Public Info

Union County Earns National Achievement Award for Virtual Programs

Department of Parks and Recreation receives sixth NACo Award in 3 years

Union County, NJ – The Union County Board of County Commissioners is proud to announce the Department of Parks and Recreation received a 2021 Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo) for “Bringing Nature and History to the Homebound and Disabled Program”. The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents. The Award was presented to County Officials on Sunday, July 11 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Prince George’s County, MD.

During the COVID-19 pandemic when restrictions closed many County facilities, the Department of Department of Parks and Recreation launched a two-prong program. The Trailside Nature & Science Center produced a host of online nature programs and the Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs created a series of video tours of historic sites.

“The Board of County Commissioners is proud that our Department of Parks and Recreation has received its sixth NACo Acheivement Award since 2018. It’s especially noteworthy that Union County is one of only three counties in the State of New Jersey to receive an award in 2021,” said County Commissioner Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “We look forward to having residents of all ages enjoy these virtual programs to further their education of the history and natural heritage that Union County has to offer.”

The online nature programs and virtual tours can be found on the County website at The Trailside productions allow for residents to learn all about bugs and birds, along with other wildlife adventures online. The multiple virtual tour options include a “visit” to Boxwood Hall in Elizabeth, where George Washington dined with his old friend Elias Boudinot before heading to New York to be sworn in as the nation’s first president. This menu of engaging and universally accessible virtual resources will become a permanent resource of Union County.

“During the pandemic the Department of Parks and Recreation was able to effectively pivot and adjust their programs so that our residents could continue to benefit from what the County has to offer,” said County Commissioner and Chair of the Parks and Programming Committee, Andrea Staten. “The Board of County Commissioners congratulates all those that worked towards making this program an award winning success.”

Since 2018, Union County Department of Parks and Recreation has received six NACo Awards for the programming developed, including:

2018 – Feltville Interpretation Program

2018 – Embracing our Historic Legacy

2019 – Experiencing Nature, Experiencing Play: Taking Inclusive From Lip Service to Reality

2020 – Engaging Children in our History

2020 – Every Kid in a Park

2021 – Bringing Nature and History to the Homebound and Disabled

For more information on Union County Parks call 908-527-4900, email or visit

Nationally, NACo awards are given in 18 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice and public safety, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement and many more. For more information on the National Association of Counties, visit

For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including the Union County COVID-19 Test Center at Kean University, the Mobile Test Unit, vaccination information, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit General information about COVID-19 is 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.


Connect with Union County on social media.