Special Event Calendar

Union County Parks follow NJ COVID-19 guidelines: Social distancing required/Masks strongly recommended

Union County parks and recreational facilities are operating in accordance with current COVID-19 guidelines. For everyone’s safety, please wear a mask in public restrooms and in other indoor facilities as requested.

Updates:

  • Trailside Nature & Science Center is open. Masks required. View website for more information.
  • Watchung Stable is open to visitors from Tuesday through Sunday, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Please wear a mask in the main barn, administration building and restrooms.
  • Please note: Trail biking is prohibited in all Union County parks. Trail biking was prohibited before the COVID-19 outbreak, and the prohibitions continue. Bicycles are permitted on paved paths and roadways only.
  • Hikers and dog walkers: Stay on marked trails to preserve fragile native habitat. The taking of plants and other wildlife is prohibited. Share paved paths by keeping to the right unless passing. Dogs must be kept on leash unless in dog parks. All trash must be carried out when receptacles are full or unavailable. 

For more information and updates on Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak visit ucnj.org/covid19.

The COVID-19 virus is still circulating and it can still cause serious illness or death among unvaccinated people.Protect yourself and those around you by getting vaccinated as soon as possible.To make an appointment visit ucnj.org/vax.

Food Drives and Walk-ups

Covid / Health Related

Recycling Events

Union County Commissioner Board Hosts Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service to Benefit Moms Helping Moms Foundation

Union County residents invited to donate essential items for those in need, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Drop-off locations available in Elizabeth, Garwood, Springfield and Summit until Friday, January 21.

Union County residents have an opportunity to help the youngest members of the community in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, by donating new packages of diapers, wipes and hygiene supplies for both baby and mom to the Moms Helping Moms Foundation for distribution to families in need.

Donation bins have been placed at four locations for drop-off during regular business hours until Friday, January 21:

  • Union County Administration Building lobby, at 10 Elizabethtown Plaza in Elizabeth
  • Garwood Borough Hall front hall, at 403 South Avenue in Garwood
  • Chisholm Community Center, at 100 South Springfield Avenue in Springfield
  • Summit UPS Store, at 55 Union Place in Summit

Residents who would prefer touchless pick-up can make arrangements through the Union County Office on Women, by contacting Jennifer Erdos at 908-527-4216 or jerdos@ucnj.org.

“Residents who donate to the Diaper Drive will provide local families with much-needed assistance in meeting the cost of basic necessities. Together, we can all make a difference,” said Commissioner Board Chair Rebecca Williams.

“Moms Helping Moms is an organization that provides direct assistance to households with babies and young children up to age five. We are very proud to support their efforts, and we encourage everyone to pitch in,” said Commissioner Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded.

A group of new mothers launched Moms Helping Moms in 2011, with the goal of ensuring that every baby is provided with life’s basic necessities. Moms Helping Moms has since grown into a network that partner with community organizations, social workers, homeless shelters, schools, and others to collect and distribute essential items including diapers, clothing, formula, nursing supplies and strollers.

The collection bin in the Administration Building will be available during regular weekday hours until 5:00 p.m. beginning January 12th and ending January 21st. The Union County Administration Building will be closed on Martin Luther King Day holiday.  The Martin Luther King Day of Service collection is organized by the Union County Office on Women and the Union County Commission on the Status of Women.

For more information about the Office on Women visit online at ucnj.org/women or contact Jen Erdos, Coordinator, at jerdos@ucnj.org or 908-527-4216.

More information on Moms Helping Moms is available at momshelpingmomsfoundation.org.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service is observed each year on the third Monday in January. It is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.


Free Financial Planning Workshop for Special Needs Families, Jan. 26

Families with special needs children are invited to attend a free online event titled “Financial Education Workshop for Special Needs Families,” at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 26. The event will be moderated by Union County Commissioner Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded and will feature guidance from financial experts with The MidAtlantic Resource Group.

The event is sponsored by the Union County Board of County Commissioners through the Union County Office on Women and the Office for People with Disabilities and Special Needs in the Department of Human Services. To register for the Zoom link, visit the Office on Women at ucnj.org/women.

“We know how difficult it can be to prepare for financial contingencies, and households that include special needs children face additional obstacles. This workshop will help parents and care givers sort through the estate planning process with reliable, expert guidance,” said Commissioner Board Chair Rebecca Williams.

Conventional financial planning approaches may trigger unintended funding and tax issues where special needs children are concerned. The workshop will cover aspects of budgeting and estate planning that are unique to households with special needs children.

The panel will include Pasqual Rinaudo, Chief Operating Officer of MidAtlantic Resource Group, John Surguy, a Financial Advisor with MidAtlantic Resource Group.

The Mid Atlantic Resource Group offers a wide range of financial products and advice from financial professionals, with offices throughout New Jersey. It is associated with the independently owned and operated company Special Needs and Beyond, which focuses on helping families avoid common pitfalls and obstacles in financial planning for special needs children.

For more information about this program and other events organized by the Union County Office on Women, visit ucnj.org/women or contact the Office Coordinator, Jen Erdos, at jerdos@ucnj.org or 908-527-4206, or use the online contact form.

For more information on the Office for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs, including recreational programs and resources, visit ucnj.org/special-needs or contact the Office Director, Manuel Ramirez at mramirez@ucnj.org or 908-527-4845.


“February Festivities” All-Ages Winter Fun Returns to Trailside, Feb. 19 and 20

Union County residents looking for family-friendly outdoor fun during President’s Day weekend are invited to visit Union County’s Trailside Nature and Science Center for a special series of outdoor nature programs. Trailside is located in the Watchung Reservation at 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside. Ample free parking is available at the site.

Programs are recommended for families with children ages four and older.

“February Festivities at Trailside offers a wide variety of programs designed to entertain and delight visitors of all ages, all taking place in the beautiful natural setting of the Watchung Reservation,” said Commissioner Board Chair Rebecca Williams.

Three programs will be offered each day on Saturday, February 19 and Monday, February 21, weather permitting.

  • A Wildlife Winter Walk is offered from 10:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.  Participants will learn how animals adapt to long, cold days, and go on a hike to look for animal homes and hideouts and search for animal tracks, nibbled twigs and other telltale signs of a visit from animal neighbors.
  • The Journey of Sap to Syrup meets from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. See how 100% real maple syrup is made from the sap of a sugar maple tree. Find out what equipment is needed to collect sap and take part in a taste test to see if you can identify the real thing.
  • A Winter Walk Scavenger Hunt takes place from 2:00 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Investigate the winter woods for buck rubs, bird nests and bright red berries. Enjoy a scavenger hunt through the Reservation to see how many items you can find.

All participants are invited to conclude their outdoor nature experience around a warm campfire with some hot chocolate.

Pre-registration is required for all February Festivities programs. To register, visit ucnj.org/trailside and follow the link to Union County’s secure online registration page.

The fee per person per class is $5.00 for Union County residents and $6.00 for non-county residents.

Face coverings are recommended. Participants are advised to dress for the outdoors.

For more details about February Festivities and other upcoming programs at Trailside, visit ucnj.org/trailside or call 908-789-3670.

The Trailside Nature and Science Center is a service of the Union County Board of County Commissioners. For quick links to all environmental programs and activities hosted by the Commissioner Board visit The Green Connection, ucnj.org/green-connection.


Become a Certified Union County Master Gardener Volunteer in 2022

No experience needed; training begins January 18 on a remote learning basis.

Union County, NJ – Union County gardeners have a chance to sharpen their skills while giving back to the community, by joining the Master Gardeners of Union County. All gardeners at any level of experience are welcome to join this popular volunteer program, from raw beginner to seasoned expert.

“The Master Gardeners program provides Union County residents with new opportunities to build their knowledge and apply their skills to help educate, engage and beautify our community. The Commissioner Board is proud to support this unique volunteer program and we are happy to see it return in 2022,” said Union County Commissioner Board Chair Rebecca Williams.

The Master Gardeners are volunteers who are trained and certified by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County. They create and run programs for the public including educational workshops and horticulture programs for people with special needs. The centerpiece of the program is the 1.5 acre Union County Demonstration Garden, located adjacent to the Trailside Nature and Science Center in the Watchung Reservation, at 152 New Providence Road in Mountainside.

The 2022 Master Gardener training program begins on Tuesday, January 18 and runs through May. The program consists of weekly classes that cover basic botany, entomology and plant pathology, integrated pest management, vegetable gardening, tree fruit, lawn care and flower gardening among other topics.

Participants who complete the coursework and provide 60 hours of community service earn the title of Certified Master Gardener.

In order to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the 2022 training program will begin on a remote learning basis. Conditions permitting, outdoor workshops at the Demonstration Garden may be added in the spring.
To apply for the 2022 training course, visit the Rutgers Master Gardeners of Union County registration website at http://bttr.im/fem3x. There is a $200 program registration fee, and scholarships are available.

The courses will be presented through Rutgers Canvas, the online learning portal of Rutgers University. Participants can join the live sessions on Tuesday mornings from 10:00 a.m. to noon, or view pre-recorded sessions at their convenience.

To learn more about the Master Gardeners program, contact Madeline Flahive at the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County by phone at 908-654-9854 (ext.4) or by email at mflahive@ucnj.org.

The Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County is a program of the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. It is supported in Union County by the Commissioner Board, with administrative assistance and office space in Westfield, land for the Demonstration Garden, and funding for special projects. For more information about all Extension projects and activities in Union County, including Master Gardeners, Master Tree Stewards and the 4-H youth development program, visit ucnj.org/rce.

Quick links to all Union County environmental programs are available at The Green Connection, ucnj.org/green-connect.

Help with Senior Services

Find upcoming local events to learn about senior services. Click here.

Cultural Events Calendar


Jan 29

11 am

Theatre (live in-person)

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! The Musical!

Script for this comedic musical production is written by Mo Willems, creator of the #1 New York Times best-selling,  Caldecott Honor award-winning “Pigeon” picture books, along with longtime collaborator and Disney Jr.’s Muppet Babies executive producer Mr. Warburton. Features music by Deborah Wicks La Puma. Whatever you do, don’t let the Pigeon star in his own musical production! It’s not easy being the Pigeon—you never get to do ANYTHING! But when the Bus Driver has a crisis that threatens to make her passengers late, maybe that wily bird CAN do something. Starring an innovative mix of actors, puppets, songs, and feathers, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (The Musical!) is sure to get everyone’s wings flapping. The Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences on Tour is represented by Shaw Entertainment Group, LLC. [Sensory friendly performance. ASL interpretation.]

Wilkins Theatre

1000 Morris Ave., Union

908-737-7469

Tickets $16

keanstage.com/events/dont-let-the-pigeon-drive-the-bus-the-musical/


Video – Enjoy any time
CHORAL PERFORMANCE (5-minute video)

Concord Singers – The Lake Isle of Innisfree

Composed by Eleanor Daley, The Lake Isle of Innisfree is the W.B. Yeats poem set to music. Based in Summit, the Concord Singers celebrate more than four decades as a women’s community chorus.


VIRTUAL ART EXHIBIT

The 2021 Union County Senior Citizens’ Virtual Art Exhibit

Online at ucnj.org/senior-art

This virtual art exhibit showcases 125 works by county residents, both professional and non-professional artists age 60 and above. Coordinated and administered by the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs, the exhibit is made possible by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.


2021 CHORAL CONCERT (on video)

Watch/listen now or anytime

Oratorio Singers – Works by Mozart, Handel & Vaughan Williams

Featuring a chamber choir performing works by Mozart and Vaughan Williams, and renowned soprano Maureen Francis singing works by Mozart and Handel, the Oratorio Singers present a virtual concert — followed by a video narrated by Music Director Trent Johnson about the 40-year history of the Oratorio Singers, based in Westfield.

vimeo.com/514786532


VIDEO LECTURES (FREE)

Watch now or any time

Plainfield Symphony presents “Chat with Charles” – Beethoven’s 5th & Mahler’s 9th

This ambitious series of on-demand video-lectures from Plainfield Symphony features Conductor and Music Director Charles Prince discussing Beethoven’s iconic Symphony No. 5 and Mahler’s Ninth, broken down by movement. Each video-lecture is an intimate talk elucidating the themes and history of the music, and includes excerpts played by orchestra members, plus footage from full-orchestra performances. Understand and enjoy these masterworks at The Plainfield Symphony Channel.

youtube.com/channel/UC1Iw32Qvmb0i5q0QMGAcH_g


VIDEOS

Enjoy now or any time

Historic Sites in Union County

Take a virtual tour of some of the “Four Centuries” historic sites in Union County. You may be surprised at the rich history in our midst.

ucnj.org/parks-recreation/cultural-heritage-affairs/historic-sites-map/videos-of-four-century-sites/


On-demand video – enjoy any time

FREE KIDS’ CONCERT (Virtual / Interactive for children)

YOSI – Pajama Tales

Award-winning children’s recording artist and entertainer, Yosi, rocks the house with a humorous and interactive Pajama Tales Concert. Dancing, singing and stories make this the perfect family concert! Presented by Linden Public Library. Stories and songs go with reading themes for the library’s summer reading program.

Enjoy here: youtube.com/user/YosiKids/videos

For further information, call Ginger Moore at Linden Library, 908-298-3830.