N.J. Audubon Society closes two nature centers

Budget concerns are causing the New Jersey Audubon Society to make some cutbacks.

The Rancocas Nature Center in Mount Holly and the Weis Ecology Center in Ringwood will close Jan. 1. Except for some special events, the Nature Center of Cape May and the Cape May Bird Observatory will be closed to the public from January through mid-April.

New Jersey Audubon Society President Eric Stiles says other nature centers around the state will remain open.

“We still have a suite of places that people can come and connect with nature,” he said Monday. “Our programs that we run year round are also throughout the state. So even though we don’t open those centers per se, we’ll still be doing programs in those communities.”

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Stiles says the nonprofit society could no longer justify funding nature centers that were operating at a deficit.

“As I was driving around Cape May just two weeks ago, many of the hotels, motels, restaurants, and so forth are closed for the winter months,” he said. “One of the few places that was open was our Nature Center of Cape May — and on a busy day it may have had one or two visitors.”

The Audubon Society is seeking funding for a program called ECO Schools to provide online environmental studies.

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