Explore The Wilds Of New Jersey With The Union County Master Tree Stewards

UNION COUNTY – Union County residents are invited to enjoy a series of nature walks through local forests this fall, guided by experts from the Rutgers Cooperative Extension. The excursions are part of a free training course in trees and tree care that leads to certification as a Master Tree Steward.

“Union County is very proud of our Master Tree Stewards, who through the years have helped thousands of children to gain a deeper appreciation of the impact that trees have on our quality of life,” said Freeholder Board Vice Chairman Linda Carter.

No previous experience with trees or horticulture is required. Once certified, Master Tree Stewards participate in community service projects, including the Extension’s 4-H Youth Development program.

Each year, Master Tree Steward volunteers visit fourth grade classrooms throughout Union County and help students learn about the importance of trees and their role in the urban environment.

Along with providing much-needed shade in the summer, trees can play a significant role in reducing urban dust and other airborne pollutants, and preventing erosion.

The Tree Steward certification sessions are held on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., for 13 weeks starting on Sept. 5. Most of the training consists of guided walks in local forests including the Great Swamp, Rutgers Helyar Woods and the New Jersey Forestry Center.

There are no exams, and up to three absences are permitted. Indoor sessions are located at the Extension offices in the Union County Building in Westfield, at 300 North Avenue, across the street from the Westfield Diner.

The extension also provides training and educational kits for the classroom visits. No teaching experience is necessary.

For an application or more information, contact 4-H Agent James Nichnadowicz at the Extension offices, 1-908-654-9854, or email nichnadowicz@ucnj.org.

The Rutgers Cooperative Extension is supported in part by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

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