Fun Learning Experiences for Lovers of Trees, Veggies, Bows, Arrows, Legos, and More

Members of the Union County 4-H Teen Council planted a tree at Cedar Brook Park in Plainfield. Tree stewardship is just one of many community service activities for youths and adults available supported in part by the Freeholder Board, through the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County. More information: Visit or contact 4-H Agent Jim Nichnadowicz at the Extension office in Westfield, 908-654-9854 (press “3”) or   Credits: Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County


The new schedule of activities for adult volunteers and youth 4-H clubs is now available in the latest edition of County Visions, the newsletter of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County. The Extension offers many unique learning and volunteer opportunities for children and adults, from tree conservation and horticulture to archery, living history, and Lego robotics.

“The Extension provides a unique opportunity to dig into subjects that you love, and to share your knowledge with your peers, friends, and neighbors in Union County,” said Freeholder Chairman Christopher Hudak. “If you are looking for a new activity this year, I encourage you to take a look at the latest County Visions newsletter.”

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The Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County is part of a national network of county-based community learning programs organized under the US Department of Agriculture. In Union County, the Extension is supported in part by the Freeholder Board. It offers three main volunteer activities for adults:

·         The Master Tree Stewards engage in a variety of community projects. Each spring they visit fourth-grade classrooms throughout Union County to help hundreds of students learn about tree conservation in their neighborhoods.

·         The Master Gardeners maintain an extensive demonstration garden at the Watchung Reservation. Their community service projects include horticulture therapy, raising and donating fresh produce for food banks, neighborhood beautification, and scholarship funding.

·         4-H Club Leaders work with small groups of students in grades 1-12. They help the club members explore their interests while developing life skills including teamwork, organization, and communication.

All adult volunteers are trained and supported by Extension professionals. No previous experience or training is needed.

The training program for the Master Tree Stewards includes a series of walks in local nature preserves along with guidance on presenting a lesson about trees to fourth-grade students (teachers remain in the classroom to support the lesson).

4-H Club leaders also receive guidance on leading their clubs. Parent volunteers are present to help with meetings and activities.

“Our 4-H program would love to add new clubs such as theater, engineering, and even bugs, so if you like working with young people, please consider volunteering to lead a club,” said Hudak.

The latest edition of County Visions provides a tentative list of clubs for the 2014-2015 school year such as Archery and Lego Robotics as well as STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), Anime and Manga, Cooking, Fashion Design and Sewing, Living History, and the “Variety” clubs, in which students explore subjects of their own choice.

The 4-H clubs are open to students in grades 1-12. The 4-H program also includes Teen Council community service and youth development program for high school students.

County Visions 2014 is available online at the County website, To obtain a print copy or for more information, call the Extension offices in Westfield, 908-654-9854.

To volunteer to lead a 4-H Club, or to suggest a topic for a club, contact 4-H Agent Jim Nichnadowicz, 908-654-9854 (press “3”) or email

Please join the County of Union online at, on Facebook at, and on Twitter at

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