State Plants 500 Trees in City of Newark
DEP & BPU Continue to Green New Jersey through Cool
An Urban Forest Energy Efficiency Initiative
(04/55) NEWARK - Advancing
Governor James E. McGreevey's initiative to create cleaner,
greener cities throughout New Jersey, Board of Public Utilities
(BPU) President Jeanne M. Fox and Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) Assistant Commissioner John S. Watson,
Jr. today joined Newark Mayor Sharpe James, local students
and the New Jersey Tree Foundation to plant the first of
500 shade trees in Newark.
The tree planting is part of Cool Cities, a statewide urban
forest energy-efficiency initiative that is the centerpiece
of Governor McGreevey's goal to plant 100,000 new trees
across the state.
"Newark is New Jersey's most populated city with only
13 percent tree cover," said DEP Assistant Commissioner
Watson. "Planting trees in urban areas such as Newark
reduces air pollution, lowers energy costs by cooling elevated
temperatures and improves the overall quality of life in
The DEP and the BPU launched Cool Cities last fall to green
New Jersey's large cities by planting trees to reduce the
demand for electricity and lower energy consumption. The
BPU's Clean Energy Program has committed $5 million in funding
for the Cool Cities initiative, planting 3,000 shade trees
in Paterson and Trenton last fall and the 500 trees in Newark
"Making New Jersey's cities greener and improving
the quality of life is the goal of Governor McGreevey's
Cool Cities initiative. Under the Governor's leadership,
the BPU has invested $5 million and along with the DEP,
is helping to plant 100,000 trees across the state,"
said Jeanne M. Fox, President of the BPU. "There is
an important correlation between trees, energy and air quality
- trees reduce the heat effect in cities, as well as in
our homes and buildings, which translates into saving energy
and lower energy costs. In addition, trees bring improved
air quality and aesthetic beauty to city dwellers."
The New Jersey Tree Foundation, volunteers and students
from the 13th Avenue School helped plant approximately 27
Willow Oaks and Chanticleer Callery Pear shade trees in
the area of the school between 8th and 9th Streets. The
remaining trees will be planted throughout the West, Central
and South wards of the city.
"We commend the Board of Public Utilities, the Department
of Environmental Protection, and our Department of Engineering
for teaming up to bring 500 trees to the streets of Newark,"
said city of Newark Major Sharpe James. "The James
administration has a long-standing commitment to the environment
and we have done so through innovative partnerships and
successful programs that have won Newark numerous awards.
But the true success is measured when our residents can
enjoy the clean air and shade that trees like these being
planted today will provide."
This summer, the DEP and the New Jersey Tree Foundation
will begin collecting data to measure the energy benefits
derived from the 3,000 trees planted in Trenton and Paterson
last fall. The data will enable them to predict future energy
savings as the trees continue to grow and shade the city.
This fall, the Cool Cities initiative will bring trees
to the cities of Elizabeth, Orange, Passaic and Union, as
well as additional trees to Paterson and Trenton.
Temperatures in urban settings are often five degrees above
surrounding suburbs and rural areas, which is referred to
as the "urban heat island" effect. This temperature
increase can cause health problems for many urban residents.
Hotter weather increases the incidence of heat exhaustion
and induces more asthma attacks. Further, higher temperatures
result in more expensive utility bills as residents run
their air conditioners longer. Trees can help lower these
urban temperatures by as much as six to 19 degrees.
In addition to providing shade from the sun, trees provide
oxygen and cool the air by emitting droplets of water that
draw heat as they evaporate, a process called "evapotranspiration."
Trees also absorb sound, prevent erosion and provide habitats
for birds and animals. Their leaves help improve air quality
by absorbing noxious gases and trapping particulate matter.
Trees also help filter and clean water supplies, and reduce
water runoff and flooding. Trees make towns more attractive
to business and tourism, transforming a neighborhood's appearance
and increasing home market value, as they bring nature closer
to where we live and work.