Education

Do You Have What it takes to be a Master Tree Steward?

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Prospective Master Tree Stewards enjoy a break during an outdoor training session.  Credits: Master Tree Stewards of Union County.
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UNION COUNTY, NJ - If you can take a series of guided visits to nearby nature preserves, then you have what it takes to join the Master Tree Stewards of Union County. Members of this all-volunteer organization spend the fall season learning about the critical role that trees play in our environment, and each spring they share their knowledge with hundreds of fourth grade students throughout the County.

“Urban and suburban trees are proven to provide many benefits. They reduce airborne pollutants, prevent storm runoff, and help keep neighborhoods cool in the summer,” said Freeholder Chairman Mohamed Jalloh. “If you are looking for a volunteer opportunity that gets you in touch with nature and children while helping to improve our Union County environment, the Master Tree Stewards is the place for you.”

Studies have also linked urban trees to improved public health and safety as well as economic growth.

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The Master Tree Stewards is a free program run by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County, and supported in part by the Freeholder Board. The Extension offices are located in the Colleen Frasier County Services building in Westfield, at 300 North Avenue East.

No previous experience with trees or teaching is necessary.

To become a certified Master Tree Steward, prospective members partake in a series of guided visits to nature preserves starting in September. They learn how to communicate with children about the role that trees play in the environment, and how to plant and care for trees.

After completing the training program, the newly minted Master Tree Stewards receive a teaching kit and supplies, and they visit fourth grade classrooms to present fun-and-games lessons about trees.

Master Tree Stewards can also engage in other tree-related community service projects throughout the year.

To receive an application and more details, contact Extension Agent James Nichnadowicz at 908-654-9854 or nichnadowicz@ucnj.org. Don’t delay – training starts on September 9.

For more information about the Master Tree Stewards, 4-H Clubs, and other Extension programs for all ages, visit online at ucnj.org/rce.

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