Elizabeth Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership

With Groundwork Elizabeth leading the way, this Partnership engages youth from diverse communities in environmental projects that improve local streams and riparian riparian
Definition of riparian habitat or riparian areas.

Learn more about riparian
habitats. Projects build stewardship around and improve access to amenities along the Elizabeth River and Travers Branch.​

Hike it Baby! A special Mother's Day in Elizabeth, New Jersey

Despite the rainy weather, it was all smiles this week in Elizabeth, New Jersey as the Elizabeth Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership brought moms and their little ones together for a special Mother’s Day celebration. Hosted with Hike it Baby, an organization dedicated to getting families and young ones out to nature, the event gave families a chance to relax in a forested park while enjoying fresh food, receiving free outdoor gear and raffle prizes, learning about women’s health, and sharing powerful stories about the moms that have touched our lives.

Event partners included Groundwork Elizabeth, Union County Parks, Trinitas Regional Medical Center, and the Friends of Great Swamp. These partners worked with Josephine’s Place, a local center dedicated to providing shelter and empowering women in underserved communities, to provide free transportation to these families that otherwise wouldn't have had the means to attend. As the majority of attendees were Spanish-speaking, bilingual programming was provided throughout to ensure everyone could enjoy the event.

Among the attendees was special guest New Jersey Senator Joe Cryan, who stopped by to meet with families and discuss the importance of the Elizabeth Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership in bringing value added to the city.

Anna Harris, Deputy Refuge Manager at the Lenape National Wildlife Refuge Complex and one of the event's main organizers, believes it was the partners' shared vision -- to build connections to nature and lift up underserved communities -- that made the event so impactful.

"This event was the start of something new for the refuge, but the journey to get here was not. Our longstanding partnership with Groundworks Elizabeth, the Friends of Great Swamp and Josephine's place created the foundation for a safe, trustworthy and fun Hike it Baby event," Harris said. "As the proverb states, 'it takes a village to raise a child.' We'll continue working with the community to provide a safe and healthy environment for the mothers and children of Elizabeth."

New trail at Phil Rizzuto Park

The Elizabeth Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership celebrated a big milestone in October with the dedication of the Trotters Branch Outdoor Nature and Education Center at Phil Rizzuto Park in Elizabeth, NJ. Lenape National Wildlife Refuge Complex staff joined staff from Groundwork Elizabeth’s Green Team, project sponsor Phillips 66, local elected officials, and the Friends of the Great Swamp NWR in a ribbon-cutting in front of the new interpretive trail.

Latino Conservation Week Event A Success Thanks to Hispanic Access Foundation Intern

Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and Hispanic Access Foundation intern Cassiel Ramirez organized a successful clean-up of Phil Rizzuto Park in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in celebration of Latino Conservation Week. Cassiel worked diligently to coordinate among several local organizations, including Groundwork Elizabeth, the Union County Parks Department and residents. Over 30 youth took part in the clean-up, which led to the removal of over thirty bags of trash along the riparian corridor in the park. Great job Cassiel!