New Jersey
 
 
 
 
Travel America

Learn before you travel. This section of Fun Easy English focuses on facts and other cool stuff about your favorite U.S. state. This is great English reading practice. This page focuses on the state of New Jersey.
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New Jersey

Italian Giovanni da Verrazano, in 1524, was the first European to explore the area we know today as New Jersey. One of the original 13 states (it joined the Union in 1787), it was named after the island of Jersey in the English Channel. New Jersey is referred to as the "Garden State" because of its fertile farmland. General George Washington won a key Revolutionary War battle at Trenton when he crossed the Delaware River from Pennsylvania and surprised the Hessian soldiers stationed there. Trenton is the state capital, and the flower is the purple violet. "Atlantic City, a resort town and former home to the Miss America pageant, attracts visitors from around the world."
Flag of New JerseyNew Jersey State Flag


In 1780, during the Revolutionary war, General George Washington directed that the regiments of the New Jersey Continental Line have a flag of dark blue and buff (buff and Jersey blue are now recognized as the official state colors of New Jersey).

General Washington presumably selected these colors for historic reasons; New York and New Jersey were both originally settled by the Dutch, and dark blue (Jersey blue) and buff were Holland's (the Netherlands) insignia. The center of the flag features New Jersey's coat of arms (featured on the great seal of New Jersey).

Symbols on New Jersey's Coat of Arms

Three plows on the shield honor the state's agricultural tradition. The helmet above the shield faces forward, an attitude denoting sovereignty (fitting for one of the first governments created under the notion that the state itself is the sovereign). The crest above the helmet is a horse's head (the horse is also New Jersey's official state animal).

The supporting female figures are Liberty and Ceres (Roman goddess of grain - a symbol of abundance). Liberty carries the liberty cap on her staff and Ceres holds a cornucopia filled with harvested produce; they are supported by a banner that reads "Liberty and Prosperity" (New Jersey's state motto).
Source: State Symbols USA
 
The great seal of the state of New JerseyNew Jersey State Facts

Picture: state seal of New Jersey
State Capital Trenton
Nickname Garden State
Motto Liberty and Prosperity
Statehood December 18, 1787 (3rd)
Origin of Name Named for the Channel Island of Jersey in honor of Sir George Carteret, one of the two men to whom the land was given
Largest Cities Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth, Trenton
Border States Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania
Area 7,419 sq. mi., 46th largest
State Bird Eastern Goldfinch
State Flower Violet (viola sororia)
State Tree Red Oak (quercus borealis maxima)
State Song None
Map showing the location of New JerseyTravel and tourism site for New Jersey - This state travel and territorial tourism site provides ideas for your vacations, meetings, and more.
New Jersey Stories
 
The Marlboro Tree

How old do trees live to be? There is a black willow tree in Marlboro, New Jersey, that is more than 150 years old. It started growing before the Civil War. Not only is the Marlboro Tree old, but it's also huge. It's 76 feet tall and over 19 feet in circumference (the measurement around the trunk of the tree). Five adults would have to hold hands to fully encircle the trunk. The Marlboro Tree is the largest black willow in New Jersey and the largest tree in Marlboro. In fact, the New Jersey Forest Service has certified it as a "State Champion" because of its size.

Black willow trees usually grow along lakes and streams, where they help prevent erosion (the wearing away of soil by water). Black willows have blackish-colored bark and are known to have several trunks on one tree. The wood of the tree is light and flexible, so it is often used to make artificial limbs, wicker baskets and furniture.

The Marlboro Tree is also special because it grows in an area where many dinosaur fossils have been found. Because of its unique history, the town has made a special effort to preserve the Marlboro Tree for future generations to enjoy.
 
Clean Ocean Action's Beach Sweep

Have you ever been part of a volunteer clean-up crew, picking up litter or trash? If so, you know just how much garbage can collect on streets or in parks. In New Jersey there was another place that had a lot of litter -- the beaches.

By the 1980s, thanks to ocean dumpsites and runoff water, pollution was ruining New Jersey's beaches. Runoff water, which is often polluted, flows into streams and ends up in the ocean.

To help clean up New Jersey's polluted beaches, a group called Clean Ocean Action holds Beach Sweeps. One of the longest running cleanups in the world, the Beach Sweeps first started in 1985 at Sandy Hook with 75 volunteers. Today, volunteers of all ages "sweep" the beaches by picking up garbage and other debris and writing down what they collect. The list of litter provides information that is used to educate the public about the pollution problem.

Volunteers usually pick up plastic, glass, metal, wood, and styrofoam. They have also collected some unusual items from the beaches, such as a shopping cart, a microwave oven, a toilet, mattresses, Christmas decorations, and a wig! Keeping a list of items helps people realize that garbage can come back to us if we don't dispose of it properly.
 
Walking the Boardwalk in Atlantic City

Have you ever played Monopoly? Did you know that the game's most expensive property, Boardwalk, comes from an actual place in New Jersey, called Atlantic City?

The pleasant climate and beaches of Atlantic City had already made it a popular resort destination for New Yorkers by the time the first section of its famous boardwalk was constructed along the beach in 1870. Alexander Boardman, a railroad conductor, thought of the idea of constructing a boardwalk to keep sand out of the railroad cars and hotels. The city used its tax revenues to build an 8-foot-wide temporary wooden walkway, which could be taken down during the winter. The walkway was later extended and made permanent. The rolling chair, introduced in 1884, was the only vehicle allowed on the boardwalk. Guests could be rolled down the boardwalk while sitting down.
 
Liberty Science Center "Camp-Ins" Program

Why is this girl's hair standing on end? It is this way because of static electricity.
Everything is made up of millions of tiny particles, called atoms. Inside atoms are protons and electrons, which have positive and negative electric charges. When you rub two things together, some of the negative charges, or electrons, move from one surface to the other. The object that loses electrons becomes positively charged, and the one that gains electrons becomes negatively charged. Opposites (positive and negative) attract, so the objects pull together. This is static electricity.

Objects with the same charge push away from each other. When the girl in the photo touches the ball with static electricity inside it, it sends a static charge through her body and into each strand of hair. Because each strand has the same charge, the strands push away from each other, so her hair stands up. (This experiment was done in the safety of a museum; it is not something to try anyplace else.)

Experiments like these are best attempted in a museum. The girls in the photograph are visiting the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey. Several times a year, the center holds a "Camp-In," where groups of kids have fun with the science exhibits until late at night, and then they sleep over in the museum.
 
The Battle of Monmouth

Her name was Mary Hays McCauly, but she was better known as Molly Pitcher. Do you know who she was? Or how she got her name?

Mary Hays was the wife of William Hays, an artilleryman who fought in the Battle of Monmouth during the Revolutionary War.

The battle began as General Henry Clinton led his British forces from Philadelphia and started marching through New Jersey. On the morning of June 28, 1778, a scorching hot day, General George Washington ordered General Charles Lee to attack the British near Monmouth, New Jersey. The British and American armies fought all day in the intense heat.

Dodging the bullets was Mary Hays, who brought pitcher after pitcher of water to the thirsty troops. She also assisted the injured troops. When her husband fell in battle, she took his place at the cannon. This was the second time on an American battlefield that a woman had worked a cannon. (The first was Margaret Corbin during the defense of Fort Washington in 1776.)

For her heroic role, General Washington made her a noncommissioned officer. After that she was widely known as "Sergeant Molly." A sculpture on the battle monument commemorates her courageous efforts.
 
The Irish of the Fifth District

Leprechauns, shamrocks, St. Patrick's Day, and jigs -- these are the things we usually think of first when it comes to Irish traditions. But did you know that bagpipe bands are also a big part of Irish culture? The boy in the photo is part of the Bergen pipe band in Bergen County, New Jersey.

A pipe band is a traditional Scottish or Irish musical group of bagpipers and drummers. A bagpipe is a wind instrument that gets its air supply through a bag. Every member of a pipe band wears a kilt, a knee-length tartan, or plaid skirt, traditionally worn by Scottish or Irish men.

Pipe bands are a tradition for Irish Americans in New Jersey. The Irish are the second largest ethnic group in this state. Their ancestors came in large numbers, especially during the 19th century. Pipe bands are one way Irish Americans in New Jersey keep their culture alive.
 
The Still Family

You may not know it, but there is royalty in America. Although we don't honor royalty as people in other countries do, the Still family, which has been in New Jersey since the early 1600s, is descended from a Guinean prince from Africa. The prince and his people intermarried with the Lenape Indians, who lived in the area.

Before the Civil War, the Still family was active in the anti-slavery movement. At the time, many slaves in the South escaped through the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was made up of a network of people who secretly helped slaves escape to the Northern states or Canada. While many white Americans were a part of the Underground Railroad, free blacks gave the most assistance to runaway slaves. The Still family hometown, Lawnside, New Jersey, was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Two members of the Still family, William and James Still, were conductors -- people who helped out along the way.

In 1872 William Still wrote the classic book The Underground Railroad about the heroism of the runaway slaves, many of who stopped at his house on their way to freedom, and the people who helped them escape. If you want to learn more about the people on the Underground Railroad, this would be a good book to read.
Source: Library of Congress
National Monuments of New Jersey

The following is a description of national monuments in the state of New Jersey. There are no national forests or parks in this state. If you plan to visit or live in New Jersey for awhile then you should definitely plan to visit some of these fantastic places.
 
National Monuments
Statue of Liberty

This iconic statue, built in 1886 on Liberty Island and 151 feet (46 m) tall, commemorates the centennial of the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence and is a gesture of friendship from France to the U.S. Liberty Enlightening the World is a symbol of welcoming immigrants to the U.S. and is listed as a World Heritage Site. Ellis Island, where 12 million immigrants entering the U.S. passed through, is included in the monument. This national monument is also partially located in the state of New York.
 
Travel America
Cool America
About the U.S.A.

About the U.S.A. is an American Studies reader that examines the customs, government, and history of the United States of America. The text provides a wealth of information on U.S. geography and history; the roles of local, state, and federal government; national holidays and symbols; the Constitution; and citizenship. The book, which was written for intermediate to advanced learners of English, contains a range of activities for language students to practice listening, speaking, reading, and writing. (opens to a new PDF window) Great English reading practice.
About America

Learn about the fascinating history and government of the United States of America. Lessons include content on American Government, American History, and Integrated Civics. Handouts with interactive games and student-centered activities encompass all four language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Great English reading practice for beginning to intermediate students.
American Teens Talk!

Americans Teens Talk! is a collection of interviews of American high school students. Each interview is accompanied by vocabulary notes and discussion questions. The interviews in American Teens Talk! give learners a view into the lives of adolescents in the U.S. Through the written format of the interviews, learners are able to increase their vocabulary, practice their reading and listening skills, engage in discussions, and learn more about U.S. culture. These interviews come with audio programs. Great English listening and reading
Sing Out Loud Children's Songs

Sing Out Loud Children's Songs includes popular children's songs in the U.S.A. Posters accompany the individual Sing Out Loud Children's Songs. These songs come with audio programs. Great English listening and reading practice.
Sing Out Loud Traditional Songs

The Sing Out Loud Traditional Songs collection contains 13 traditional American folk songs and song lyrics. Listen to the songs online, read the lyrics, and collect the posters that accompany the songs. These songs come with audio programs. Great English listening and reading practice.
Sing Out Loud American Rhythms

Do you love music? Want to use it to learn English? Check out the hip-hop inspired song "Peace" from Sing Out Loud American Rhythms. American Rhythms includes a variety of musical genres from many different artists in the U.S.A. These songs will appeal to teens and young adults. These songs come with audio programs. Great English listening and reading practice.
Route 66 - Famous American Road

U.S. Route 66 (US 66 or Route 66), also known as the Will Rogers Highway, the Main Street of America or the Mother Road, was one of the original highways in the U.S. Highway System. The highway, which became one of the most famous roads in the United States, originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before ending in Santa Monica, California, near Los Angeles, covering a total of 2,448 miles (3,940 km). It was recognized in popular culture by both the hit song "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66" and the Route 66 television show in the 1960s.
Route 66: The Highway That's the Best
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Chicago: The Start of Route 66
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Going West for Decades on Route 66
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Arizona: The Spirit of Route 66
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Route 66 California: The End of the Trail
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Ten Must-See Route 66 Attractions
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Four Famous Foods On Route 66
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
International Tourists Drawn to Route 66
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Cool Stuff
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