located within Union County’s Watchung Reservation 452 New Providence Road, Mountainside, NJ 07092



Experience Nature at Trailside

Summer 2018

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders invites you to experience nature at Trailside this summer. Take part in one of the many unique and educational summer camps and family programs. Trailside’s location in the scenic Watchung Reservation provides the perfect outdoor classroom to have fun while learning about the natural world around us.

Registration begins March 3rd at 9:00 am

BrochureRegister Online

 A Teacher Training workshop, “Falcon Cam in the Classroom” was held for Union County Teachers K-8 last week at Trailside Nature & Science Center. Stephanie DAlessio, Director of Education for the Conserve Wildlife Foundation provided K-8th grade school teachers with the opportunity to learn how to use the UC Falcon Web Cam in the classroom to teach about the ecology and adaptations of the falcon.  Special guest Bill Streeter, Director of Delaware Valley Raptor Center, brought live birds such as the peregrine falcon to demonstrate predatory prey relationships, wildlife rehabilitation and issues facing avian wildlife.
The program was made possible by a grant from Phillips 66. The Union County Falcon Cam provides a live stream of the action in and around a peregrine falcon nest located on the roof of the Union County Courthouse in midtown Elizabeth.  The Falcon Cam is a wonderful opportunity to observe and study one of nature’s most fierce and fascinating creatures.  They are known for their rapid dives, which can approach an astounding 200 miles an hour as they move in on their prey. Peregrine falcons are listed as an endangered species in NJ and Union County has been part of ongoing efforts to ensure the survival of these remarkable birds statewide.
The live feed helps build an appreciation for the role that we can all play in preserving our natural heritage, both in our parks and in the urban environment.  The Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ is Union County’s official partner for educational programming related to falcons and the Falcon Cam. Pictured above with Bill Streeter and Sophia the live peregrine is Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski, Stephanie DAlessio, Mary Phillips of Phillips 66 / Bayway Refinery and teachers from Union County public schools.
Watchung Reservation Sensory Trail Project Improvements
Construction is beginning on the Watchung Reservation Sensory Trail Coming Soon Spring 2018

ADA Accessible Trails
Outdoor Classrooms

Talking Kiosks
Braille Trail with Guide Ropes

Sensory Gardens
Interpretive Signage

Learn more


The full-day option was a great way to immerse the kids and capture their interest.  The teachers were enthusiastic, professional and knowledgeable.  Thank you for sharing your skills.
Cranford, NJ
The combination of your teachers’ enthusiasm, natural expertise and energy combined with the deep, hands-on content was fantastic.  The parents learned as well as the kids.  My son said “Trailside never disappoints, but this camp was amazing!”  Highlight of the summer!
Scotch Plains, NJ
The instructor was kind, patient and knowledgeable.  My son felt comfortable asking questions.  He especially enjoyed searching for sassafras and other trees in the woods.
Watchung, NJ
This was a fantastic intro to wildlife for my preschooler.  She wants to know more about animals.  She loved having friends in class, going outside every day and seeing real animal homes in nature.
Westfield, NJ
I loved that the size of camp is smaller and my daughter gets to have more one on one interaction with the counselors to learn more.Fanwood, NJ
Such a great way teach the children about nature while having fun.
New Providence, NJ
My son was very excited to share what he learned at camp.  He loved searching for bugs in all the different habitats.  Wonderful place to learn!
Berkeley Heights, NJ
She enjoyed her time at Trailside camp.  It was more than I expected.  She felt very comfortable and enjoyed every day.  We will come back next year for sure!  Thank you.
Scotch Plains, NJ
My son had a blast.  Teachers and curriculum was great.  Reasonably priced.
Westfield, NJ
We are always pleased with the educational level and hands-on experiences of the Trailside camp.  The staff is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic.
Cranford, NJ
We really enjoyed the camp, a perfect mix of educational and fun activities.
Fanwood, NJ

Trailside Nature & Science Center is Union County’s Environmental Education Center, located in the Watchung Reservation, a 2,065-acre preserve containing woodlands, fields, lakes, streams and more than 13 miles of hiking trails.

This serene setting provides the perfect classroom to have fun while learning about the natural world. Renovated in September 2006, the Center houses 4,500 square feet of interactive, state-of-the art exhibits, including a towering 34-foot American beech tree exhibit that fills the building’s atrium.

This jewel, secluded in the Watchungs, also features classrooms that look out on the Reservation, a multipurpose room, a library, children’s discovery room and a 250-seat auditorium.


Noon to 5 p.m.; Seven Days a Week

Thanksgiving, Day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve/Day, New Years Eve/Day, Fourth of July and Easter


452 New Providence Road, Mountainside, NJ
trailside@ucnj.org  |  908-789-3670  |  Map




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