36 Comunities Honored
DEP'S SHINN PRESENTS TREE CITY USA AWARDS AT ARBOR DAY
you ever wondered about those silver and green signs along the road proclaiming
a Tree City USA? Noticed that white flag with the little tree on it you
have seen flying just under the Stars and Stripes in front of Town Hall?
These are just a few of the ways cities, counties, and military bases
have been recognized by the Tree City USA organization for maintaining
a comprehensive tree management program.
Recognizing the tremendous commitment toward managing tree resources
in the Garden St ate, State Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob
Shinn today presented 18 Tree City USA Anniversary awards during the state's
52nd Arbor Day fete at the Manalapan Arboretum.
In a prepared statement, Acting Governor Donald T. DiFrancesco commended
Paramus and Parsippany-Troy Hills on their 25th year asTree City USA participants.
The communities represented New Jersey on the original list of 42 cities
that began Tree City USA in 1976.
"Both communities have good reason to be proud of their accomplishments,"
said DiFrancesco. "In order to maintain a high quality of life in New
Jersey, it's critical for everyone to continue working on tree planting
projects such as those that we are recognizing and celebrating today."
Shinn noted that through special legislation and a DEP grant program towns
like Manalapan and 80 others will be planting more than 5,000 additional
trees across the state this spring. 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 municipal tree planting resulting in thousands
of trees being planted throughout New Jersey.
"I am proud to be supporting such efforts and hope that future projects
such as these will continue," said DiFrancesco. "Our vision of a perfect
community forest in New Jersey is to sustain trees in cities and communities
by linking together professional support, funding and planning with advocacy,
volunteer planting and effective maintenance. We must provide for a viable
and healthy urban and community forest and maximize the benefit received
from trees for communities and their residents."
Shinn said, "These Tree City USA awards gives us the chance to recognize
the outstanding efforts and programs of municipalities and cities. All
of these events give us the opportunity to revitalize New Jersey's tree
resources and harness the positive effect trees have on our communities'
vitality, livability and economic and environmental welfare."
Shinn praised the Manalapan Arboretum as a good example of hard work
which paid off. "The Arboretum provides a place of natural beauty for
the community and a peaceful place to escape from daily pressures," said
Shinn, noting that 25 trees were planted today in the arboretum in honor
of Arbor Day, and the 25th Anniversary of Tree City USA.
Eighteen New Jersey Tree City USA communities have earned Growth Awards
this year by maintaining their forestry budget and accruing 10 or more
points from a list of 40 Growth Award eligible activities. The activity
categories range from education and public relations to tree planting/maintenance,
forming new partnerships, and improved management. Each completed activity
is worth two to eight points.
Tree City USA began as a Bicentennial project sponsored by the National
Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters.
In addition to recognizing outstanding community forestry programs, it
also promotes tree planting and tree care activities in parks and along
streets and boulevards. Nationwide there are more than 2,600 Tree Cities
with at least one in every state. NJ leads the Northeast in Tree Cities
with 115 officially recognized.
The four required standards for Tree City USA qualification are (1) an
established tree board or tree department; (2) a community tree ordinance;
(3) a community forestry program with an annual budget of $2 per capita;
and (4) and an annual Arbor Day observance with a proclamation.
The NJ Forest Service's Community Forestry Program regularly supplies
information and support to communities that are interested in becoming
Tree Cities. For example, they offer copies of sample ordinances and proclamations
that towns may personalize to fit local conditions. The budget needn't
be a barrier either. It may include volunteer time at $14.83 per hour
or any combination of items from a page-long list of options.
The status of Tree City USA is maintained by remaining in compliance
with the four standards and by filing a simple annual report. The report
of the Community Forestry Program, with a work plan and a budget, can
be as straightforward as an outline. The Arbor Day Proclamation and evidence
of the observance would complete this package.
For more information on urban and community forestry, upcoming grant
opportunities, or how you can help your community become a Tree City USA,
contact the NJ Community Forestry Program at (609) 292-2532 or visit www.state.nj.us/dep/forestry/community
on the web.