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 on a limited basis for individual activities including walking, jogging, bicycling, and fishing. Bicycles must stay on paved paths — no trail riding. Group activities such as sports, exercise classes, picnics and other organized activities or gatherings are strictly prohibited. Visitors are required to maintain social distance and observe other guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19. Masks are strongly recommended.
Update 1: The Ash Brook and Galloping Hill golf courses are open on a limited and modified basis with social distance rules.
Update 2: As of Saturday, May 22, the Archery Range is open on a limited and modified basis with social distance rules, for use only by certified archers displaying a 2020 or 2019 Archery ID. No exceptions. More details: Union County Archery Range.
All facilities in Union County parks, including the Trailside Nature & Science Center, remain closed. Please join us online for nature activities and resources.
More online activities:
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.
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.