​​EDUCATION, ARTS & RECREATION

Programs for individuals and groups of all ages


​Education

  • Public programs: guided nature walks and hikes, led byWeis staff, historical and culture programs, first aid classes and special events.
  • After-school nature programs for grades 1-8
  • Primitive survival skills classes taught by Joe Blevis, founder of Winding Waters Earth Skills. Topics include firebuilding, primitive cooking, shelter making, bird languages, basketry, local plants, awareness & movement.
  • Group programs: including field trips for schools,homeschoolers, rec departments and area camps.
  • Nature focused day camps and during thesummerand winter and spring schoolbreaks.


Arts

Performing Arts
Iron Mountain Stage Company, ​a local non-profit theatre company that has been performing continuously since 1993, makes Weis their permanent home for rehearsals and performances. They present a spring and fall production, as well as fun public acting improv workshops.


Music

May-Sep: "Music at Midvale" Acoustic Open Mic! Join us near the old farmhouse for an afternoon of acoustic, outdoors music (originals and covers). Please bring your own refreshments and a folding chair. Smoking and alcohol are not permitted on the property.
> $5 per person, additional donations welcome! Signup to perform from 2:30-3:00pm; music starts at 3:00. NO registration required. 
Details and performance guidelines


Photography

  • Exhibit of landscape and nature photographs, taken locally by Joann Lightbody, a lifelong Ringwood, NJ resident. Joann has captured the beauty of the area in her photos, which are on display in the main building.
  • Enjoy an exhibit of inspiring nature photography by talented local artists Vera Lazar, Tom Tarbutton, and Karin Ahmed! Main building.


Recreation

Guided Nature Hikes - Led by our Educators & Naturalists. Public guided hikes are offered throughout the year, and can also be scheduled for private groups, party or special events. Hikes are led by a first aid certified staff member, and may focus on local history, flora, and fauna found along the trail.Learn more about hiking at Weis and in the adjacent Norvin Green State Forest. 


Forest Bathing Walks - Led by Weis Educator Lauren Lynch


Seasonal programs, including ​Pumpkin Chunkin' (Fall), Natural Wreath Making (Winter) and Maple Sugaring (Feb/Mar)


Swimming is available at our partners the Highlands Natural Pool, which is adjacent to our property. Experience a mountain-stream fed pool in a beautiful, forested setting. Snack bar on premises.


Scouting

We are happy to welcome ALL Scout groups to The New Weis Center. We offer many programs for Scouts, including badge classes, service projects, camping and firecircles, and hosting special events. Please check our Scouting page for all the details and upcoming events!


Support The New Weis Center by making a tax-deductible DONATION, which includes many member benefits. Learn more

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​UPCOMING EVENTS

Pre-registration and/or advance payment may be required. Parking for program attendees is available near the main brick building. Masks are OPTIONAL


▶ Sat, Dec 3, 1:30-3:00pm: Natural Winter Wreaths

Decorating for the season is always better with a DIY spirit - and natural materials! We’ll learn some methods for creating a wreath, collect our own materials, and get creative with our nature-inspired decorating. We'll take an easy walk to explore our local winter plants and gather materials, then return to the pavilion (with patio heaters) to create our masterpieces while sipping hot chocolate.

  • Open to ages 8 to adult. Bring your family and friends!
  • $14 per person

> REGISTER NOW!

Note: this may also be scheduled as a private program for your scout troop, group or club. $150 minimum fee for up to 10 people (includes scouts and leaders/parents); additional $14/person over 10, up to 20 person maximum. Contact us to schedule


▶ Wed, Dec 7, 4:00-6:00pm: Sunset Hike & Campfire for Teens & Tweens

Join us for a guided sunset hike as we hike through rocky terrain (approx 1.5 miles) to a viewpoint just in time for sunset. On our way back, we’ll visit nocturnal habitats and listen for wildlife that awakens after dark.. After the hike we'll warm up around a toasty campfire with hot chocolate and s’mores.

  • This program is just for 6th-9th grade students! This is a drop-off program
  • Bring a flashlight or headlamp
  • The trails have some steep and rocky sections, so please wear boots or shoes with good tread

REGISTER NOW!


▶ Sun, Dec 11, 1:30-3:00pm: Natural Winter Wreaths
Decorating for the season is always better with a DIY spirit - and natural materials! We’ll learn some methods for creating a wreath, collect our own materials, and get creative with our nature-inspired decorating. We'll take an easy walk to explore our local winter plants and gather materials, then return to the pavilion (with patio heaters) to create our masterpieces while sipping hot chocolate

  • Open to ages 8 to adult. Bring your family and friends! Under 18 must be accompanied by an adult
  • $14 per person

> REGISTER NOW!

Note: this program may also be scheduled as a private program for your scout troop, group or club. $150 minimum fee for up to 10 people (includes scouts and leaders/parents); additional $14/person over 10, up to 20 person maximum. Contact us to schedule


▶ Sat, Dec 17, 1:00-2:30pm: Welcome Winter Hike

​​Join us for a naturalist-led hike as we prepare to welcome the winter season and appreciate the beauty found in the winter woods! Along the way of this moderate hike we will focus on the beauty that stands out in the winter woods, such as the leafless tree features, geological formations, evergreen plants, flocking bird species, and more!

  • Ages 6 - adult; under 18 must be accompanied by an adult

REGISTER NOW!


▶ Sun, Dec 18, 2:00-4:00pm: Winter Solstice Celebration

Join us for a forest walk and campfire as we connect with the land and celebrate the upcoming start of winter. We'll begin with a short walk on our winding private trails to honor our connection with the natural world. While we realize the beauty that winter brings, we will set intentions for the new season ahead and create a nature infused craft. After our walk, we'll warm up around a toasty campfire with some hot chocolate or tea.

  • This program is open to ALL AGES; under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Dress appropriately as the program will be held outdoors
  • The trails have some rocky sections, so please wear boots or shoes with good tread
  • Refunds will be issued only if the program is cancelled due to weather

​> REGISTER NOW!



Coming in 2023!


Maple Sugaring

Join us for a 90-minute program as we learn about the process, history, and ecology of maple sap & syrup. We'll take a short hike to learn about winter tree ID, sap ecology, and tree biology, and discuss the history of tree tapping and some of the many things sap is used for. We'll visit our tapped trees where we'll learn how to tap, collect and taste the sap, then see how the evaporator works. Finally, we'll finish with a syrup taste test, of course!

  • Option 1: Register for a public program (dates TBD)  OR 
  • Option 2: Schedule a private program for your troop, group or club. $150 minimum fee for up to 10 people (includes scouts and leaders/parents); additional $14/person over 10, up to 20 person maximum.
  • Maple Sugaring is also available as part of our "Winter Ecology" program for school field trips!
  • Available on weekdays or weekends, mid February through early March.
  • Non-refundable. In case of inclement weather, program will be rescheduled.
  • To schedule, contact us at: staff@highlandsnaturefriends.org, or 973-835-2160


​▶ Forest Bathing - for Adults (2nd Sunday of every month, Mar-Nov)
From the Japanese 'shinrin-yoku', the practice of forest bathing means to immerse oneself in the forest and soak in the atmosphere through the senses. Today's walk at an easy pace will focus on connecting to nature through mindfulness, as we explore our senses and the present moment through short, guided, meditations and breathing exercises in the forest. Through this practice, we aim to deepen our connection to our mind, our body, and the life around us in nature. At the end of our walk, we'll sample a tea made from pine and spruce needles foraged on the Weis property, with some seasonal variations throughout the year. This tea is meant to show our gratitude and appreciation and is a way of tasting and taking in the land to further connect to it. Forest bathing has been shown to help decrease stress levels and anxiety, and to improve the immune system and symptoms of depression, to name a few benefits. Come explore a new way of walking through the forest! Led by Weis Lead Educator Lauren Lynch.

  • Ages 18 and up
  • $8 per person


​​​​▶ Forest Bathing - for Families (2nd Sunday of every month, Mar-Nov)
Join us for a family friendly version of our forest bathing program, with more hands-on activity and a short craft for kids! Forest Bathing means to immerse oneself in the forest and soak in the atmosphere through the senses. Today's walk at an easy pace will focus on connecting to nature through mindfulness, as we explore our senses and the present moment through short, guided, meditations and breathing exercises in the forest. At the end of our walk, we'll sample a tea made from pine and spruce needles foraged on the Weis property, with some seasonal variations throughout the year. This tea is meant to show our gratitude and appreciation and is a way of tasting and taking in the land to further connect to it. Forest bathing has been shown to help decrease stress levels and anxiety for all ages, and to improve the immune system and symptoms of depression, to name a few benefits. Come explore a new way of walking in the forest! Led by Weis Lead Educator Lauren Lynch.

  • Ages 5 - adult; under 18 must be accompanied by an adult
  • $8 per person