old Tappan Woods is one of the largest watershed woods along the Upper Hackensack, and is marked by a wide diversity of wetland habitats. 

Please sign up in advance by emailing us at  

Those who pre-register prior to April 26 (original deadline extended) can pay $7 per person using the Donate button on this Home page. Or, register at the walk for $10 per person. 

Some Good News!

New Jersey votes YES for a stable source of funding for OPEN SPACE!

On November 4, 2014, voters in our state had the chance to support a measure to create a stable source of funding for NJ State Green Acres, and about 64% voted for it!.  For more info on the issue, go to the Happenings page.

Bergen County Blue Acres Ballot Question Passes with over 64% of the Vote!

Voters approved the measure to allow existing funds from the Bergen County Open Space, Recreation, Farmland & Historic Preservation Trust Fund to also be used for "Blue Acres" projects, which help resolve the increased flooding problem in our watershed in the most environmentally wise manner - by restoring more flood plain.

Click here to read all about it in an article in the Record.  

The Emerson Woods Stream Restoration Project Makes Great Strides!

Phase one of the stream restoration project in Emerson Woods - to repair years of erosion damage that has been making the channel widen annually and become a safety and water quality hazard - has been completed.  This phase included the installation of a stormseptor (a large concrete box that captures floatables and sediments), as well as the grading the banks of the stream, and the creation of a series of rock terraces to slow the movement of the water through the channel.

Princeton Hydro performed the project’s engineering design and River Logic carried out the field work. Conservation Resources, Inc. provided on-site oversight, while the Borough of Emerson and Bergen SWAN provided additional logistical guidance.    

On Wednesday, July 24, 2013, the partner organizations gave their first explanatory talk and tour of the work-in-progress to a contingent of representatives from the Emerson Council, Environmental Commission, and Shade Tree Commission.  

Phase two, involving the planting of hundreds of plants, shrubs, and trees, has also been completed.

A public commemoration for the project took place early fall.  A Princeton Hydro blog that follows the stages of the project will be available via our website shorty. 

Now comes the job of tending all the new, vulnerable plantings. 

We will be posting additional information and photos about the project shortly.

New Feature!   

Events Hosted by Other Groups...

"OFF the Rails, Rivers & Pipelines /        ON with Renewable Energy" Forum

Sunday September 20, 2015   from 3 to 5 pm.

Come join the grassroots groups 350NJ and the Coalition to Ban Unsafe Oil Trains at their free public forum. 

The event will provide facts that will empower individuals and groups to convince policymakers that we need to stop shipping highly explosive Bakken crude oil through our communities in favor of a swift transition to clean, safe, renewable energy. 

There's an amazing lineup of experts and community activists joining the panel discussion!

Go to our Happenings page for the flyer and more information.



Working with Bergen SWAN and the Open Space Institute, the Hillsdale Mayor and Council is now supporting an application to preserve the Tandy Woods wetlands from development, seeking funding from Bergen County's Open Space Trust Fund and possibly from NJ State Green Acres.

We hope this process will go forward without issue, resulting in the Tandy Woods being spared as a beautiful preserve that will benefit our local watershed, and be saved in SWAN Co-Director Mark Becker's honor. 

Write Letters of Encouragement To:

Mayor Max Arnowitz & Council
Borough of Hillsdale
380 Hillsdale Avenue
Hillsdale, NJ 07642

Pascack Valley Community Life

Pascack Press at

Join Us Today in Protest!

Monday, July 6, 2015,

5:00 pm Vigil in Bergenfield 

Join the Coalition to Ban Unsafe Oil Trains and 350N at a vigil to remember the oil train derailment and explosion that devastated the small town of Lac Megantic two years ago.

We'll carry signs representing the New Jersey towns and cities along the CSX oil train rail lines calling for a ban on unsafe oil trains, and demanding clean, safe renewable energy instead. The Bergenfield vigil is one of nearly 100 events across North America where people are organizing to stop the dangerous transport of crude by rail through our communities.

Each day, in our towns surrounding the Oradell Reservoir -prime drinking water resource for 750,000 residents - up to 30 freight trains run by CSX lumber past, carrying highly dangerous cargo - toxic, volatile crude oil coming east from North Dakota.  

We know from the accident that occured in February of this year in West Virginia that oil train crashes along rivers are a horror with endless public health and welfare consequences.  

See this NY TImes article:  

Other recent oil train crashes have happened in Quebec, Virginia, Alabama, and North Dakota.  With public funds dwindling and infrastructure crumbling, such accidents are a terrifying prospect.

Please help Bergen SWAN, Hackensack Riverkeeper, Pascack Sustainability, the Sierra Club, and other local environmentally concerned partners to urge our political leaders to place an outright ban on unsafe oil trains traversing our communities. Join the call for far greater and more stringent safeguards for all equipment involved in this industry.

For further information, write to and go to


Go to our Happenings page for the latest flyer

Learn more about the development plans...  

Anyone who is interested in joining a coalition of environmental & civic groups to urge Montvale officials to insist on a sensible, sustainable development of the DePiero's property, or wants to volunteer, please contact Lori Charkey at Bergen SWAN, or see the website:        

Read the editorial written by Bergen SWAN Co-directors published in the Bergen Record, calling for a more modest development. Click Here. Please COMMENT on our article. 

Bergen SWAN 2013 Events

SIGHT & SOUND CAPTURE in Atkins Glen  ~A Guided Nature Walk~

October 6, 2:00 - 4:00 PM

Join us for a walk through this wonderful glen in Park Ridge. There are many things to see and hear due to it's unique microclimate, and the Bear Brook runs right through it, eventually emptying into the Woodcliff Lake Reservoir.

This walk is underwritten with grants from PSE&G and Norcross Wildlife Foundation. Pre-registration is required and admission is $15 per person.

Please see the flyer on our Happenings page.

Paddle the Reservoir!

September 8,  2:00 - 4:00 PM

Register Early for our Paddle with Expert Naturalist Nancy Slowik!

Through the generous support of PSEG and Norcross Wildlife foundations, Bergen SWAN has acquired our own small fleet kayaks and a boat trailer to add to our existing trio of rental canoes. On September 8, we plan to offer all of our rental boats for a tour Woodcliff Lake Reservoir and its environs.

Please join our Watershed Educator, Nancy Slowik, on this maiden voyage of our new rental fleet – our first exploration of this neck of the watershed.

Participation is limited to 20 boats, so register early.  Fees are $20/person to rent a canoe or kayak, or $30 to bring your own boat.  We hope to see you there!

Nature Hike Around 

Old Tappan Reservoir...
A Guided Walk with Nancy Slowik

 SUNDAY, JUNE 9, 2013, 6-8PM

An illuminating, two-hour, up-close evening nature hike around the sparkling Old Tappan Reservoir.  

We will discover and observe late spring flora and fauna, listening for newly arrived birds and insects. This walk continues for a good couple of miles, so bring your comfortable footwear.  We hope to end the day by witnessing a stunning sunset over the lake.

See our color flyer on Happenings.

Make your reservations ASAP as the walk is one week from this Sunday!

Paddle Through Old Hook - 

Oradell Reservoir to the Pascack Brook

Guided by naturalist Nancy Slowik

Sunday, May 26, 2013   6:00 - 8:00pm 

And we have two canoes we can loan out - first come, first served (pre-registration and entry fees still necessary).

Some great bird sightings from a pre-paddle excursion include Great Egret, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Mallard, Black Duck, Ruddy Duck, Wood Duck, Mourning Dove, Yellow Warbler, Tree and Barn Swallows, American Robin, Scarlet Tanager, Red-winged Blackbird, Song Sparrows.... 

It's always a great time exploring reservoir and brook by canoe - and there are still some spaces available, so pre-register right away! 

 Further details are on our Happenings  page.  Call if interested @ 201-666-1877.  Limit 20 boats, pre-registration required. 

  "A Cycle of Seasons"

A 25th Anniversary Celebration 
for Bergen SWAN!

A two-part event to help us continue our two and  a half decades of watershed protection work in the reservoir district of the Hackensack River and beyond.


Sunday, March 3, 2013
11:00 AM - 4:00PM

Park Ridge Rail Road Station, Park Avenue, Park Ridge (opposite Cyclesport)

Featuring gifts for every season, arranged by the seasons - new and gently used decorative & functional items: art, crafts, natural herbal products, homemade foods, house wares, garments, jewelry, books, a new Old Town canoe, and much more! 

See our event flyer on the Happenings page! 

And in our Gallery are photos of some of the items for sale...go take a look! 

by Nancy Slowik

Sunday, March 10, 2013
12:30 - 2:00PM, $10.00 per person

Blauvelt Art Museum, 705 Kinderkamack Road, Oradell
(uphill, next to Blauvelt mansion)

Bergen SWAN's Watershed Educator will highlight the flora and fauna encountered on five SWAN guided field trips and pre-trip scouting events that occurred in 2012. Join us for a memorable year of nature exploration, filled with surprises.

Click the "Donate" button on this webpage on the right to make your payments.

Once you pre-register, your name will be placed on our registration list, which will allow you admission at the door.

Call or write for further information:  201-666-1877 (subject: "Cycle of Seasons")

A Winter Walk in Emerson Woods

Tuesday, January 1, 2013;    2:00 – 4:00 PM

Join us in this very special opportunity right around the corner to spend an enjoyable afternoon learning from naturalist Nancy Slowik in Emerson Woods.

More details for the event can be found on our Happenings page

Bergen SWAN 2012 Events
From the Reservoir to the Marsh - 
A Guided Paddle on and North of Lake Tappan

September 9th, 2012 - 3 pm to 6 pm 

Bergen SWAN and Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) invite the public to a fascinating late afternoon through early evening paddle on the rarely accessed Lake Tappan Reservoir in Old Tappan and the mysterious "40 Foot Hole" and "Spatterdock Marsh" sections of the Hackensack River north over the border in Rockland County.  SWAN's Watershed Educator, Nancy Slowik, will guide participants on a meandering adventure through widely differing habitats.   EMS of Paramus will provide kayak rentals and conduct a safety and paddle technique talk at the start of the outing.

Participation in the paddle is limited to 20 boats, on a first-come, first served, pre-registration basis.  With advance arrangements through Bergen SWAN, kayak rentals (15 total), paddles, and PFDs will be available for pick-up the day prior from EMS.  Participants may opt to bring their own boats and equipment.  Entry fees are $30 per one-person kayak rental, $40 per tandem kayak, and $20 for those who bring their own boats ($10 additional for an extra passenger).  Refreshments and informational handouts will be provided for the entry fee.  All proceeds will benefit Bergen SWAN, a watershed protection group for the Upper Hackensack River Watershed.

To pre-register, get full instructions and directions, pre-arrange a kayak rental, or find out more, call  201-666-1877  or email, subject Spatterdock Marsh.  Advance payment for the event is due by September 7, and may be made via PayPal (see the website, or by check payable to Bergen SWAN (mail to: P.O. Box 217, Westwood, NJ, 07675).

More details for the event can be found on our Happenings page.

The Paddle on and North of Lake Tappan is made possible through the cooperation and generosity of United Water New Jersey.      

Wildflower and Nature Photography Walk in the Old Tappan Woods!

Co-Sponsored by Bergen County Camera

June 24, 2012    3:00 - 6:00 pm   

Pre-Registration Required!

Join Naturalist Nancy Slowik and Nature Photographer Charles Dexter for an exploratory walk along a winding section of the Hackensack.  With the help of these two extraordinary guides, learn to identify early summer flora growing on and near the riverbank and then how to create better photographic portraits of both plants and waterways.

Class size is limited to the first 20 registrants, so call or write early to sign-up!  A fee of $35 per person entitles participants to the guided walks, educational handouts, personalized photography advice, and refreshments.

Bergen County Camera (Westwood location), will provide each participant in the June 24 event with one FREE 8 x 12 print of their favorite photo taken that afternoon.

See our Happenings page for more details!

Co-Director Mark Becker to Speak at "Smart Solutions to Sustainable Water Conference"

Bergen Community College,
Moses Technology Center
400 Paramus Road, Paramus
June 13, 2012    6:00 - 8:00 pm

Co-sponsored by Bergen Community College and The Record, the conference will feature Mark along with four other environmental speakers.  Mark will talk about Upper Hackensack River Watershed protection and restoring our flood plains. Other presenters will discuss water conservation, and stormwater and wastewater management. The program is free to attend and open to the public.

See more details on our Happenings page...

NJ Goes Native! 
An Educational Celebration of Native Plants: Next Week at State Line Lookout on the Palisades, Alpine

May 12, 2012
10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Native plant fun for one and all! Nature walks, native plant talks, crafts, workshops, and demonstrations, plus a native plant sale! Free admission, free parking - how can you lose?!

As part of the Nature Program Cooperative (NPC) of northern NJ (, Bergen SWAN has worked with our partner organizations to make this an exciting, informative, and fun time for children and adults.

Go to our Happenings page for the event flyer and see the NPC website for more information.

Bergen SWAN Combined Nature Tour/Nature Art Workshop for Young Folks Wows the Crowd!

SWAN  teamed up with a local naturalist and local artist to host a very special nature walk and art event for children ages 8 - 12. 

The event began with a guided tour of the 100+ acre Emerson Woods led by naturalist Nancy Slowik, who  brought walkers' attention to the remarkable signs of early spring in a wetland forest.

Following the walk, participants climbed aboard  the Fun Art Bus, a mobile
eco-art studio, received personal art instruction from Laurie Rivlin Caspert of YouGottaHaveArt (, and learned how to create an original artwork inspired by their favorite plant or other feature observed during their walk.  There are new budding Georgia O'Keeffe's and Pablo Picasso's in our watershed!

Bergen SWAN 2011 Events

Pre-winter Walks through the Emerson Woods a Great Success! 

Bergen SWAN and Naturalist Nancy Slowik TeamUp to Explore New Territory

We originally planned to host just one guided tour through Emerson Woods with naturalist Nancy Slowik on December 4th, but when the waiting list grew to over 25 people we arranged to host a second walk on December 18th.  The second walk was also filled to capacity!  To see pictures from the walks, go to our flickr site at: . You can also read about the December 4th walk at the NJ Urban Forester Blog:  Keep checking this site for additional walks this spring!

Bergen SWAN Explores the Spatterdock Marsh!

On Sunday, May 22, twenty canoes and kayaks set out to explore the Sapatterdock Marsh in West Nyack, NY.  The tour was led by Naturalist Nancy Slowik and UWNJ Watershed Manager Ray Cywinski.  For over two hours, the group paddled thoughout the marsh and up into the river, learning about the plants and animals in the region and the ecology of this unique natural area.   For more details go to Happenings.

Spatterdock Mash Paddle

 Go to our Picasa site for more pictures.

The Bergen Record has published a special Earth Day article on the history of open space preservation in New Jersey. 

Click here to read "How the Green Movement Shaped New Jersey."

 Sunday, April 17 -  2:00 PM
Greening Your Yard! - Short Films, Talk and Demonstraions

"Greening Your Yard with Water-Saving Tools & Techniques," will be the topic of a FREE educational program for local residents and landscape professionals interested in learning the best practices for a healthy, green and water-wise yard. The program will be held on Sunday April 17, 2011 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Westwood Public Library, 49 Park Avenue, Westwood, New Jersey. It is coordinated by Bergen SWAN and Pascack Sustainability Group, a non-profit dedicated to promoting sustainable practices in the Pascack Valley.  Please visit our Happenings page for full details!

Palisades Virtuosi Presents
"H2O - Water in all its Forms"

March 26, 2011

The Unitarian Society of Ridgewood,  113 Cottage Place, Ridgewood, NJ
7:15: Pre-Concert Talk; 8:00: Concert

Please join us for a very special evening of water- related music. Palisades Virtuosi will perform a concert of classical pieces ranging from  Handel's Water Music to a newly commissioned work by David Sampson called Undercurrents Redux.

Tickets are $20 general admission and $15 for students & seniors. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Bergen SWAN. 

If you run a local business, please contact SWAN if you would like to take out a program ad.

For more about the event and Palisades Virtuosi, visit their website:

For further information, call:  201-488-4983

Hackensack River StoryNight Art Exhibit Continues at the Haworth Municipal Library!

"Watershed Art" Exhibit -                          Now through October 30, 2010            Closing Reception - Saturday, October 30, 12-2 PM

The water and watersheds we take for granted are the theme of a current art show at Haworth Municipal Library. Originally displayed at StoryNight, the exhibit celebrates in painting and photography the waterways and woodlands of the Hackensack River Watershed in New York and New Jersey.

Portions of proceeds from art sales will benefit both Bergen SWAN and Haworth Municipal Library.  More details can be found on our Happenings page!

 For further information, contact Celine Ennis at 201-387-8879 or Barton Knight at (subject: Haworth Art Show).

Clarkstown Environmental Summit
Clarkstown High School South,
31 Demarest Mill Road,
West Nyack, NY

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Bergen SWAN will be hosting a table at the event and giving a presentation from 1:30 - 2:15 on how installing rain barrels and rain gardens around your home can help improve the quality and quantity of our water resources. For more information, visit the Environmental Summit website at:

StoryNight Told Quite a Tale!

Thanks to all our friends and voluneteers for helping to make our 10/1/10 Hackensack River StoryNight an unforgettable event!  Over 50 people came out to listen to tales of life along the Hackensack River, to hear river-inspired music, and see works of art in many media depicting local waterways.  We will be posting a few photos from the event soon.  

Please take some time over the month of October to stop by the Haworth Municipal Library to see an expanded version of the art show that debuted at StoryNight.  We will bring you news soon of a closing party for the show - currently in the works and tentatively scheduled for Saturday, 10/30/10.  Library hours and directions there can be found at:

River lovers take note - we are working on launching a new section of the SWAN website devoted to your interesting adventures along and observations of the streams in our watershed.  We hope to post stories, poems, voice recordings, art, video clips, photos, and even your recommended walks and canoe trips.  Please contact us if you have an idea for a contribution to this project!

Friday, October 1, 2010, 8:00 PM -

Hackensack River StoryNight! - A Celebration of the River in Words & Art - 

Save the date for this very special evening at the lovely Church of the Holy Communion in Norwood, where you can listen to leading river advocates tell stories about their experiences living, working, and adventuring along the Hackensack and its tributaries.   The event is designed to be  participatory, with opportunities for audience members to tell their own river story.  The night will also feature an exhibit and sale of river-inspired art (painting, mixed media, photography) and river-related music.  Please attend this fundraising celebration of our 22nd year working to preserve the watershed!  Check our Happenings page for more details.

Bergen SWAN completes deal to preserve 11 acres of watershed buffer in River Vale near Lake Tappan!

Unbelievably, SWAN began advocating for the preservation of this parcel over 21 years ago.  Persistence does pay.  By consistently opposing development plans, successfully challenging land use regulation permits and building support for the purchase of these lands we have finally seen this dream come true.  Through our application to the NJDEP Green Acres program Bergen SWAN was able to provide $850,000 to the funding package.  We would like to offer a sincere thanks to everyone who contributed to bringing this long, long effort to a successful conclusion. 

here for a link to the report on the acquisition in the Bergen Record.

Watershed-friendly Landcare Workshop Draws over 60 participants!

Our June 18th event drew a capacity crowd of over 60 participants. Attendees at the session enjoyed talks by noted experts in the field of streamside landscaping, non-toxic lawn care and using native plants in our ornamental landscapes.   Thanks again to all our co-sponsors, United Water NJ, R & S Landscaping, Pascack Valley Sustainability Group and NJ Landscape Contractors Association. Pictures from the event can be seen by clicking HERE!

This workshop is envisioned as the first in a series of educational programs on maintaining our homes and landscapes in a more environmentally sensitive fashion.  Check our website regularly for announcements of upcoming events.

Planting in the Park Yields
Seeds of Success! 

Thanks to the efforts of over 80 volunteers, our Planting in the Park on May 15 and 16 was a real triumph! 

With the cooperative perseverance of the organizers and volunteers of all stripes, all our planning, analyzing, digging, lugging, hauling, wheelbarrowing, shoveling, staking, tying, raking, seeding, feeding, and bucket brigade watering resulted in a lovely new circle of 60 new trees and 75 new shrubs around the pond at Pascack Brook County Park in Westwood.  These buffer of plantings will help to enhance the pond's water quality, beautify the scenery, and increase wildlife diversity. 

In case you missed them, links to stories in the Record  & Community Life covering our event are listed below: 

Record Article

Community Life Article

An array of photos of our event can be found at our Picasa site:

Planting in the Park Photos

Please send us any photos that you took during that weekend and we will select the best of them to add to the posting and share with others.

We look forward to working with all of you in the coming months as we  begin to develop plans for Planting in the Park II, which will add more shrubs, wildflowers, and grasses to the banks of the pond. Stay in touch to learn about our development of and involvement in other new restoration projects throughout the watershed. 

Bergen SWAN & Hackensack Riverkeeper  Join Forces to Defend Watershed
Protection Act -

3,300 Acres of Water Company Land Now Protected by NJDEP Easements!

In settlement of our ten year inquiry into violations of the Watershed Protection Act, United Water NJ (UWNJ) will place a permanent conservation easement on over 3,300 acres of their watershed properties and contribute $1,000,000 to the NJ Green Acres program for future purchase of watershed protective open space in Bergen County.  A joint press release by UWNJ, Riverkeeper, and Bergen SWAN can be found at our Happenings page.  A link to a story in the Record appears below.  More details to follow...

Bergen Record WPA Settlement...











Make your tax-deductible donations to Bergen SWAN using your PayPal or credit card account by clicking here...

Your personal checks are also graciously accepted and will result in the full value of your donation going to Bergen SWAN.

Welcome to Bergen SWAN…riveres

From our beginnings in 1988, Bergen SWAN has been aggressively pursuing the preservation of the watershed buffer forests around our drinking water reservoirs.  To date, we have helped protect from development over 3,300 acres of woods and wetlands, and over 300 acres of golf courses. 

The narrow, protective, forest buffers around our reservoirs represent some of the only unbroken stretches of woods in an intensely populated, increasingly urban area. These watershed buffers are a critical link to sound watershed management for the Upper Hackensack, helping to maintain safe drinking water quality for nearly 1 million Bergen and Hudson County residents in New Jersey and in Rockland County, New York.

Watershed buffers... 

  • Filter and slow runoff, absorbing pollutants
  • Control erosion
  • Mitigate flooding
  • Provide habitat for wildlife
  • Provide a sanctuary for hiking and passive recreation

While we continue to fight for the permanent protection of the last remaining open spaces in our region, we are increasingly turning our focus to developing stewardship and educational programs that ensure the long-term sustainability of our watershed.   These programs include:

  • Encouraging good streamkeeping by residents living alongside waterways
  • Installation of stormwater controls such as rain gardens
  • Phasing out the use of high phosphorus fertilizers
  • Promoting non-toxic, environmentally sound practices in public places and golf courses

Bergen SWAN is now on Facebook!  Click HERE to join our Facebook community.

The Nature Program Cooperative
Did you know... that there are over a dozen places and organizations in northeastern New Jersey that provide quality nature programs? Recently, several of them banded together to create the Nature Program Cooperative (NPC) – a pooling of knowledge and resources designed to offer the people of our region greater opportunities to explore and enjoy the region’s natural side.

How it works… Throughout the year, each of the different partners of the Co-op (listed on the right side of this page) will host an outdoor activity or indoor educational program at a nature center or other appropriate location to which all group members are invited. When applicable, member discounts will apply to all Co-op partner members and supporters. For example, if  Tenafly Nature Center hosts an event, members of all other NPC groups pay the TNC member rate. (Non-members are also welcome to attend the event, but must pay the non-member rate.)  All NPC events are advertised in each partner group’s newsletter.

For a list of upcoming NPC programs, please visit the NPC site at:

npc map