Union County, NJ – Union County residents can explore backyard science activities, observe peregrine falcons in the wild, learn about sustainable gardening, and participate in many more free environmental programs online as the 50th anniversary of Earth Day approaches on April 22.
“The message of Earth Day continues to be one of hope for the future,” said Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “As we work through the COVID-19 crisis together, we renew our pledge to protect and preserve our natural heritage for future generations.”
For Earth Day, the Freeholder Board offers family-friendly online programs including nature activities recommended by Union County’s Trailside Nature and Science Center.
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. Visit Trailside online at ucnj.org/trailside for more information.
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 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 environmentally 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.
Union County’s ongoing environmental programs include open space preservation, nature education, tree planting, pollinator habitats, community gardening and more. For quick links to all Union County environmental programs and activities visit ucnj.org/green-connect. Please note that in-person activities are limited at this time due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
To join a worldwide online celebration of Earth Day, visit earthday.org.
For more information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including guidance for the Union County Drive-Through Test Center at Kean University, visit ucnj.org/coronavirus-update.
For general information about COVID-19 and phone contacts for 24/7 assistance with questions, visit the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.
Connect with Union County on social media.