ESSEX COUNTY, NJThe Essex County Environmental Center, located at 621B Eagle Rock Avenue, in Roseland, is not only inviting the public is to celebrate Earth Day there—it has also announced that it is offering a variety of enriching recreational experiences through nature and conservation activity programs during the month of April there too. There programs will teach children and adults about nature and help them gain a greater appreciation and understanding of the environment. Registration is required for all programs, all of which will be held at the Essex County Environmental Center, unless otherwise noted. For more information or to register, call 973-228-8776.

On Saturday, April 25, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., the public is invited to “Celebrate Earth Day at the Essex County Environmental Center.” Residents are invited to bring their families, friends, and neighbors for this annual outdoor Earth festival. On this day, guests will celebrate nature with crafts, games, and recreational opportunities, such as canoeing and hiking, and enjoy demonstrations, gain information, attend a local ‘eco-vendors’ sale, with the Environmental Center staff and partner groups on hand to guide them throughout the day. This is a free event that is being sponsored by Whole Foods, PSE&G and Covanta Energy.

“Our Environmental Center has become the premiere location for environmental education and nature appreciation,” said Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. “With the help of our partner groups, our dynamic schedule of events and activities will captivate all ages. Walk in our woods, discover habitats, get pointers on gardening, learn about nature photography and much more. It’s all about nature and it’s all at our Environmental Center.”

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The Essex County Park System was created in 1895 and is the first county park system established in the United States. The Park System consists of more than 6,000 acres and has 22 parks, five reservations, an environmental center, a zoo, Treetop Adventure Course, ice skating rink, roller skating rink, three public golf courses, golf driving range, two miniature golf courses, three off-leash dog facilities, a castle and the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens.

Other events scheduled for April are as follows:

“Tuesday Afternoon Yoga with Meditation” is for adults. Held on Tuesdays, April 14, 21 and 28, at 3:30 p.m., the focus of this class is on the many benefits of long-held, seated poses. Participants will lengthen tissues that connect, wrap and interweave muscles, helping to increase their range of motion and free up areas of limitation. They will cultivate a meditative state in each pose, as well as sit for a meditation at the end of class. All levels are welcome. Cost is $10 per class. Advance registration is required. Dress comfortably and bring a mat.

“Bug Club” is for children ages six to 10. Held on Tuesday, April 14, at 4:00 p.m., the Bug Club is devoted to young people who want to explore the wonders of insects through field walks, games, stories and crafts. This club meets year-round. Cost is $8 per child per session. Advance registration and payment are required. Minimum number of participants needed.

“4-H Young Gardeners Club” is for children in grades one through 10. Have you ever wondered how vegetables and flowers grow? Where spaghetti sauce comes from? How you can find a rainbow in a garden? Join the 4-H Young Gardener's Club on Tuesday, April 14, at 4:00 p.m., to find the answers to these questions and more. Meet in Garibaldi Hall. Advance registration required. For information, call 973-353-1338, Ext. 109.

“Frog Pond Science” is for children ages five to nine. Held on Wednesday, April 15, at 4:00 p.m., uncover and discover ecosystem interactions at the frog pond. Use nets, magnifiers, and microscopes to investigate what lives in and around the pond. Learn from a naturalist how to protect and conserve the pond’s inhabitants. Cost is $8 per child per session. Minimum number of participants required. Advance registration and payment are required.

“Little Explorers Spring Nature Program” is for children ages two to five, and their caregivers. This class uses stories, walks and crafts to develop an awareness and appreciation for science and nature for the child as well as the caregiver. Each week, starting Fridays, on April 17, at 1:30 p.m., a different nature or science topic is covered. Cost is $9 per child/session (additional material fees may apply). Advance registration and payment are required.

“Container Gardening” is for adults. On Saturday, April 18, at 10:30 a.m., discover the city dweller's answer to the big backyard gardens of yesteryear. Containers aren't just round and made from clay or plastic – explore the options. Rutgers Master Gardeners will show participants how to select and raise a wide variety of plants in containers. Cost is $10 per adult. Advance registration required. Minimum number of participants required.

“4-H Environmental Kids Club” is for children in grades K through eight. On Tuesday, April 21, at 4:00 p.m., they will learn that the environment is filled with things, big and small, that are surprising and helpful. Meet in Garibaldi Hall. Advance registration is required. For more information, call 973-353-1338, Ext. 109.

“Birding Hike in Troy Meadows” is being presented by New Jersey Audubon on Thursday, April 23, at 8:30 a.m. The combination of forest and meadow habitat makes for spectacular views of middle-spring migrants that will be passing through. Footing may be wet. Participants will carpool to the trail head. Meet at the Essex County Environmental Center. Cost is $6 for NJA members and $8 non-members. Call 908-766-5787 or e-mail kelly.wenzel@njaudubon.org to register.

“Backyard Composting Made Easy” is for all ages. On Thursday, April 23, at 6:30 p.m., learn to successfully compost organic waste in one’s own backyard. The fee includes The Earth Machine and a kitchen scrap collection pail. An optional aerator is also available. Meet in Garibaldi Hall. Cost is $69 (the bin retails for over $100 at Home Depot, plus shipping). Advance registration is required by Monday, April 20. Minimum number of participants required.

“Ikebana Design, Japanese Flower Arranging Series” will teach the Japanese art of Ikebana, a disciplined art form reflecting the forces of nature with which plants live in harmony. Ikebana is a minimalist expression which draws emphasis toward shape, line, and form. Working with flowers in this way can soothe the mind and lift spirits. This workshop being held on Thursdays, April 23 and 30 and May 7 and 14, at 7:00 p.m., will include an introduction to the history and philosophy of Ikebana as well as the different styles and techniques. Hands-on instruction in design and technique will be led by Hideko Eda, a senior professor of Ikebana in Japan. Learn how to bend branches and flowers so they appear to be blown by the wind, or create a leaf that appears half eaten by insects. Each participant will receive fresh flowers to work with in each of the four classes. Students can bring their own container, garden scissors, and kenzan (pin cushion) to class or may purchase these items in class. Cost is $72 per person for the series. Advance registration and payment is required by Monday, April 20. Minimum number of participants required.

“Birding Hike in Essex County South Mountain Reservation” is being presented by New Jersey Audubon. Participants will hike several trails in search of early signs of spring. Target species include early spring migrants and the last of the winter sparrows. Meet at Essex County Turtle Back Zoo, located at 560 Northfield Avenue, on Saturday, April 25, at 8:00 a.m. Cost is $6 for NJA members and $8 for non-members. Call 908-766-5787 or e-mail kelly.wenzel@njaudubon.org to register.

“New Jersey Woodturners” is for adults. On Monday, April 27, at 7:00 p.m., learn to turn with the NJ Woodturners Association. Discover the wonders of creating art from found pieces of wood. Topics vary month to month. Meet in Garibaldi Hall. Cost is $10 per adult and free for NJWA members.

“Kids in the Kitchen Club” is for children ages eight to 12. Does your child have an interest in cooking? If so, this club, on Wednesday, April 29, at 3:45 p.m., will transform his/her interest into new skills. Participants will make an array of foods, one dish per club meeting. All food will be prepared with healthy and tasty goals in mind. Some examples are pizza, cookies, kale chips, fresh apple sauce, and more! Meet in Garibaldi Hall. Cost is $10 per child per session (material fees included). Advance registration and payment are required. Minimum number of participants needed.

“Energy Engineers: Pie Plate Windmill” is for children ages eight through 12. In nature, the sun is the source of heat and wind. On Thursday, April 30, at 6:00 p.m., in this workshop, students will use rising warm air created by burning candles to test and turn their windmills made from pie plates. Considering the design of the windmill, they will discuss how they could be used on an electric generator. Cost is $8 per child. Advance registration is required. Minimum number of participants required.

“At Home with the Moors: Morocco” is a photography exhibit by Fred Dammont that will be on display at the Essex County Environmental Center during the month of April. Hours are Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Admission is free.