Snaps & Snippets: Over 200 took part in ‘climate safe pledge’ at Phil Rizzuto Park in Union County

Late last month, Groundwork Elizabeth, a local nonprofit organization, collaborated with local governments, businesses and the community at a “Boots Not Suits” Earth Day event in Union County’s Phil Rizzuto Park. 

Mayor J. Christian Bollwage and members from the NAACP.

Since 1970, Earth Day has been observed annually around the world, in recognition of the value of a clean and healthy environment. This year was no different in Union County, as more than 200 people came together for a day of tree plantings, inspirational messages and comradery at the park. 

The three-hour program took part at Phil Rizzuto Park, which is located at the intersection of North Avenue and Morris Avenue, where the city of Elizabeth and Union Township meet. 

More trees being planted.

“Taking care of the Earth on Earth Day is a personal and community obligation,” Groundwork Executive Director Jonathan Phillips said. “It needs to continue each every day. It’s something we all need to do.” 

More than 66 trees were donated by Phillips 66 Bayway Refinery. 

Groundwork Green Team youth leader Kayly Hernandez administered a “climate safe pledge,” asking all to leave the Earth in better condition than they found it. After the ceremony, attendees had a chance to really make a difference. Under the direction of Curt Collier, from the Society for Ethical Culture, youth and adults came together and planted groves of trees, which will soak up rainwater, clean the air and provide a healthier habitat for the foliage and animals which live at the park. 

Curt Collier, from the Society for Ethical Culture, above right, instructs youths on the activities at hand.

The “Boots not Suits” Earth Day event will continue next Earth Day. If anyone is interested in learning more about this or other events, you can reach out to Lucy Crespo at  

Conversation Starter

Reach Groundwork Elizabeth at: or call 908-289-0262.

J. Christian Bollwage, the mayor of Elizabeth, speaks with volunteers at the Earth Day event in Union County’s Phil Rizzuto Park.