UNION, NJ – Union’s first annual Earth Day Celebration, featuring a waterway cleanup, touch a truck event and a shade tree seedling giveaway, occurred on Saturday all around town.

The main event of the day featured the waterway cleanup of tributaries the feed into the Rahway River.   “We will be cleaning three waterway areas in Union,” said DPW Superintendent Lou Ulrich.  “We will clean them of any trash around the banks of the waterway.”

Families and teenagers came out in force for the cleanup.  Union High School freshman Jonathan, 15, said, “I just came out to help the community.”  Jason, a Burnet Middle School student, said, “I have a community service project to do for Social Studies, plus I want to help keep the waterways clean.”

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The volunteers divided into three teams and headed out to Joe Collins Park, the Brookside area and Sayre Road Park.

“Seeing everyone come out today to participate in Earth Day is fantastic,” said Township of Union Mayor Suzette Cavadas.  “It reminds our children of the importance of taking care of our environment for their future.”

“Dozens of bags of trash were removed from our rivers, and we even got to clean up a small oil spill saving wildlife, and protecting the environment,” said DPW Supervisor Matty Calderone. “Remember, anything you spill on the street will end up in our waterways. Thanks for caring today.  It really made a difference.”

Ulrich said there were about 1,000 shade tree seedlings to give away to residents.  He said they were provided by the State Department of Environmental Protection and the Arbor Day Foundation.