By Mark Abrams

RANCOCAS, N.J. (CBS) — The Rancocas Nature Center, in Burlington County, NJ, will remain open for the time being, even as the community works to find new funding to keep it operating.

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Residents and community leaders in Mount Holly and Westampton learned recently that the nature center, a popular stop for visitors to the 150-acre Rancocas State Park, was in danger of closing this month.

“(We have a) great partnership with the state parks from whom we lease the nature center itself and the land that we manage there for wildlife and for recreational visitors,” says Eric Stiles, president and chief executive officer of New Jersey Audubon, which runs the center.  “It was just that we are no longer in a position to offset the operational deficit there.”

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Stiles says that totals about $55,000 for the year.

He says a group of citizens and public officials have stepped forward and asked last week for a few months reprieve to give them time to search for funds.

Stiles says he’s looking for a three-year commitment, and agreed to keep the center open into March.  He describes himself as “cautiously optimistic” they will come up with the money.

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