UNION COUNTY – Trees outnumber people by a wide margin in Union County, but how much do you really know about our tall, green, and leafy fellow residents? The 4-H Master Tree Stewards of Union County know, and you can get in on the secret by joining the group as it trains a new corps of volunteers this fall.
“The Master Tree Steward program does a wonderful job of training ordinary citizens in tree conservation, and every year they pass this knowledge along to thousands of Union County school children,” said Freeholder Chairman Linda Carter. “This is a valuable community service and the Freeholder Board is very proud to support them.”
Trees make significant contributions to the quality of life in densely developed areas like Union County. They help reduce airborne pollutants, provide a cooling effect in urban areas, and help control soil erosion.
Studies have also linked urban trees to improved public health and safety as well as economic growth.
The 4-H Master Tree Stewards of Union County is a volunteer program run by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension, with the goal of encouraging citizens to plant and preserve urban trees.
No previous experience in conservation or teaching is needed to become a Master Tree Steward. Experts from Rutgers University provide all the training needed. The training sessions consist of a series of guided nature walks in local forests, supplemented by classroom exercises.
The training takes place each fall. In addition to other community service projects, each spring the Master Tree Stewards fan out to elementary schools in Union County, where they teach a one-hour course on tree conservation to fourth grade students.
The 2013 Tree Steward training sessions will be held on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., for 13 weeks starting on Sept. 11. Aside from a materials fee of $25, there is no charge for the sessions.
The classroom sessions will be located at the Extension offices in the County Services building in Westfield, at 300 North Avenue East.
For an application or more information, contact Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County 4-H Agent James Nichnadowicz at the Extension offices, 908-654-9854, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Rutgers Cooperative Extension is supported in part by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders. It offers a wide variety of programs and activities for all ages. For more information visit the Extension online at ucnj.org/rce.
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