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news releases

April 25, 2008

Contact: Darlene Yuhas (609) 984-1795
Elaine Makatura (609) 292-2994



(08/28) TRENTON - The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Community Forestry Program, the New Jersey Community Forestry Council, and the New Jersey Tree Foundation today celebrated Arbor Day by planting 178 large shade trees and evergreens around the Heavenly Farms Recreational Complex and Cultural Center in East Brunswick.

“Trees are an essential element in our effort to combat global climate change,” DEP Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson said. “Planting trees helps remove carbon from the atmosphere and reduces greenhouse gases. Trees also improve air quality, lower energy costs and contribute significantly to the quality of life in New Jersey’s communities.”

More than 325 volunteers participated in the Arbor Day festivities by planting 178 shade trees and evergreens around the new cultural center at Heavenly Farms. More than 15 different species of trees were planted to begin an arboretum for future tree identification and training opportunities. The species include White Spruce, Douglass Fir, Red Oak, Bald Cypress, Sawtooth Oak, Scarlet Oak, Shingle Oak, Pin Oak, Valley Forge Elm, Sweetgum, Hedge Maple, October Glory Maple, Red Sunset Maple, Shadblow Serviceberry, and Kentucky Coffeetree.

The DEP presented Tree City USA awards to communities marking their 30th, 20th and 1st anniversaries and the prestigious Joyce Kilmer Award, which honors individuals who have demonstrated a strong commitment to New Jersey’s community forests. The DEP also recognized the 13 winners of the Arbor Day calendar contest for students.

Recipients of the Joyce Kilmer Award this year are Gregory M. Hurley, of East Brunswick, and William J. Porter, a Rumson resident. Both men were honored for their unwavering commitment to advancing urban and community forestry across New Jersey.

Hurley has served as city forester for both East Brunswick and New Brunswick, and also mentors youth groups on urban forestry. Porter is an arborist with his own company, located in Rumson. Both men also are members of the New Jersey Shade Tree Federation.

In recognition of its exemplary dedication to tree care and management, East Brunswick was chosen to host this year’s Arbor Day celebration. The municipality also reached a milestone this year; town officials received a 30th anniversary Tree City USA award, making East Brunswick only the fourth municipality to achieve this distinction. Merchantville Borough in Camden County also received the 30th anniversary Tree City USA award this year.

“The Township of East Brunswick and our residents appreciate being recognized as a Tree City for 30 consecutive years,” Mayor William P. Neary said. “It is also a befitting honor to be selected this year to host the statewide Tree City celebration on this property, which is our most recent park. This park was made possible through a combined effort utilizing Open Space funds from the State of New Jersey, Middlesex County and the Township of East Brunswick, which purchased this 147-acre property from the developer, who would have constructed hundreds of homes in this rural part our town.

“As you can see, we have only begun to make Heavenly Farms Sports and Cultural Arts Center a hub of activity for our residents. We appreciate your efforts today by planting 178 trees, which will not only add to the beauty of this park, but continues our commitment to the goals of being a Tree City USA,” Mayor Neary said.

Established in 1976, Tree City USA is sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.

Tree City USA awards recognize cities, counties and military bases that have developed a comprehensive tree management program. New Jersey leads the Northeast with 147 communities that have earned Tree City USA status for this year.

The New Jersey Forest Service’s Community Forestry Program facilitates the development of state-approved Community Forestry Management Plans in municipalities, counties and military bases across the Garden State. These plans prioritize a five-year schedule of community forestry management activities and work toward liability protection for the community.

The DEP has been promoting Arbor Day statewide since 1949, when the New Jersey Legislature designated the last Friday in April as the official day to honor trees and the people who take care of them.


30th Year Merchantville and East Brunswick
20th Year      Cranbury Township, Middlesex County
Interlaken Borough, Monmouth County
Pennington Borough, Mercer County
Riverton Borough, Burlington County
1st Year Riverdale Borough, Morris County
Norwood Borough, Bergen County
Oakland Borough, Bergen County
Rutherford Borough, Bergen County
Hanover Township, Morris County

Hundreds of pieces of original artwork were entered into this year’s statewide student Arbor Day calendar contest. Following are this year’s first-place winners:


Grade K Andrew Chen Cornerstone Christian School East Brunswick
Grade 1 Lucia Choi James Madison Primary School Edison
Grade 2 Stephen Kleczkowski Keil School Kinnelon
Grade 3 Anabelle Malamug Little Fish Art School Edison
Grade 4 Michelle Qiou James Madison Intermediate School Edison
Grade 5 Tiffany Jonassen Eleanor Van Gelder School Edgewater
Grade 6 Emily Lin John Adams Middle School Edison
Grade 7 Sofia Fernandez Ironbound Catholic Academy Clifton
Grade 8 Kimberly Hickson Patrick M. Villano School Emerson
Grade 9 Abdul Latif Passaic County Technical Institute Paterson
Grade 10 Emily Watts Moorestown Friends School Moorestown
Grade 11 Silvia Sarceno McNair Academic High School Jersey City
Grade 12 Rab Menguito McNair Academic High School Jersey City



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Last Updated: April 25, 2008