Union County, NJ – Hundreds of volunteers work in the historic Union County parks system to help keep trails and open spaces attractive and enjoyable for all, and their efforts were celebrated at a recent awards ceremony with members of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Union County Department of Parks and Community Renewal.
“Our volunteers put forth an extraordinary effort all year long, and they have really gone above and beyond to clear the trails of fallen trees and branches after Hurricane Irene and the recent nor’easter,” said Freeholder Chairman Deborah Scanlon. “Thanks to them, thousands of Union County residents and visitors have been out in the parks, walking the trails and enjoying the fall season.”
So far this year, more than 800 individuals have worked in the County’s Adopt-a-Trail and Adopt-a-Park programs. Some, including several student interns, have helped out administratively. All together they logged a total of almost 4,500 hours.
County Manager Alfred Faella noted that a safety-trained volunteer chainsaw crew removed 582 blowdowns that blocked hiking and bridle trails after the two major storms hit the region.
“We are all very proud of our volunteers and very grateful for their willingness to pitch, in whether it’s just for a few hours or for a long term commitment,” said Faella. “They help make it possible to maintain our parks under a tight budget and they set a great example for all of Union County.”
Most of the volunteers live in Union County. Some live outside the County’s borders and volunteer through their place of work, club or civic organization.
This year, 25 companies and community groups participated in the Adopt-a-Park program. Fifty-four volunteers signed on as Trail Stewards, who take responsibility for maintaining a section of hiking or bridle trails for a period of time.
More than 100 volunteers also signed up for Trail Work Saturdays. That program runs on the first Saturday of each month, from March to December.
“There are many ways to volunteer for the Union County parks, and our coordinators can help you find a way to participate that’s right for you,” said Scanlon. “It’s a wonderful way to connect with like-minded people who enjoy getting outdoors and helping to preserve our natural resources.”
To find out more about volunteering visit the County website, www.ucnj.org or call the Department of Parks and Community Renewal, 908-789-3683.
Summit residents Anton Evers of the Briant Park Olmsted Conservancy and Marian Glenn of the Summit Environmental Commission accept a certificate of appreciation from Union County Manager Al Faella, at Union County’s 4th Annual Adopt-A-Park/Trail Steward Recognition Dinner held recently at Trailside Nature & Science Center. (Photo credit: Shahira Morell)
Marc Grobman of Fanwood, an Adopt-A-Trail steward who adopts the Ash Brook Reservation trail in Scotch Plains, accepts a certificate of appreciation from Union County Freeholder, Chris Hudak at the County’s 4th Annual Adopt-A-Park/Trail Steward Recognition Dinner held recently at Trailside Nature & Science Center. (Photo credit: Shahira Morell)
Kenneth Mirsky (right) of Westfield, accepts congratulations from Union County Freeholder Angel Estrada at a recent dinner honoring Adopt-A-Park and Adopt-a-Trail stewards. (Photo credit: Shahira Morell)
Allison Parlipiano of South Plainfield accepts congratulations from Union County Freeholder Christopher Hudak for her efforts in leading a project that partnered Merck, a major employer in Union County, with numerous Adopt-A-Park projects in Rahway. (Photo credit: Shahira Morell)
Members of the Oak Ridge Sportsmens Association are pictured with Union County Freeholders Chris Hudak (2nd from left standing), Angel Estrada (sitting rear) and County Manager, Al Faella (4th from right standing) after receiving a certificate of appreciation for their Adopt-A-Park efforts. (Photo credit: Shahira Morell)
Union County Freeholder Angel Estrada congratulates Lee and Jay Sport for their Adopt-A-Park efforts at a recent dinner honoring volunteers for their dedication and service in keeping parks and trails clean. The Sport family of Mountainside works throughout the year keeping a section of Coles Avenue clear of litter. (Photo credit: Shahira Morell)
Steve Jandoli, (left) of Cranford accepts congratulations from Union County Manager Alfred Faella for a job well done by the Rahway River Association. The group has participated in the county’s Adopt-A-Park Program for several years and has led an effort to restore a unique and fragile habitat located in the Ash Brook Reservation in Scotch Plains called Red Hill. (Photo credit: Shahira Morell)
Adopt-a-Trail Steward Lynda Goldschein of Watchung accepts a certificate of appreciation from Union County Freeholder Angel Estrada at a recent dinner honoring volunteers in the Union County parks system. (Photo credit: Shahira Morell)
Bud and Karen Ayres, Adopt-A-Trail stewards of Berkeley Heights, accept a certificate of appreciation from Union County Freeholders Angel Estrada and Christopher Hudak (l to r). The couple was honored recently for their volunteer service. (Photo credit: Shahira Morell)
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