Public Info

Help the Environment by Joining the Master Tree Stewards of Union County

Union County’s volunteer Master Tree Stewards help residents learn about the role of trees in the environment, through classroom activities in local schools as well as outdoor projects in County parks. Here, Master Tree Steward Dean Talcott (red shirt) leads a group of volunteers putting up name tags on distinctive trees along a walking path in Echo Lake Park, in Mountainside.

Union County, NJ — Union County residents have an opportunity to “think globally, act locally” by joining the Master Tree Stewards of Union County, an all-volunteer organization dedicated to educating the public about the role of trees in the environment.

Each year, the volunteer Tree Stewards fan out across Union County to teach a fun lesson on trees to fourth grade students. No experience is needed.

In addition to classroom lessons, Tree Steward volunteers have created new “Tree Trails” along walking paths in Union County parks, to help visitors identify and learn about trees of distinction in the community.

“Our Master Tree Stewards provide an important service by helping students learn how trees benefit their neighborhoods,” said Freeholder Chair Kowalski. “Scientists say that trees improve the environment by replenishing oxygen and filtering pollutants from the air, as well as absorbing water in areas in flood areas.”

On a local level, trees help keep neighborhoods cool in the summer. They also help reduce airborne pollution, storm water runoff, erosion, and flooding. Studies have also shown that trees improve local property values and contribute to overall community well-being.

On a global level, a recent study suggests that planting 1.2 trillion additional trees would provide enough storage capacity to offset 10 years of carbon dioxide emissions, helping to counteract the impacts of climate change.

All Master Tree Stewards receive training and support from the staff of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County, a program supported in part by the Freeholder Board with offices at the Union County complex, 300 North Avenue East in Westfield.

The training consists mainly of guided walks in local nature preserves during the fall season.

For more information about the joining the Master Tree Stewards program visit the Extension online at or contact Union County 4-H Agent James Nichnadowicz at the Extension office in Westfield, 908-654-9854 (ext. 4) or

For quick links to all environmental programs and activities in Union County visit The Green Connection,

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For all Union County programs and services visit, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email or use the online Contact Form.

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