Possible agricultural smuggling alert from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture: If you receive unsolicited seeds in the mail, do not plant them — they may be invasive or harmful to native plants and animals. Photograph the packet and send the photo to state and federal agriculture experts for identification. Details…


Is your yard too shady for a garden? Too hilly? Too small? No problem! Visit the new Rutgers Home, Lawn and Garden website and learn how to design and build a garden practically anywhere in Union County. 





Union County parks are open, except for certain facilities. Visitors must observe social distance and masks are strongly recommended. Bicycles must stay on paved pathways — no trail riding is permitted in any Union County parks. Visit ucnj.org/parks for more details.


Visit Union County’s Trailside Nature & Science Center online for all-ages nature activities and resources.






Join the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County online during the COVID-19 outbreak:
4-H from Home offers youth activities with STEAM learning and community service.
Earth Day at Home is a new interactive webinar series about eco-friendly yard and garden care, and related topics, continuing through May and into June.
New gardeners: learn how to start vegetable seeds indoors, and how to find a good place to start a backyard garden.


Visit the Union County Falcon Cam for a free livestream of the peregrine falcon nest on the County Courthouse in Elizabeth. This year the falcons had four eggs, and all four hatched between May 1 and May 4. Follow this link to see a clip of the four new arrivals getting a quick snack on the afternoon of May 4: youtube.com/watch.



Please note: In-person activities are limited due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The following online resources are suggested: 
Visit Union County’s Trailside Nature and Science Center online at ucnj.org/trailside for a list of recommended environmental activities. Participants can start a nature journal, join a citizen-scientist campaign, share their backyard nature photographs with Trailside, and share their observations with other scientists around the country. Worksheets, weekly bird-themed activities, zoo cams and science experiments for preschoolers are included on the list. 

The Union County Falcon Cam continues to stream live from the peregrine falcon nest on the roof of the County Courthouse in midtown Elizabeth, at ucnj.org/falcon. For additional wildlife cams, podcasts, videos and more, visit the County’s falcon education partner, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

Union County’s “Make One Change UC” campaign encourages residents to make simple, everyday choices that help reduce single-use plastic waste, in support of the statewide Choose to Reuse initiative. Learn more about single-use plastic bag recycling by watching a PBS News Hour video hosted by the Union County Bureau of Recycling and Planning at ucnj.org/recycling.

Residents can explore the Recycle Coach app, a free download that provides up-to-date news and information about recycling in every Union County community. Available for all mobile devices, Recycle Coach includes interactive animated videos and more.

The Freeholder Board also supports the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County as part of the statewide Rutgers Cooperative Extension network. The Extension is offering online programs for youth through its 4-H from Home program, including STEAM activities and community service.

The Extension has also created a new “Earth Day at Home” interactive webinar series to help residents learn about eco-friendly yard and garden care and related topics. The series will take place each Monday evening at 6:30, beginning on April 20.

The first six episodes are:

April 20 — Refresh your lawn by correcting soil compaction.

April 27 — Cut down on harmful lawn and yard care chemicals by putting the right plants in the right place.

May 5 — Create a backyard nature preserve.

May 11 — Grow your own vegetables: starting seeds, planting and spacing, managing pests, and more.

May 18 — Conserving resources, part 1: Common sense tips for reducing food waste.

May 26 — Conserving resources, part 2: How to reduce plastic waste in the home.

For more information about all Extension programs in Union County, visit ucnj.org/rce.

To join a worldwide online celebration of Earth Day, visit earthday.org.

Did you know…?

The average plastic bag is used for only 12 minutes, but it can linger in the environment for decades and even centuries.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. consumes more than 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps every year.

Act locally, help globally:

Bring reusable bags to the grocery store instead of taking single-use plastic bags. Keep a tote or two by the door or stow them in your car, so you always have one handy.


Pro Tip: Your local recycler will reject containers that are mixed with plastic bags. Find out why, by watching a video at ucnj.org/recycling.

Carry items from your kitchen to the recycling bin in a reusable bag, tub or basket instead of using a disposable bag.