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RELEASE: 4/27/01
CONTACT: Sharon A. Southard or Amy Collings
609-984-1795 or 609-292-2994


Tree City USA Logo During the state’s 52nd Arbor Day celebration at Manalapan Arboretum, State Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Shinn joined hundreds of school children and residents in a day-long celebration and awards ceremony recognizing the importance of trees and community forestry programs.

Shinn announced the winners of several statewide Arbor Day contests and Tree City USA awards (see below) and participated in a tree planting ceremony commemorating the 27th of April as Arbor Day.

Acting Governor Donald T. DiFrancesco in a statement said, "At the Manalapan Arboretum, we can see proof of exactly what can happen when a community works together to accomplish a goal. After 10 years of hard work, the dream of building an arboretum has finally come to pass for the community. And the theme of the Arboretum—plant a living legacy—helps promote the message that trees are an integral part of every community's infrastructure to be planted when young, observed through growth and cherished in age."

Recently, Manalapan Township's Arboretum received a $10,000 DEP tree planting grant adding rare cultivars to the Arboretum. Shinn presided over the planting of 25 trees at the Arboretum in honor of Arbor Day and the 25th Anniversary of Tree City USA. The Arboretum will have an extensive variety of woody plants being cultivated for scientific, educational, and ornamental purposes.

"Arbor Day gives us the chance to recognize the outstanding efforts and programs of places like Manalapan. The arboretum is the culmination of years of planning by the Shade Tree Committee with the support of township officials, and we salute their efforts," said Shinn. "Arbor Day also gives us a chance to reflect upon the many benefits of trees including the reduction of noise, the beautification of neighborhoods, and the improvement of local air quality through the absorption of pollutants, the interception of particulate matter and the reduction of air temperatures."

During the Arbor Day awards ceremony, the prestigious Joyce Kilmer award was presented to Louise Lang of the Manalapan Shade Tree Committee and to Assemblyman George F. Geist of Camden County by New Jersey Community Forestry Council Chairman David Shaw and member Roni Olizi. The award is reserved for individuals who have demonstrated strong commitment to New Jersey's forestry program. Last year DiFrancesco received the award. DiFrancesco has been a leading supporter of the state's tree resources and community forestry program. He has provided $900,000 in state funds for tree planting throughout New Jersey’s municipalities resulting in thousands of trees being planted throughout the Garden State.

Shinn praised the student contest winners and entrants calling them future stewards of community forests.

"The students here today are taking part in this living legacy. Their artwork shows that they have already acquired a great passion for New Jersey's Green Future, and its an honor for me to recognize them today for their interest, creativity and artistic demonstrations of New Jersey’s community forests," Shinn said.

Additionally, Shinn commended the state’s 115 TREE CITY USA Communities in New Jersey celebrating Arbor Day, saying their excellent management of tree resources has resulted in New Jersey leading the Northeast in the number of recognized Tree City USA Communities. He noted two of the original 42 communities that began the program in 1976—Paramus and Parsippany-Troy Hills—are celebrating their 25th consecutive year of participating in TREE CITY USA.

The Arbor Day celebration marked the 52nd celebration of Arbor Day, which was first designated a holiday by the state Legislature in 1949.

Partners in this year’s event include the Manalapan Board of Education, Manalapan Shade Tree Committee, Monmouth County Shade Tree Commission, National Arbor Day Foundation, New Jersey Community Forestry Council, New Jersey Community Forestry Program, New Jersey DEP, New Jersey Shade Tree Federation, New Jersey Tree Foundation, Township of Manalapan, and the USDA Forest Service.

DEP has established a Community Forestry Program to help counties and municipalities develop activities to foster the care and growth of community trees. It also has a Forest Resource Education Center in Jackson Township which offers tours and educational programs for students and adults. The center includes more than 400 acres of forest, 3 1/2 miles of nature trails and the ABC Arboretum, a living tree classroom where all the trees are arranged in alphabetical order.

Additionally, the department is carrying out a new federal program, the Urban Forestry Demonstration Project, to promote the "greening" of cities through tree plantings and long-term planning. The state also offers a license plate, "Treasure Our Trees," which is available from any motor vehicle agency or by calling 1-888-486-3339. Monies from the sale of these special plates fund tree-planting projects statewide.

NOTE: Listed below are the winners of the Tree City USA program and student winners of the 2000 Arbor Day contests. The Tree City USA program is designed to recognize those communities that effectively manage their public tree resources and to encourage community tree management.

Tree City USA 25th Year Awards

Paramus Borough, Bergen County
Parsippany-Troy Hill Township, Morris County

New Tree City USA Municipalities – 2000

Bloomfield Township, Essex County
Chatham Borough, Morris County
Chesterfield Township, Burlington County
Closter Township, Bergen County
East Windsor Township, Mercer County
Fair Haven Borough, Monmouth County
Franklin Township, Somerset County
Haddon Heights Borough, Camden County
Ho-Ho-Kus Borough, Bergen County
River Edge Borough, Bergen County

Tree City USA Growth Awards – 2000

Allendale Borough, Bergen County
Atlantic Highlands Borough, Monmouth County
Belvidere Town, Warren County
Cedar Grove Township, Essex County
Clifton City, Passaic County
Englewood Cliffs, Bergen County
Lakewood Township, Ocean County
Leonia Borough, Bergen County
Monroe Township, Gloucester County
Moorestown Township, Burlington County
Paramus Borough, Bergen County
Pennsauken Township, Camden County
Ramsey Borough, Bergen County
Secaucus Town, Hudson County
South Brunswick Township, Middlesex County
Stafford Township, Ocean County
Stratford Borough, Camden County
Washington Borough, Warren County

Tree City USA 20th Year Awards

Atlantic Highlands Borough, Monmouth County
Cape May City, Cape May County
Englewood Cliffs, Bergen County
Freehold Township, Monmouth County
Lakewood Township, Ocean County
Wayne Township, Passaic County

NJ Arbor Day Thank You Card Contests

Grades K through 3 – Hand drawn art

1st Place: Mathew McDuffie
St. Elizabeth of Hungary School, Scotch Plains

2nd Place: Willy Yam
St. Stephen's Campus of Perth Amboy Catholic

3rd Place: Mary Catherine Amato
St. Joseph Grade School, Toms River

Grades 4 through 8 – Computer graphics

1st Place: Andrew Pascuale
Immaculate Conception School, Secaucus

2nd Place: Ben Latini
Southampton Township Schools, Vincentown

3rd Place: Erin Lordy
Fountain Woods School, Burlington

Grades 9 through 12 – Photography

1st Place: Kristen Roche
Holy Family Academy, Bayonne

2nd Place: Ray Willer & Michael Dawson
ECLC, Chatham

3rd Place: Rachel Williams
Stuart Country Day School, Pennington


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