FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 1, 2008

CONTACT: Tom Plante, 908-527-4746
Seb D’Elia, 908-527-4419

 

Volunteer Naturalists Improve Union County Parks & Trails

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders announces a schedule of up-coming landscaping and maintenance programs and projects that will take place in parks operated by the County of Union. The outdoor events will be conducted by park naturalists in the Union County Department of Parks and Community Renewal with assistance from volunteer naturalists and participants in the Adopt-a-Park and Adopt-a-Trail programs.

The events will include repairing portions of hiking and riding trails; removing invasive plants and replanting native species; litter and debris pickup along streams and lake shores; and conducting a survey of biodiversity in the Elizabeth River Parkway.

“The Freeholders recognize and appreciate the importance of volunteers who help to keep our parks and waterways clean and accessible,” said Freeholder Rick Proctor, liaison to the Union County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. “We encourage those who love the outdoors to consider volunteering some time so our parks can be enjoyed by everyone.”

On Saturday, May 3, from 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon, volunteers will repair a section of hiking trail in the Watchung Reservation in Mountainside.

On Thursday, May 15, from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon, employees from LexisNexis will spread gravel and wood chips along a section of trail in Passaic River Park in Berkeley Heights.

On Saturday, May 31, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., members of the Watershed Ambassador Program and volunteers will pick up litter and debris along the Elizabeth River in Hillside.

On Saturday, June 7 (National Trails Day), from 8:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., the public is invited to take a guided hike through part of the Watchung Reservation in Mountainside, followed by participation in a trail work project. Continental breakfast will be provided.

On Friday, June 13, and Saturday, June 14, scientists and volunteer naturalists in partnership with Kean University and numerous nonprofit organizations will conduct the 4th annual Union County Bio-Blitz. This year’s blitz, funded in part by the Schering-Plough Corporation, will take place over a 24-hour period in the Elizabeth River Parkway on the border of Hillside and Union. The event will identify the wildlife in the 312-acre park and raise public awareness about the biodiversity of the area through wildlife and plant exhibits for students and other visitors.

On Thursday, June 26, from 9:00 a.m. to 3 p.m., employees from Merck and Company will remove invasive plants, mulch and repair a section of trail in the Michael S. Bezega Wildlife Observation Area of the Rahway River Parkway in Rahway.

On Wednesday, July 2, from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon, the public is invited to join volunteers who will repair hiking and riding trails in the Watchung Reservation.

New volunteers are always welcome for outdoor projects and programs. To help
with any of these events or get more information about future events or the
Adopt-a-Park/Trail programs in the Union County parks, please call 908-527-4231.