I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.  – Henry David Thoreau


We’re all familiar with Henry David Thoreau’s search for solitude at Walden Pond. Many of us are experiencing a similar solitary experience during this pandemic.  Although we may not have access to the wonders of Stokes State Forest now, we are blessed with our memories of the time we spent with each other at SOC. And if we look up, we can enjoy seeing Venus in the evening sky and if we pause to take a walk or look out our windows, perhaps we will observe the local wildlife taking advantage of the minimal human traffic as they venture out beyond their usual pathways.  

We wanted you to know that our friends at the School of Conservation are well, and ready to pick up where they left off when it is safe to do so. This lost time will affect them, as it will other businesses, and we’ll be looking for ways to help them when this is all over. The staff is continuing to provide extraordinary education programs—if you haven’t already seen Tanya Sulikowski’s “Signs of Spring” series on YouTube, be sure to take a look: We know you’ll love it.

We’ve recently received word that all of our state parks and forests are now closed until further notice.  We’d been hoping to have a spring event for our members and friends at the School of Conservation this spring. Let’s plan instead to meet when we’ve safely weathered this storm just to celebrate being able to be together. If this time has taught us nothing else, we’ve learned to cherish our families and friends more than ever. 

In the meantime, since we’ve all been forced to learn new communication technologies, we thought you might like to join us in a little (or maybe big) experiment—the world’s first virtual campfire. This will be a Zoom event, and as soon as we work out the details, we’ll be sending an official invitation your way. How does that sound? While we’re working on that, make sure to put marshmallows, graham crackers, and Hershey bars on your Instacart shopping list so you’ll be ready to participate in style. 

And speaking of campfires, we’d like to leave you with this short video featuring many of our Friends. Camp Wapalanne alumni will recognize the accompanying song, “May the God Lord Bless and Keep You,” that was the camp’s official Closing Campfire song. We want you all to know that you are in our thoughts and we are hoping you and your families are safe and well.

Until we meet again…

Kerry, Shayne, Steve, Abby and MaryJane

Officers, Friends of the New Jersey School of Conservation