More than 1,000 volunteers spent a total of 5,501 hours picking up litter, planting trees and shrubs, clearing fallen trees from walking paths, removing invasive species, and performing other acts of kindness in Union County parks last year. The volunteers were recently honored for their efforts at the eighth annual Union County Adopt-a-Park/Adopt-a-Trail award ceremony and dinner, at Maskers Barn in the Deserted Village of Feltville.

“Whether you volunteer for a few hours or make a long term commitment, the Freeholder Board values each and every one who donates their time to help make our parks more pleasant for all to enjoy,” said Freeholder Chairman Mohamed S. Jalloh. “Every little bit counts when it comes to conserving the unique legacy of our County parks, and together you all make a big difference.”

Adopt-a-Park volunteers can join in one-time cleanup and restoration events, which are often organized by local businesses and other civic groups. Adopt-a-Trail Stewards sign up to take care of a trail over the course of a year. 

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The 2014 accomplishments included:

  • 20 school, scout and corporate groups helped to maintain and beautify trails and parks.
  • 1051 volunteers spent 5,501 total hours working in County parks.
  • 52 Adopt-A-Trail stewards worked on trail maintenance and monitoring. They spread gravel, woodchips, installed erosion control measures, removed invasive species, picked up litter, repaired and replaced fencing, planted native trees, shrubs and other vegetation, removed graffiti and performed many other tasks.
  • The specially trained Adopt-a-Trail Chainsaw Crew removed 160 fallen trees in Watchung Reservation and other parks.
  • Groups that volunteered more than once in 2014 included:

Kean University Center for Service and Leadership

Kean University School of Environmental & Sustainability Sciences

Merck

Haitian Flag Day Committee

  • Jersey Cares has continued to bring many business and individual volunteers to County parks for a variety of projects.
  • The North Plainfield Shade Tree Advisory Board has been adopting a section of Green Brook Park located in North Plainfield for nine years, keeping the area clear of litter and managing invasive plants.
  • Morgan Stanley and Phillips 66 Bayway donated $1,000 and $1500, respectively, for a stream and wildflower meadow project in Warinanco Park (scheduled for 2015).
  • Friends of Battle Hill Area joined the AAP program in 2014.  This group has been removing litter for many years in the Union section of Rahway River Parkway and will continue its work.

Union County parks also host mandatory community service programs. Participants in these programs spent a total of 90 hours working on projects in Green Brook Park and Warinanco Park.

For more photos of the 2015 awards dinner, visit ucnj.org/press-releases.

To join Adopt-a-Park or Adopt-a-Trail, call the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation, 908-789-3683, or visit online at ucnj.org.

Maskers Barn is available to the public to rent for weddings and other gatherings. For more information call the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation, 908-527-4900 or visit online at ucnj.org.

Please join the County of Union on social media.