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New Watershed Ambassador Offers Free Education and Guidance on Environmental Conservation Activities – County of Union, New Jersey

AmeriCorps Ambassador for Union County Watersheds, Cassidy Atanasio, is available to provide guidance on local conservation projects and conduct environmental education classes for all ages.

Union County residents of all ages were invited to participate.

Union County, NJ – The new Union County Watershed Ambassador is available to conduct free lessons on watershed protection and help set up new cleanup and restoration projects in Union County and the surrounding area. The Watershed Ambassador program is designed to include both adults and students in environmental education activities and projects that make a real difference to the community.

This year’s watershed ambassador is Cassidy Atanasio. She can be reached via email at wma7.njwap@gmail.com or by phone 908-654-9855.

“The Watershed Ambassador Program helps engage Union County residents of all ages in preserving and protecting our environment, and we are very pleased to welcome Ms. Cassidy Attanasio into our community,” said Commissioner Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “As stewards of the water resources that feed the Atlantic Ocean, we have a local and global responsibility to look after our watersheds.”

A watershed is a specific land area that drains into a river system or other body of water. Some watersheds are rather small. Others extend to rivers, lakes, and reservoirs.

Much of Union County is located in New Jersey’s Watershed Management District 7, also known as the Arthur Kell Watershed.

Zone 7 covers the 11-mile Elizabeth River, the 24-mile Rahway River, and major tributaries including the East Branch Rahway River and Robinson Branch. Zone 7 also covers the bodies of water in Union County parks including Lake Surprise in Watchung Preserve and Lake Echo in Echo Lake Park.

In addition to the waterways within Union County, the District includes 7 parts of Essex and Middlesex counties including tributaries of the Woodbridge River, Middlesex Reservoir, Orange Reservoir, and Diamond Pond.

Now in its 21st year, the Watershed Ambassador program sends trained presenters into classrooms and civic groups to help teachers, students, and community members discover how human behavior can affect the land and water around them.

The free program also offers easy and practical solutions that anyone can implement to reduce pollution and improve water quality, such as eliminating or minimizing the use of pesticides on lawns, capturing pet droppings, and not feeding geese.

In addition to educational offerings, the program offers training in flow assessment for individuals and groups.

Ms. Atanasio holds a BA in Biology with a major in Zoology from Delaware Valley University. Her experience includes volunteer service in the Department of Wildlife and Natural Resources with the USGS and the US Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service.

Residents interested in cleanups and other environmental activities in Union County parks are also encouraged to join the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation’s “Adopt a Park/Adopt Path Program,” by phone at 789-3682 or by email at dbernier@ucnj. Deer. Individuals and groups are welcome to participate.

The Water Ambassador Program is a federally funded position administered by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the AmeriCorps Watershed Ambassador Program, and is supported by the Union County Board of Commissioners through the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County. The Watershed Ambassador works from extension offices in the Colleen Frasier Building in the Union County complex in Westfield, located at 300 North Avenue East.

More information about the Union County park system is available at ucnj.org/parks. For information about all Union County extension programs visit ucnj.org/rce.

For quick links to all Union County environmental programs and activities, visit The Green Connection at ucnj.org/green-connect.

For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, 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.

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For all Union County programs and services, visit ucnj.org, call the General Information Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online contact form.

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