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Contact: Dana Loschiavo (609) 984-1423
Amy Cradic (609) 984-1795

DEP Recognizes Students and Local Tree Care Programs at State Arbor Day Celebration in Liberty State Park: Volunteers Plant 150 Trees to Commemorate September 11th Victims

(03/62) JERSEY CITY - The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today celebrated Arbor Day at Liberty State Park, Hudson County, recognizing recipients of Tree City USA awards, Conectiv and this year's winners of a state essay contest. More than 200 volunteers and tree experts planted 150 of 691 as part of a Grove of Remembrance, a symbolic representation of the New Jersey residents whose lives were taken on September 11, 2001.

"Arbor Day gives us the chance to reflect on the many benefits of the trees around us and their significance to the environment and our lives," said DEP Deputy Commissioner Joanna Dunn Samson. "This year's Arbor Day is marked by the Grove of Remembrance that will serve as a place of reflection and healing, and provide a shaded area of retreat for all park visitors."

During this year's Arbor Day ceremony a total of 15 Tree City USA Anniversary Awards were presented to 25th, 20th and 1st year communities participating in the Tree City USA program. (See end of release for full listing of award recipients.) Additionally, three military bases were honored for maintaining their Tree City USA status with a total of 32 years among them: McGuire Air Force Base, Naval Weapons Station Earle, and Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst.

Tree City USA began as a Bicentennial Project in 1976 and is sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters. Tree City USA recognizes cities, counties, and military bases that have developed a comprehensive tree management program, and promotes tree planting and tree care. New Jersey leads the northeast in the number of Tree Cities.

The DEP's prestigious Joyce Kilmer Award was presented to Conectiv, recognizing their outstanding service and dedication to New Jersey's community trees and forests.

A listing of the nine winners of the student Arbor Day essay writing contest is presented at the end of this release. Over 1,100 essays were entered in this year's statewide competition.

The 2003 New Jersey State Arbor Day Celebration with the Grove of Remembrance at Liberty State Park was made possible through the assistance and cooperation of many partners, supporters and volunteers. The Grove of Remembrance is located in an area of the park with a view of the Manhattan skyline.

Since 1949, the New Jersey Legislature has set aside the last Friday of April as Arbor Day to promote tree planting and encourage residents throughout the State to honor trees and the people who care for them.

In addition to celebrating Arbor Day, the DEP in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced results of two jointly sponsored studies that show trees can significantly cool urban areas that generate heat and clean the air by absorbing pollution. For more information about the studies, a press release entitled "URBAN STUDY CONFIRMS TREES ARE COOL" is available on the DEP web site at

Tree City USA Anniversary Awards for Arbor Day 2003

25th Year


East Brunswick Township


Middlesex County



Merchantville Borough


Camden County


20th Year


Clinton Township


Hunterdon County



Roseland Borough


Essex County


1st Year


Asbury Park City


Monmouth County



Bergenfield Borough


Bergen County



Bradley Beach Borough


Monmouth County



Brielle Borough


Monmouth County



Fair Lawn Borough


Bergen County



Upper Saddle River Borough


Bergen County


Military Bases That Have Sustained Their Tree City USA Status:

McGuire Air Force Base
Naval Weapons Station Earle
Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst


Statewide Student Arbor Day Essay Writing Contest: "What Trees Mean To Me"

Grades K through 4th

1st Place


Kennedy School, Succasunna


(2nd grader Emily Feld)


Mrs. Nancy Sekella

2nd Place


Saint Catherine's School, Spring Lake


(3rd grader Shannon Peropat)


Mrs. Maguire

3rd Place


Huber Street School, Secaucus


(2nd grader Robert Critelli)


Mrs. Leppin


Grades 5 through 8th

1st Place


Oratory Preparatory School, Summit


(7 th grader PJ Olsinski)


Mrs. Irene Crum

2nd Place


St. Stanislaus Kostka School, Sayreville


(7th grader Richard Rocha)


Mrs. Kathleen Pascarello

3rd Place


Bret Harte School, Cherry Hill


(5 th grader Cara Berkowitz)


Ms. McEvoy


Grades 9 through 12th

1st Place


Cherry Hill High School East, Cherry Hill


(12th grader Courtney Cox)


Ms. Elizabeth Mancini

2nd Place


Fort Lee High School, Fort Lee


(11th grader Theodora Guliadis)


Mr. John Donnangelo

3rd Place   Kittatinny Regional High School, Newton   (12th grader Nicole Woersching)   Mrs. Radulic



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