The James A. McFaul Environmental Center was founded in 1967. Originally an 81-acre pig farm, the property was purchased in 1962. In 1966, the 2.5-acre waterfowl pond was excavated. The paved drive, animal shelters and parking areas were added soon after. In 1987, the name of the park was changed to the McFaul Wildlife Center in honor of longtime Bergen County Parks executive director, James A. McFaul, who had been instrumental in the development of the site. Then, in 1990, the name was changed to the James A. McFaul Environmental Center to better reflect the park’s programs.
The main building, which overlooks the waterfowl pond, has an auditorium, browsing library and nature exhibits. Winding paths on this 81-acre site brings you to woodland gardens and animal shelters. A wheelchair-accessible boardwalk takes you along the edge of the pond to a two-story observation platform. A covered picnic pavilion is available near the main building and another open, wooded picnic area sits on top of a hill. There are free Tuesday films and other special events throughout the year.
Today the 81-acre Wildlife sanctuary offers nature programs and workshops. The site includes a waterfowl pond, bird shelters, a boardwalk, nature trail, memorial gazebo, and natural science exhibits. The Environmental Center gardens include specialties such as flowering trees, Daffodil Hill, rhododendrons, ornamental grasses, the herb garden, a secret scented garden, and various memorial plantings. A naturalized field area and woodland contain many plant species that provide food and shelter for a variety of wildlife species, including insects, birds, and mammals.