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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 14, 2005

 

Contact: Alescia Marie Teel
(609) 984-1795

 

DEP Commemorates Employee Service with a Tree Planting Ceremony
in Trenton’s Historic Mill Hill section

(05/99) TRENTON -- Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell and Mayor Douglas H. Palmer of Trenton today honored DEP employees for their years of public service with the first tree planting ceremony in the historic Mill Hill section of Trenton.

“New Jersey is proud of the steadfast commitment to public service by DEP employees and all state workers,” said Acting Governor Richard J. Codey. “We celebrate the dedication of our state DEP workers with this ceremony and appreciate their efforts to protect New Jersey’s environment.”

The innovative program offers employees an option to collectively plant trees in lieu of receiving a traditional award for their service. Employees with a minimum of ten years can participate in the Tree Initiative Service Award. Over 200 employee chose to support tree plantings to honor their years of service.

“I am proud to be part of the department’s first tree planting ceremony honoring the commitment of DEP employees to the environment and our capitol city,” said Commissioner Campbell. “The 27 trees planted in Mill Hill will provide shade and beauty for the city of Trenton and will stand as a testament to the spirit and dedication demonstrated by DEP employees each and every day.”

The 27 trees planted in Mill Hill Park include magnolias, white and pink-flowering yellowwoods, lindens, hawthornes and river birches.

The Mill Hill Park section of Trenton is a historic location encompassing the city's first settlement site founded in 1679. The history of Mill Hill also includes the Second battle of Trenton, in which General George Washington led the Continental Army against General Cornwalls and the British and Hessian forces.

The gift of planting trees in downtown Trenton supports the Department’s Cool Cities Initiative, to improve the quality of life in New Jersey’s cities and older suburbs by planting shade trees to promote better health with lower temperatures, while combating global warming.

“The environmental benefits of lowering energy costs, improving air quality, and beautifying the city should make tree planting a major emphasis for all cities,” said Mayor Palmer. “Thanks to our collaboration with DEP, we already have planted close to 1,000 trees in Trenton just this past year. One of the most impressive things about today’s effort is the commitment to Trenton that has been expressed by DEP employees. We are deeply appreciative - they have made a tremendous statement about what is valuable.”

Temperatures in urban settings are often five degrees higher than surrounding suburbs and rural areas, which is referred to as the "urban heat island" effect. As temperatures increase city residents often experience an increase in incidences of heat exhaustion and asthma attacks. Also, higher temperatures result in more expensive utility bills due to residents’ longer use of air conditioning. Trees can help to 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." The benefits of trees include their ability to absorb sound and provide habitats for birds and animals. Their leaves help improve air quality by absorbing noxious gases and trapping particulate matter. Furthermore, trees prevent erosion by helping to filter and clean water supplies, and reduce runoff and flooding.

Planting trees can transform an urban neighborhood’s appearance and even increase market value, as nature becomes part of the communities where New Jersey residents live and work.

For additional information on DEP tree planting initiatives visit http://www.state.nj.us/dep/seeds/treefnd.htm

 

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