Warren encompasses 19.7 square miles and is located in the Eastern part of Somerset County between the first and second ridges of the Watchung Mountains. The Lenni Lenape Indians originally inhabited the area. Like much of the Garden State, when Warren Township was incorporated in 1806 it was a rural farming community. Since the 1970’s Warren has grown to become a residential, suburban community. In 1982 Interstate 78 was extended to include the areas it runs along the northern part of the town, which is accessed by exits 33, 36, and 40.
Open Space Planning
Open Space planning in Warren Township has been part of the planning process since the 1970s. In recent years, the Town and/or Somerset County purchased over 400 acres of open space. The open space parcel housing the Dealaman Nature Trail and pond, donated by Atlantic Development, is home to the annual fishing derby. Additional Open Space includes numerous hiking trails, several parks, and ball fields.
Wagner Farm Arboretum
The purchase of Wagner farm made possible the Wagner Farm Arboretum. On May 31, 2001, Warren Township purchased Wagner Farm, a former dairy farm located on Mountain Avenue. In 2004 the Township authorized the formation of the Wagner Farm Arboretum Foundation, Inc. as a non-profit organization.
The Community and Giving Gardens, the first operational gardens, were launched in spring 2007. They consist of 78,000 square feet of fenced-in land, divided into two sections. The Community Garden includes 116 10 feet by 20 feet plots that are rented out to local residents. The other half is devoted to the Giving Garden.
Run entirely by volunteers, its goal is to grow nutritious and tasty produce for those in need in the area. Distributing through a network of nine local food banks, the Giving Garden donated nearly 20,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables in 2010. The Giving Gardens host the township-wide educational program, known as “Growing to Give.”
Primary school children start seeds in classrooms, then come to the Garden to plant in spring. Older students periodically help with maintenance. Volunteers and teams tend to other beds in the garden from local corporations and organizations. Activities at the Arboretum and Community Gardens along with the strength of the local schools contributed to Money Magazine’s 2009 selection of Warren Township as the 6th best small town in the nation.
The Warren Township Conservation Commission was formed on April 17, 1969; the name was later changed to the Environmental Commission. The primary function of the Environmental Commission is to protect natural resources.
There have been various public events over the years to promote environmental awareness. In the 1970’s Earth Day Fairs were held in Warren. The Green Fair tradition was revived with the 2009 regional Green Day Fair with the towns of Watchung, Green Brook, and Long Hill held at Watchung Hills Regional High School, which is located in Warren Township.
On December 17, 2009, The Township Committee passed a resolution to form a Green Team for the purpose of seeking certification in the Sustainable Jersey program. The Warren Green Team held its first meeting on October 14, 2010. The application for the Sustainable Jersey bronze certification was filed on January 6, 2012.
The actions completed and documented in this certification submission represent years of careful planning and conservation efforts. This submission is a brief snapshot of the many programs in place that help preserve the natural beauty of Warren.