Each year, hundreds of community volunteers fan out through Union County parks to clean up litter, clear debris, repair trails and improve natural habitats. Now volunteering is easier than ever before, thanks to free tools and other assistance provided by the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation and the Bureau of Recycling.
“We are very grateful for the many individuals, environmental groups, Scouts, schools, businesses and other organizations that dedicate their time and energy to help keep our parks beautiful and welcoming, year in and year out,” said Union County Commissioner Chair Rebecca Williams. “By coordinating the resources of our Parks and Recycling offices, we aim to make organizing a volunteer project easy and hassle-free for everyone.”
The Union County parks system hosts four main types of volunteer programs:
- Adopt-a-Park: Beautification and restoration projects including clearing litter and debris, restoring native plants and removing invasive plants.
- Adopt-a-Trail/Trail Stewards: Help remove encroaching vegetation from trails and paved pathways; help repair eroded sections and clear debris from culverts.
- Chainsaw Crew: Help remove fallen trees from trails and paths (training required to participate).
- Clean Communities: This program focuses on litter cleanups with support from the statewide Clean Communities program. Organizers only need to bring themselves and their volunteers. Work gloves, litter grabbers and bags are all provided free of charge.
Individuals or groups that are interested in organizing a volunteer project in any of these four areas can contact the Department of Parks and Recreation by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to start the process.
Scouts and other organizations that are interested in planning other special projects in Union County parks can also contact email@example.com.
In addition to these programs, the Union County park system hosts various activities of the Master Gardeners, Master Tree Stewards and Environmental Stewards volunteer groups, which are run by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County. For information on all Extension programs including 4-H clubs for students in grades K-12+ visit ucnj.org/rce.
Quick links to all environmental programs and activities in Union County are available at The Green Connection, ucnj.org/green-connection.
More information on the statewide Clean Communities program is available at njclean.org.
For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.
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