WESTFIELD—Union County residents can become certified tree experts and share their knowledge with children by joining the Union County Master Tree Steward training program. The free training includes guided walks in beautiful nature areas such as the Hemlock Ravine at Hacklebarney State Park, the Holly Forest at Sandy Hook, the White Cedar Bog at Cheesequake State Park, and Helyar Woods, a virgin forest adjoining Rutgers Gardens.
Transportation to the nature walks is by county van or carpools organized through the Master Tree Steward program. The walks are brief and mainly on level ground.
The Master Tree Steward training program is entirely free of charge. Volunteer applications are being accepted now for the upcoming school year. The 13-week program runs every Wednesday (except holidays) from Sept. 9 to Dec. 2, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Along with the outdoor nature walks, sessions are held at the Union County Rutgers Extension offices at 300 North Avenue in Westfield
Previous teaching experience or knowledge of trees is not required. Rutgers experts train the Tree Stewards on the importance of trees, how to identify common trees, and bow to present a fun interactive program to 4h-grade students. Once certified, Master Tree Swards visit classrooms in Union County to share the program. Classroom teachers remain in the room and supervise the students.
To apply to the Master Tree Steward program or for more information, contact 4-H Agent James Nichnadowicz in Westfield at 908-654-9854, ext. 2236 or email nichnadowicz@firstname.lastname@example.org.
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