Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County

Read the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and NJ Agriculture Experiment Station statement on Racial and Social Justice.
Please join the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County online during the COVID-19 outbreak…
Keep an eye out for the invasive spotted lanternfly and its egg sacs! If you spot one, kill it and report the sighting by email (with photo, if possible) to Rutgers NJAES at
Sightings should also be reported to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.
More online activities for all ages:
4-H from Home offers youth activities with STEAM learning and community service.
The Master Gardeners continue to assist to Union County gardeners by phone and email. Contact the free Garden Helpline at 908-654-9852 or with your garden questions.
Receive gentle wellness messages every Wednesday and Saturday from the Rutgers Live Well-Stay Healthy program (sign up with the Remind App or, code @f3ccc46).  
Get expert self care guidance by email (to sign up for the following two programs, contact Rutgers Cooperative Extension Union County educator Dr. Karen Ensle at
Healthy on the Job Self-Care is a weekly series focused on essential workers.
Get Moving, Get Healthy at Home is a weekly series geared toward those who are at home.



Union County’s Trailside Nature and Science Center offers more all-ages online activities for Earth Day, and beyond.
The Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County is part of a statewide program run by the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Cooperative Extension of Rutgers University, connecting citizens with science-based educational opportunities.
The Union County Extension is supported in part by the Freeholder Board, with offices located at the Colleen Fraser Building in the Union County Complex, 300 North Avenue East in Westfield.
The Union County Extension offers the following educational programs to Union County residents:
4-H Clubs:  This program is for students in grades 1-12 and beyond. The 4-H program encourages students to explore a topic of their own choosing, and share their knowledge while practicing teamwork, public speaking and other life skills. Club sign-ups take place in September.
Master Gardeners: No horticultural experience is needed to participate. Master Gardeners receive training in best practices for pest management and many other aspects of gardening. They share their knowledge throughout Union County. They also run the Demonstration Garden, located in Union County’s Watchung Reservation in Mountainside. Training takes place each spring.
Master Tree Stewards: Master Tree Stewards are trained in tree conservation, and they learn how to teach students about the importance of trees. In addition to projects related to tree conservation in Union County parks, each spring the Master Gardeners provide 4th grade classrooms with interactive lessons on trees and the environment. Training takes place each fall.
Rutgers Environmental Stewards: This program is designed to help non-scientists learn about the science behind environmental issues impacting their communities. Training begins in January and includes classes on habitat conservation, climate change, recycling, and more. 
For more information call the Extension offices in Westfield at 908-654-9854 or use the Staff Directory.
The following in-person programs are on hold during the COVID-19 outbreak…
Photo 1 Rutgers250Contact the free Master Gardeners Helpline for expert guidance on plants, insects and other garden topics:
908-654-9852 or
Recent projects


Hillside Students Celebrate Arbor Day 2018: Union County Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski (center) thanked students from George Washington School in Hillside who participated in the Union County’s annual Arbor Day Tree Planting event. Along with their teacher Daniel Jamieson (left), the students visited Williams Nursery in Westfield last week and received instruction on successful tree planting and care from nursery owner Dave Williams (right). Every year the Freeholder Board distributes free trees for schools, in cooperation with the Union County Shade Tree Advisory Board and the 4-H youth development program of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County. The Arbor Day program includes tree planting guidance hosted by Williams Nursery. 


Student members of the Union County 4-H Variety Club reached across local and state borders to help displaced pets earlier this year. Through their “4-H for our 4 Pawed Friends” community service project, they collected donations to help St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison after the organization sheltered more than 700 pets in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. A representative of St. Hubert’s also visited the Variety Club to honor the students with a St. Hubert’s Humane Hero award in recognition of their work. Great job, Variety Club!


Many thanks to the 4-H Dog Lovers Club! On January 20 they put their hearts and hands into a community service project , silkscreening and painting dozens of handmade Valentine’s Day cards for an Air Force National Guard company adopted by the club. The company is stationed at McGuire Air Force Base and is currently deployed overseas. Displaying a sample card alongside their mothers are club members Kaelin Tricoche (l.) and Emily Del Monte (r.).

Members of the Union County 4-H Archery Club bundled up at the beginning of January and made more than 100 sandwiches for Saint Joseph’s Social Service Center in Elizabeth. Pictured here (l-r) are Alexander Luna, Reid Jaeger, Rachel Villafranca, James Brodowski, David Villafranca, Baseer Cooper, Anthony Batkiw, Henrique Alves, Katelyn Gaulin, Amir Johnson and Lily Gaulin.

On June 10 2017, students in the Union County 4-H program traveled to New Brunswick  to participate in the annual statewide 4-H Public Speaking Contest at Rutgers University. Each student spoke at length on a topic of their choice and were recognized with “Very Good,” “Excellent” and “Best in Room” awards. Pictured here are (left-right): James Brodowski of Cranford (License Plates of the United States), Anthony Batkiw of Kenilworth (Yellowstone Super Volcano), Alicia Neal of Roselle (Digestive System of Dogs and Complications), Henrique Alvez of Hillside (The Euro Crisis), Ayomiposi and and Issac Oluwakuyide of Union ((William Shakespeare and The Rubiks Cube), and Jim Nichnadowicz, Union County 4-H Agent. Not in picture: Kyle Grant of Union, Jack Morel of Fanwood and Nikhil Choudhary of New Providence.
Four Historic Trees for a Historic Park — Union County 4-H students braved the biting cold last weekend to gather at the County’s historic Cedar Brook Park in Plainfield, where they planted three new sycamore trees and a weeping willow with an assist from Union County park maintenance. The trees were donated by the Union County College Historic Tree Program. From left to right are 4-H members Nikhil Choudhary of New Providence, Marcus Ciasco of Westfield, Siddarth Vadavatha of Scotch Plains,  James Brodowski of Cranford, Rob and Michael Laumbach of Fanwood, Ryan Jones of Fanwood and Sandeep Mukherjee of Scotch Plains.


4-H Cedar Brook collage Union County NJ
Many thanks to 35 students from Union County’s 4-H youth clubs, who teamed up with the Master Tree Stewards in November to help spruce up Cedar Brook Park in Plainfield. Together they planted new trees and protected older trees with mulch around the base. To join a 4-H club, lead a club or become a certified Master Tree Steward (no previous tree experience needed!) contact 4-H Agent Jim Nichnadowicz, 908-654-9854 or


Small Steps to Health and Wealth

Union County NJ small steps to health and wealthSmall Steps to Health and Wealth is a nationally recognized program developed by Extension experts at Rutgers University. The aim is to help you identify — and act on — modest behavior changes that lead to better health and financial stability.

Let the experts show you how small steps can add up to big improvements. You can read the Small Steps to Health and Wealth book for free on line at Rutgers University’s SSHW website

If you don’t have time for a whole book you can check out the site’s monthly health and finance messages, take a quick personal assessment quiz, or pick from a list of 25 behavior strategies (we recommend starting with #1, Track Your Current Behavior). 

Are you looking for more programs?

Links to all Union County Extension programs are at the top of the left column on this page including:

     Rain barrels Union County NJUnion County NJ 4-H Dog Lovers Club

      Household Budgeting
      Healthy Living
      Community Gardening
      Stormwater Management
      Master Gardeners
      Master Tree Stewards
      4-H Club Leader
      Community Nutrition
      Rain Barrel Instructors
      Rain Gardens 
Applications for the 2017 grant cycle are now closed.  
 This matching grant program is designed to help you start a new community garden, or expand or improve an existing garden. Last year’s program covered 19 gardens in 10 municipalities, including the magnificent new Scotch Plains – Fanwood Community Garden in Scotch Plains:


The Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County belongs to a national network of more than 3,100 county offices and research institutions, including Rutgers University, organized under the U.S. Department of Agriculture to foster youth development and community health.