Community Collaborative Initiative (CCI)

English Elm Tree
English Elm Tree

English Elm Tree, Perth Amboy

Being on the ground in Perth Amboy enabled CCI to become aware of the City’s fondest treasure – a 200-year-old English Elm tree planted at City Hall. This Witness Tree was over 40 years old when Perth Amboy resident Thomas Mundy Peterson walked under its boughs to become the first African American to vote in the United States, on March 31, 1870, one day after the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was enacted, granting African American men the right to vote. Recognizing the incredible significance of the tree and its failing health, CCI facilitated NJDEP’s collection and nurturing of the Elm’s clones at a shade tree nursery and ensured seeds from the tree were sent to the National Seed Repository in Fort Collins, Colorado.

CCI’s ability to connect critical State and Federal partners to the project will guarantee that the genetic heritage of this tree will live on to tell this important story in American History to future generations.

Click here to read NJDEP’s press release on preserving this historic tree.