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County Executive Brian M. Hughes, center, flanked by Aaron Watson, County DOT Director, left; and Chris Markley, DOT Supervisor, celebrate the County's new Tree City USA designation, with children visiting for Take Your Child to Work Day.

County Executive Brian M. Hughes, center, flanked by Aaron Watson, County DOT Director, left; and Chris Markley, DOT Supervisor, celebrate the County’s new Tree City USA designation, with children visiting for Take Your Child to Work Day.
TRENTON -- With the help of elementary school students visiting Mercer County Government Offices today for Take Your Child to Work Day, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes joined Aaron T. Watson, Director of the County Department of Transportation, and employees from the County Shade Tree Division, in planting a tree in recognition of Arbor Day on April 27, 2012, and in celebration of Mercer County officially being named a Tree City USA by the New Jersey Forest Service, a division of the Department of Environmental Protection.

During the tree planting ceremony, the children were asked about the benefits of trees, and they cited a variety of things, such as being a source of paper and providing oxygen.

The tree, an ivory silk lilac, is a specimen tree that flowers with eye-catching blooms in the spring and is covered in dark green foliage until fall. It was planted in a growing grove of other specimen trees on the grounds of the Department of Transportation yard in Ewing Township.

Hughes said he was pleased with Mercer’s new designation as a Tree City. “This is about showing that Mercer County is a great steward of the environment, and I’m so pleased we’ve been recognized by the state’s Forest Service for our ongoing efforts. To have the children share in this good news is equally important because they are learning through hands-on experience that they, too, have a vital role in protecting and preserving our environment.”

To qualify for the Tree City USA designation, a community must meet four standards established by the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters: a tree board or department; a tree care ordinance; a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita; and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

Mercer County will be recognized for its new Tree City USA designation at a ceremony April 27 in Haddon Township.
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