New Summer Nature Program At Home Kits Available

Summers @ Schiff - A healthy dose of fresh air, active fun, exploration in nature, and the integration of environmental education. (AGES 4-13)

Summer Nature Program at Schiff, Mendham NJ

Dear Parents,

After careful consideration of the guidelines of the American Camp Association, the CDC, and Governor Murphy's opening up guidelines, we have reached the unfortunate and difficult decision to cancel Schiff's 2020 Summer Nature Program. Although this decision does not come highly unexpected, we are very sad that we will not be able to share, in person, the joys of nature in summertime at Schiff with your children. We apologize for any inconvenience and disappointment this may cause for you and your family. We will miss our Summer Nature Program families dearly. We care tremendously about the well being of our children and staff, and therefore everyone's safety must come first. Since you can't come to us, we will get the "Summer Nature Program" to you with Schiff's "SNP at Home" Kits!

SNP at Home Kits"SNP at Home" Kits are enriching environmental education activities for you and your families. We are offering 4 different SNP kits available for the weeks of the Summer Nature Program schedule. Starting Monday, July 6th, and the 3 Mondays to follow (13th, 20th, 27th), kits will be available for curbside pick-up at our Nature Center from 11-1 pm. Late kit pickups will be self-serve from a weather proof bin at the Nature Center.

Schiff's "SNP at Home" Kits are age appropriate hands-on educational materials that allow children to have loads of fun while learning about nature from home. Fun for the whole family, these kits, designed for ages 4-7 or 8-12, offer self guided nature based activities created to engage children's curiosity and excitement in the outdoors. Kits will vary by "theme" each week, including one fact page, one scavenger hunt, one activitiy, one game, one craft and one nature observation journal. Every exercise in the kit is designed to get children up and moving outside!

"SNP at Home" Kits cost $25 each and include activities meant for one child. Multiple kits for multiple weeks can be purchased. If you choose to purchase 4 or more kits at one time, we are offering $10.00 off your total kit purchase.

Weekly themes are as follows:

Ages 4-7 and Ages 8-12

SNP at Home KitsJuly 6-10: "Animal Detectives"
Even though we can't always spot an animal outside, we can search for clues that let us know they were here! Learn how to look for animal tracks, listen for calls, and find fur, feathers and scat! It's time to discover who has been hanging out in your backyard!

July 13-17: "Friends of the Forest"
From tiny saplings, to tall trees, and from flowers to fruit, SO many different forms of plant life exist all around us! It's time to take a peek at what's growing in your own backyard!

July 20-24: "Amazing Animal Senses and Me"
NJ is home to many different species of plants, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals including ourselves! Learn about the amazing array of senses these animals have, while using our 5 senses to explore the great outdoors in your own backyard!

July 27-31: "Beautiful, Beautiful BUGS"
Bugs might seem creepy and crawly at times, but they are actually super cool little guys and gals whose role in nature is most beautiful. Discover which insects are living in your backyard, and why we want to keep them there!

As a small independently owned and operated non-profit nature preserve, the cancellation of all of our educational and recreational programs and fundraising events has significantly decreased Schiff's operating revenue, so we ask you to consider a small donation to Schiff as well. Families may opt for a full refund or incremental refunds to include donations to Schiff and/or "SNP at Home" Kit purchases.

Refund and kit purchase requests are to be emailed to , noting which of the options below you would like. She will then confirm your refund/purchase. We appreciate your patience as Holly will process requests in the order in which they are received and refund them in the manner in which they were received; paypal or by check. Please allow 2 weeks for refunds/purchases to be processed.

Example of refund/kit purchase request: Hi Holly. The Jones family of __ address __ in __ town __ requests # 8 refund option. We look forward to your confirmation of total refund due. Thanks.

Refunds, donations, and kit purchase options

  1. Full refund minus $40 registration fee
  2. Refund minus $40 registration fee and $50 donation to Schiff
  3. Refund minus $40 registration fee and $100 donation to Schiff
  4. Refund minus $40 registration fee and $150 donation to Schiff
  5. Refund minus $40 registration fee and $200 donation to Schiff
  6. Full refund minus $40 registration fee PLUS 1 kit purchase ($25), 2 kits ($50), 3 kits ($75), 4 kits ($100)
  7. Refund minus $40 registration fee and $25 donation to Schiff PLUS 1 kit purchase ($25), 2 kits ($50), 3 kits ($75), 4 kits ($100)
  8. Refund minus $40 registration fee and $50 donation to Schiff PLUS 1 kit purchase ($25), 2 kits ($50), 3 kits ($75), 4 kits ($100)
  9. Refund minus $40 registration fee and $100 donation to Schiff PLUS 1 Kit purchase ($25), 2 kits ($50), 3 kits ($75), 4 kits ($100)
  10. Refund minus $40 registration fee and $150 donation to Schiff PLUS 1 Kit purchase ($25), 2 kits ($50), 3 kits ($75), 4 kits ($100)
  11. Refund minus $40 registration fee and $200 donation to Schiff PLUS 1 Kit purchase ($25), 2 kits ($50), 3 kits ($75), 4 kits ($100)
  12. DO NOT refund us, please accept ALL of our SNP registration fees as a donation
  13. DO NOT refund us, please accept ALL of our SNP registration fees as a donation PLUS 1 Kit purchase ($25), 2 kits ($50), 3 kits ($75), 4 kits ($100)

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for supporting our programming. We look forward to reuniting with you all at Schiff's Summer Nature Program next summer! Please do continue to check Schiff's website for programming and recreation updates throughout the year.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at any time. Stay safe!

All the very best,
Christi and Jenny
Schiff Summer Nature Program Co-Directors

Our Directors:

Jenny Chmura
Meet Jenny Chmura
Summer Nature Program Co-Director
Christi Lorenson
Meet Christi Lorenson
Summer Nature Program Co-Director

Words from Friends:

Summer Nature Program Camp

"I wanted to reach out to tell you all of my boys had another fantastic year at Schiff. Thank you." - A. Alessi, Parent of 2019 Summer Nature Program

"Q. from Mom: 'How was your day?' A. from kids: 'Awesome!'" - Parent of 2019 Summer Nature Program

"My children enjoy all aspects of Schiff's Summer Nature Program" - Parent of 2019 Summer Nature Program

"He loved it all!" - Parent of 2019 Summer Nature Program

"The staff of SNP are AMAZING!!" - Parent of 2019 Summer Nature Program

"'There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story.' - Linda Hogan. I like to keep this quote in mind when planning our children's summer schedule. So many times we are too scheduled, too busy or too distracted... but this never happens at Schiff's Summer program. My children absolutely LOVE being part of this program and actually begged me for more weeks next year. We can't wait to come back! We have even been recreating the tie-die shirt ceremony here at home when we fold our laundry - ha! Great memories!!" - Parent of 2019 Summer Nature Program

"My boys loved EVERYTHING about Schiff, but their top three was building forts, tie dying shirts and stream day." - Parent of 2020 Summer Nature Program

"My children said this was the best camp and enjoyed it more than any other camp they attend in the summer. They both said the counselors were the nicest counselors they have ever had! My daughter specifically mentioned that she loves that the staff don't push her to do anything and let her get there on her own!" -Parent of 2019 Summer Nature Program

"My daughter as been coming here for years. It's the one camp she always wants to attend each summer." - Parent of 2019 Summer Nature Program

"My son comes home everyday. He might be dirty. He might be wet, but he has had the time of his life." - M. Vankirk, Parent of Summer Nature Program

"Thank you! He loved it so much that we decided to let him have another week with you all at Schiff!" - T. Silverman, Parent of Summer Nature Program

"I like Schiff better than my house!" - child from 2018 summer program

"Our daughter said 'all of it' was her favorite." - parent of child of 2018 summer program

"Our family continues to enjoy our membership at Schiff Nature Preserve (now our third year) and we are excited for our youngest to join your Fledglings program this summer as a 4 year old!"- M. Clark, Parent of Summer Nature Program

"My kids had nothing bad to say about the program at all - it was their absolute favorite week at camp and can't wait to return."

"He loved every minute of it. He loves being outdoors and loved learning and going on hikes."

"She LOVED Artist's week, but also really enjoyed collecting wine berries, eating them, and making jam."

"He wished the week wouldn't end."

Check us out on Facebook & Instagram!
Schiff Summer Nature Program on Facebook  Schiff Summer Nature Program on Instagram
Jenny Chmura, Summer Nature Program Co-Director

Jenny has been part of the Schiff community since 2014 as an instructor with the Summer Nature Program and is excited to be part the magic of Schiff. She has worked as an eighth grade language arts teacher since 2001. Jenny earned BA in English from Montclair State University and also earned her Masters in the Art of Teaching from Marygrove College. Jenny's passion is providing opportunities for children to learn about, appreciate, explore, and respect their natural environment. When she is not at Schiff she can usually be found hiking local trails with her dog and bird watching.

Christi Lorenson, Summer Nature Program Co-Director

Christi joined the Schiff family in the fall of 2017 as the co-Director for the Schiff Summer Nature Program. She graduated from the University of Delaware in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Ecology and Wildlife Conservation. Since then, she has worked for the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation as a Grants Manager, Woodlands Wildlife Refuge as a Development Assistant, and most recently spent the last 7 years working at Trailside Nature & Science Center as a Park Naturalist until she deciding to stop working full-time so she could be home with her children. Christi's strong respect for the environment and desire to preserve its natural habitats has encouraged her to dedicate her career to environmental education and outreach. Christi's love for the environment has also shaped the hobbies she has taken up which include volunteering with wildlife rehabilitation centers, hiking, rock climbing, skiing, and throwing pottery; however, what she loves to do most is spend time with her family. She currently lives in Gladstone, NJ with her husband, 2 young daughters, and two Burmese Mountain dogs... And it's no secret that Christi's eldest dog, Kona, is her heart and soul.