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621 Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland, NJ 07068
TEL (973) 228-8776
Fax (973) 228-3793

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History of the Site

The Essex County Environmental Center is located in the western section of Essex County at West Essex Park.  West Essex Park is 1,360 acres of wetlands preserve which remains almost entirely undeveloped.  It stretches along six miles of the Passaic River, starting at Bloomfield Avenue in Fairfield, and ending just beyond South Orange Avenue in Livingston. 

The former Park Commission first began acquiring this land in 1955.  Money to purchase the first piece of property came in part from the sale of Oraton Parkway to the New Jersey Highway Authority.  Over subsequent years, other land was purchased from more than 70 individual landowners.

The Center for Environmental Studies was established onsite in 1972 and functioned for over 23 years as a place to educate students about the environment.  It was officially closed in 1995 due to lack of funding, but organizations such as Rutgers Cooperative Research and Extension, Master Gardeners and 4H, Essex County Beekeepers, and Sierra Club, Essex Chapter have continued providing services and programs at the site on a limited basis to meet the needs of the community.  Now such organizations are partners at the new Environmental Center and assist in delivering superior natural science programs.

 Currently, little remains of the Center for Environmental Studies except Garibaldi Hall, a building with a meeting room and offices, where the Rutgers Master Gardeners operate their help-line.  The natural amenities have remained quite the same, however, offering fishing, boating and birding opportunities, a greenhouse and gardens, and a forested interpretive trail.  For the first time in 10 years, Essex County communities will have a place to study nature.

In May of 2005 the new Essex County Environmental Center was dedicated and opened.  This state-of-the-art facility was constructed as an environmentally sensitive building using natural and recycled materials, innovative energy saving technologies, and topped by a “green roof” for the purpose storm-water management, among other things.   

The Center offers hands-on curriculum, and cutting edge programs and workshops for all ages.  It stands some hundred feet from Garibaldi Hall, and the two buildings are connected via trails.  Both buildings, including the surrounding grounds, are part of the Environmental Center campus and are ideal for outdoor nature exploration and hands-on educational activities. 

Mission Statement

The Essex County Environmental Center is dedicated to creating awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the environment and its relationship to Essex County residents.  The Center is devoted to uniting its twenty-two municipalities through integrated educational programs including hands-on-activities.


Hours of Operation

Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm & Saturday, 10am-2pm



Teacher Workshops


Special Services

The Essex County Office of Environmental Affairs is housed in the new Environmental Center and was officially established in 1998 to assure that all environmental matters in the County receive attention. The Office of Environmental Affairs helps to set environmental policy in the County, provides opportunities for environmental education and implements environmental action programs.

Also established at the time to complement the Office of Environmental Affairs was the Essex County Environmental Commission.  The Commission, comprised of citizens of Essex County, is an advisory body to that office and to other departments in the County and focuses on a broad range of environmental issues so as to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Essex County. Its mission is to work towards the protection, restoration and renewal of Essex County’s valuable natural resources and to increase environmental awareness through outreach and education, ensuring all county residents a healthy environment and an enhanced quality of life.

Currently, the Commission is working to secure a complete Natural Resources Inventory of the County, and is working with the Office of Environmental Affairs to build closer relationships with the County’s municipal environmental commissions.  It is our goal to have a representative from every municipality participate, encouraging the establishment of Environmental Commissions in each town. This will enhance the development of a forum for sharing information and concerns the municipalities may have in common and for finding solutions. 

For example, in the past two years Environmental Affairs and the Commission has organized and hosted environmental roundtables to foster such information exchange. Frequently check the Environmental Center Calendar for other upcoming events hosted by the Environmental Affairs and the Commission, including a 2006 Environmental Roundtable.

For more information about the Essex County Office of Environmental Affairs or the Essex County Environmental Commission contact Tara Casella, Environmental Affairs Coordinator, at 973-228-8776 or



The Essex County Environmental Center is a facility of the Essex County Park System located in West Essex Park. Our hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm and Saturday from 10:00am to 2:00pm. West Essex Park is open to the public daily from dawn until dusk.

Contact Information         

Phone:  973-228-8776
Fax:      973-228-3793


Tara M Casella, Environmental Coordinator, Office of Environmental Affairs

Maria Robinson, Office Manager

Gina Mongiello, Program Coordinator

David Alexander, Staff Naturalist





From Livingston:

Drive north on Eisenhower Parkway to Eagle Rock Avenue.  Turn Left onto Eagle Rock Avenue. Follow “From Eagle Rock Avenue/Eisenhower Parkway intersection.”

From Garden State Parkway North and South:
Take exit 145 NJPAC/Newark/280.  Bear left off exit to merge onto 280 West/The Oranges.  Follow directions from “Route 280 West” below.

From Route 280 East or West:

Take exit 4A—Eisenhower Parkway South.  Continue to the light and turn right on to Eagle Rock Avenue.  Proceed approximately ¼ mile to the Center on the left. 

From Eagle Rock Avenue/Eisenhower Parkway intersection:

Drive west on Eagle Rock Avenue for about ¼ mile (You will pass 2 office buildings on the left; Ultimate Trading Corp. and ITW:  American Safety Technologies, Inc.).  The Center is on the left.

From New Jersey:

Take Route 280 West to Exit 4A (Eisenhower Parkway South). Turn right onto Eagle Rock Avenue. Center is on the left.

From New York:

George Washington Bridge or Lincoln Tunnel to New Jersey Turnpike South. Take Exit 15W for Route 280 West. Follow above directions.

Use the address “621-B Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland” when obtaining driving directions from the Internet.

* Note:  The driveway entrance is difficult to see.  As soon as you see the “SLOW” markings on the road, slow down.  The driveway is immediately after the 2nd office building on the left.


Environmental Center Partner Links

Essex County Nature Photographers:

Essex County Master Gardeners:

Essex County Beekeepers Society, Essex County

Natural Resources Conservation Service, NJ Office (NRCS)

New Jersey Audubon

New Jersey Sierra Club, Essex Chapter

Rutgers Cooperative Research and Extension, Essex County
(4-H and Master Gardeners)

Other Informative Links

Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC)

Alliance of New Jersey Environmental Education (ANJEE)

 Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2 (EPA)

Gardens State Environmental News Network (GSENET)

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP)

United States Geological Survey (USGS)

Essex County Utilities Authority/Solid Waste and Recycling

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Department of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs
115 Clifton Ave, Newark, NJ 07104 ~ (T) 973-268-3500 ~ (F) 973-481-5302
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