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Thielke Arboretum

Environmental Education Center Q&A                9/17/2017

Please visit for further information & pictures!


How Many Trees Will be Removed? There are 5 larger trees to be cleared.  1 Cedar that is in bad shape and pretty much dead, 3 Red Maple & 1 Black Gum.  The Black Gum has about 100 'suckers' that should have been cleared earlier (they sap the strength from the tree).  One Memorial tree was transplanted at a cost of $1,000 paid for by FOGRA.

Will These Trees Be Replaced? So far this year, FOGRA volunteers have planted about 200 trees in the arboretum.  There are 50 trees on-site, ready to be planted and plans and a budget for many more plantings in the area that will start as early as Thanksgiving.  Look for our "Volunteers Wanted" sign - we can always use help keeping the arboretum beautiful.

A Larger Tree Near the Playground Was Removed - Couldn't the Building Have Been Moved South to Spare This Tree?  The Building is as far South as is possible.  There is a wetlands transition area (not a wetlands - but a transition area, see below for more detail) not too far from the southernmost corner and we want to be sensitive to the area.

Who is building the Environmental Education Center? FOGRA (Friends of the Glen Rock Arboretum) is a 501(C)3 Non-Profit Organization responsible for maintaining & developing the Thielke Arboretum. They conceived the idea about a decade ago and have been planning / refining / fundraising / spreading the word since then.


What is the purpose of the Education Center?  The 2 main functions of the center are below:


  • Providing a learning focal point for visitors and class trips. Starting your visit with an idea of “what’s out there & what to look for” and a space to recap and reinforce what was seen at the end of a visit promotes a strong learning experience and will greatly enhance the enjoyment for students and regular visitors alike. Also – shelter in inclement weather & bathrooms! 
  • On-site office & meeting space and restroom facilities for the volunteers that work to maintain the arboretum. Volunteers spend thousands of hours and come from all over Bergen County & beyond. Currently, there are no bathrooms or facilities to wash up after working for hours. There is no place to store the files, maps and reference materials used every day.


What is the master plan (mission statement)?  To build a classroom in the woodlands and a gathering place for the community. The center will take the arboretum into its next phase of use and enjoyment.


Who will own the building? The building is being paid for by FOGRA and donated to the Boro.


Is this a Commercial Development? No. This misleading term insinuates the facility will be used as a new banquet center or party facility and/or retail store.


The term “commercial establishment” means an establishment used for commercial purposes, such as bars, restaurants, private offices, fitness clubs, oil rigs, retail stores, banks and financial institutions, supermarkets, auto and boat dealerships, and other


What is the size of the building? The building will be 1,750ft2 or cover .00365 of the land in the arboretum (under 4/10 of 1%).


Is this a wetlands / protected area?NO. The area is neither a wetlands nor a transition area. Maps of the proposed location are available at


Who will pay for:

The building


Will pay for design & construction with private donations


Glen Rock

Electric & water are estimated (conservatively) at $500/month



Will continue paying for Directors & Officers Liability


Glen Rock

The arboretum will remain under the Boro Liability Umbrella, as all town facilities are



Will pay for technology, computers, internet access, etc.

Chairs & Desks


Will outfit the facility, inside & out



Will set aside $2,000 per year in reserve to cover expenses



Will be responsible for daily cleaning & maintenance



Will pay for security systems



Volunteers led by FOGRA will staff the Center




How long will construction take? 3-4 months from start to finish.


Is there a construction performance bond? Yes. The construction performance bond will be purchased by the contractor and has been allowed for in our cost estimates. 


How much will the project cost? Our current estimate is $462,000, developed with 3 architectural firms & the Boro Engineer and reviewed by multiple contractors. We have been lowering the cost with trade donations and better pricing on some components.


Is that a lot for a 1,750ft2 building? Yes. The design incorporates high quality materials like cellulose insulation (85% recycled, no outgassing, great R-Value & low embodied energy) with 2% of the energy that is used for foam and 10% of that for fiberglass. The budget includes an ADA Compliant design, and public buildings are required to follow ‘Prevailing Wage’ rules, which impacts labor rates for most laborers.


Will the building and site be ADA compliant? Yes, the building was designed compliant and all requirements for compliance are in the budget.


Who handles use requests? As it has been, FOGRA will control use via our agreement/lease with the borough but anyone can use the arboretum if they agree to the terms of our Use Agreement (similar to other Arboretum contracts). This Use Agreement has been in place for years, there’s nothing new.


How many visitors monthly? Once fully operational visitors should average 200-400 per month (excluding events & the thousands of volunteer hours already spent there each year to maintain and beautify the arboretum).


Who will run the classes and summer camp? Volunteers run all programs. Programs are align with New Jersey State Standards.

How many bathrooms and stalls? Two unisex restrooms. One is handicap accessible.


Will there be any selling of goods or services on site? There is no Gift Shop. The closest we’d get to a commercial enterprise is to sell baked goods at a fishing derby, etc.


Will residents & family have to pay fees? No, there will not be a fee to visit the Education Center. There will be a nominal fee to hold an event, and there may be a donation box.


Will applications be made to zoning board? The town will handle zoning issues because it’s on town property.


Will the Mayor and council members be permanent members of Arboretum Board of Governors? No, we will continue to report to the council as we always have.


Will future revenue be given to Glen Rock? No. This is not a revenue generating facility. It is designed to be a place for learning, inspiration, and support to the many visitors to the arboretum. Additional funds would be placed in the repairs reserve and to maintain and support the arboretum.



Has there been an environmental impact study? No. This building will cover .00365 of the land in the arboretum (under 4/10 of 1%). The building will follow LEEDS (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) standards. These comprehensive design and construction standards help assure that there is minimal impact in all areas of design and construction. This building will have minimal impact.


Has there been a traffic impact study? No. This building will have far fewer visitors than, for example, the pool next door. Our prime visitor traffic is expected to be during the school year (September – November, and February – June), and during school hours. It is expected that school groups would park in the pool lot. We can’t accept large groups, as we try to provide Docents for every 6-8 children – we just don’t have that many available volunteers.


How will police / fire / waste collection access the building if it is in the arboretum? The building will have about the same setback off Doremus as your home. Access is not an issue.