Public Info

Send a Mission from Union County to Mars with the 4-H Mars Base Camp Challenge

Union County, NJ – Union County students ages 8-14 can send a mission to Mars by joining the Mars Base Camp Challenge, a project of the national 4-H youth program that explores hands-on STEM activities related to space travel including mechanical engineering, physics, computer science, and agriculture.

“The young students of today will see an actual mission to Mars take shape during their lifetimes, and the Mars Base Camp challenge helps them develop essential skills for a successful endeavor – even including agriculture,” said Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “The Freeholder Board is very proud to support the 4-H youth development program here in our community.”

To find out more about Mars Base Camp, visit

An optional materials kit for the Mars Base Camp program is available free of charge to a limited number of Union County students through the Union County 4-H program. To request a kit, contact Union County 4-H Agent James Nichnadowicz at

Kits are also available for purchase through the 4-H shop, at In addition, students can assemble their own kits with materials found from home, or participate without a kit.

4-H club activities are limited this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but students can continue to explore a wide range of 4-H topics online through the popular 4-H At Home program.

For other at-home science and nature programs supported by Union County during the outbreak, visit the Trailside Nature and Science Center online at to view original videos and hands-on activities, featuring Timber the turtle.

4-H is the largest youth development program in the nation, run through the county-based Extension system under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Union County 4-H is run by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County, part of the Rutgers New Jersey Agriculture Experiment station.

The Freeholder Board supports the Union County Extension with administrative support and offices at the Union County Complex at 300 North Avenue East in Westfield. Other popular Extension programs supported by the Freeholder Board include the Master Tree Stewards and the Master Gardeners community volunteer programs.

 For more information about all Union County 4-H activities, contact Union County 4-H Agent James Nichnadowicz at 908-654-9854 or

For information about all Union County Extension programs for youth and adults please go to ucnj.or\g/rce.

The Mars Base Camp Challenge was developed by Google and the Virginia Cooperative Extension. Other partners in the program include Bayer, Toyota, and the U.S. Air Force.

For more information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including the Drive-Through Test Center at Kean University and the Mobile Test Unit walk-up sites, visit General information about COVID-19 and updates on statewide vaccine planning are available through the New Jersey Department of Health at


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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