Popular series returns to Watchung Reservation in March; masks and social distance required for COVID-19 prevention.

Weather permitting, Union County’s free series of guided nature walks for seniors age 55 and up will resume beginning at 11:00 on Wednesday, March 3, at the Trailside Nature and Science Center in the Watchung Reservation, located at 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside.

The series takes place on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., mainly on the Sensory Friendly Trail, a 0.3 mile ADA accessible loop located on the grounds of Trailside.

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“Union County’s parks provide thousands of residents and visitors with a chance to enjoy and learn about our natural heritage every year, and they are more important now than ever,” said Union County Board of Commissioners Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “The guided walks offer an ideal opportunity for senior residents to spend time outdoors in a community setting, and we will be ready to go as soon as the weather clears up.”

Each walk is led by a Trailside naturalist and highlights a different topic, including Maple Sugaring, Backyard Birds, a Deserted Village Walk, an Early Spring Walk and Early Spring Wildflowers.

The series is open to participants age 55 and older. The walks will be held in small groups in order to facilitate social distancing.

The Sensory Friendly Trail first opened in 2018 and has quickly become a popular destination. It winds gently through the woods with guide ropes and features multiple interpretive signs to learn about the local flora and fauna, with 3-D reliefs and Braille for the visually impaired. It also includes audio kiosks highlighting the natural and human history of the Watchung Reservation, the largest preserved park in Union County at 2,142 acres.

The senior walk series is free but pre-registration is required through the Trailside website, ucnj.org/trailside (use the “Online Registration” link in the left-hand column).

In–person activities in Union County parks are limited during the COVID-19 outbreak in accordance with statewide public health guidelines, and Trailside is closed to the public until further notice.

For more information about the guided walks for seniors, online nature activities and other activities for families and children hosted by Trailside, please visit ucnj.org/trailside or call 908-789-3670.

For quick links to all Union County environmental programs and activities, including online resources during the COVID-19 outbreak, visit The Green Connection, ucnj.org/green-connect.

For more information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including the Drive-Through Test Center at Kean University, the Mobile Test Unit walk-up sites, vaccination information, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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