Staff Directory   908-654-9854Extension + NJAES logo
300 North Avenue East, Westfield NJ 07990
The national Extension system was established more than 100 years ago to help improve rural communities. Today the Extension embraces urban and suburban life, youth development and family health.  In New Jersey, Rutgers University runs Extension programs in each county through its New Jersey Agricultural Experiment StationThe Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County is partly funded by the Freeholder Board through administrative support and office space in Westfield, land for the Demonstration Garden in the Watchung Reservation in Mountainside, and funding for special projects.
Click on the “County Visions” icon for a current directory of programs.

Plan ahead and reserve your seat  — the 2017 Rain Garden/Green Infrastructure Bus Tour is coming!

The tour, conducted in partnership with the Rahway River Watershed Association, is designed to demonstrate the bottom line and public benefits of sustainable landscaping.

Municipal agencies, environmental groups, landscapers, property owners, and residents are encouraged to join and learn about planning a project, best plants to use for rain gardens, maintenance, and view local examples of rain gardens. Porous pavements and other examples of green infrastructure will be showcased, too.

The half-day tour will take place on Saturday, June 17, 2017 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., starting and ending at the Trailside Nature and Science Center in Mountainside.

The fee for the tour is $20.00 per person. To register online visit or contact Michele Bakacs, Union County Environmental Agent, 732-398-5274 or

Bring water and wear good walking shoes. This event is rain or shine. Let’s hope for rain so we can see these projects in action!

 Applications for the 2017 grant cycle are now closed.  
 This matching grant program is designed to help you start a new community garden, or expand or improve an existing garden. Last year’s program covered 19 gardens in 10 municipalities, including the magnificent new Scotch Plains – Fanwood Community Garden in Scotch Plains:
Winter Cooking Tips


Warming up the house with a home-cooked meal featuring squash! Experts from the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County recommend trying out new recipes that take advantage of all the nutrition packed into this tasty comfort food.

Recipe tips and more information.

Photo 1 Rutgers250Contact our free Garden Helpline for expert guidance on plants, insects and other garden topics:
908-654-9852 or
Recent projects
Four Historic Trees for a Historic Park — Union County 4-H students braved the biting cold last weekend to gather at the County’s historic Cedar Brook Park in Plainfield, where they planted three new sycamore trees and a weeping willow with an assist from Union County park maintenance. The trees were donated by the Union County College Historic Tree Program. From left to right are 4-H members Nikhil Choudhary of New Providence, Marcus Ciasco of Westfield, Siddarth Vadavatha of Scotch Plains,  James Brodowski of Cranford, Rob and Michael Laumbach of Fanwood, Ryan Jones of Fanwood and Sandeep Mukherjee of Scotch Plains.


4-H Cedar Brook collage Union County NJ
Many thanks to 35 students from Union County’s 4-H youth clubs, who teamed up with the Master Tree Stewards in November to help spruce up Cedar Brook Park in Plainfield. Together they planted new trees and protected older trees with mulch around the base. To join a 4-H club, lead a club or become a certified Master Tree Steward (no previous tree experience needed!) contact 4-H Agent Jim Nichnadowicz, 908-654-9854 or
Open Call for Master Tree Stewards…
The Master Tree Stewards of Union County are volunteers whose wonderful influence is felt throughout our communities. Their mission is to help us appreciate and conserve our valuable urban and suburban treescapes.
Master Tree Stewards Union County NJ

Union County Master Tree Stewards celebrate an environmental award with friends at the annual Wild Earth Festival in Mountainside.

The centerpiece of the Master Tree Stewards’ efforts is a countywide “tree blitz” each spring, when they fan out to provide hundreds of 4th-grade students with a classroom lesson on the importance of trees in our environment. No previous experience with trees — or with children — is necessary. Extension staff will provide you with a lesson kit and other support.

Training and certification begins each fall, consisting mainly of guided walks through nearby nature preserves.

To get more information or to sign up contact Jim Nichnadowicz at the Extension,  908-654-9854 ext. 3 or

View brochure.

Union County 4-H Clubs 

ThUnion County NJ archery rangee historic 4-H youth activity program is alive and living in Union County! Students in grades 1-12 can join the fun while developing their skills at public speaking, organization, leadership, and teamwork. Archery, Lego Robotics, Cooking, Engineering, and Fashion Design are just some of the topics to explore in small groups headed up by local volunteers.

Union County 4-H runs concurrently with the school year, so plan ahead now come to the annual 4-H Open House in mid-September, where you can meet the club leaders and sign up for clubs for the 2017-18 school year.

For more information, to get on the 4-H mailing list, or to find out about leading a club, contact Judi LaGanga at the Extension, 908-654-9854 ext. 2 or 

Rutgers Master Gardeners of Union County

Master Gardeners of Union County, NJ

Application packet will be posted in May 2017

If you love getting your hands dirty, this is the volunteer program for you! No previous horticultural experience is necessary — experts from Rutgers University will train you and certify you as a Master Gardener.

The Master Gardeners are one of Union County’s most beloved volunteer organizations and their beneficial touch is felt in communities everywhere. For many more details, gardening tips, and information on joining visit or call the Extension office, 908-654-9854 ext. 4.

If you want to be notified when the application is available, please reach out to Judith Laganga at to be added on a notification list.

Small Steps to Health and Wealth

Union County NJ small steps to health and wealthSmall Steps to Health and Wealth is a nationally recognized program developed by Extension experts at Rutgers University. The aim is to help you identify — and act on — modest behavior changes that lead to better health and financial stability.

Let the experts show you how small steps can add up to big improvements. You can read the Small Steps to Health and Wealth book for free on line at Rutgers University’s SSHW website

If you don’t have time for a whole book you can check out the site’s monthly health and finance messages, take a quick personal assessment quiz, or pick from a list of 25 behavior strategies (we recommend starting with #1, Track Your Current Behavior). 

Are you looking for more programs?

Links to all Union County Extension programs are at the top of the left column on this page including:

     Rain barrels Union County NJUnion County NJ 4-H Dog Lovers Club

      Household Budgeting
      Healthy Living
      Community Gardening
      Stormwater Management
      Master Gardeners
      Master Tree Stewards
      4-H Club Leader
      Community Nutrition
      Rain Barrel Instructors
      Rain Gardens 





The Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County belongs to a national network of more than 3,100 county offices and research institutions, including Rutgers University, organized under the U.S. Department of Agriculture to foster youth development and community health.