Posted Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016
TREE PLANTINGS, AWARDS PRESENTATIONS HIGHLIGHT ARBOR DAY EVENT AT VETERANS MEMORIAL PARK
The State Forestry Services within the Department of Environmental Protection joined Parsippany and the N.J. Community Forestry Council to celebrate Arbor Day 2016 with ceremonial tree plantings and a special awards recognition ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park.
Parsippany was selected to host New Jersey’s Arbor Day event on Friday in honor of its 40th consecutive year as a Tree City USA and to celebrate the town’s accomplishments in working to develop a sustainable urban forest canopy.
“Working with great partners such as Parsippany and other communities across the state helps to foster growth of healthy trees, which improves the quality of life for all New Jerseyans now and for generations to come,” said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin.
“The Morris County Board of Freeholders congratulates Parsippany for 40 years of Tree City designation – an amazing environmental accomplishment – and thanks the town officials, volunteers, students, and residents for their great efforts to make this town, our county and our state a better place to live,” said Morris County Freeholder Tom Mastrangelo, in a resolution presented to the town.
Parsippany and Paramus, in Bergen County, were inaugural participants in the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA program at its inception in 1976. Today, New Jersey has 156 communities active in the Tree City USA program, which is a national effort to help communities manage and increase its number of trees, according to the Arbor Day Foundation.
To commemorate Arbor Day, one eastern white pine, Pinus strobus, whose origins are from seeds flown on the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997 and provided by the NJ State Forest Nursery in Jackson, and one American elm, Ulmus americana ‘Princeton’, were planted in the park to honor Parsippany’s accomplishment.
“Arbor Day provides every New Jerseyan with a fresh opportunity to reflect on the beauty of New Jersey’s protected open spaces and the trees which provide shelter, shade and enjoyment for residents and visitors,” said Richard Boornazian, Assistant Commissioner of Natural and Historic Resources. “As these new trees grow and thrive, we will continue to strive to protect and care for these precious resources so that they can be enjoyed and appreciated for many generations to come.”
In 1949, the State Legislature officially designated the last Friday in April as Arbor Day to honor trees and the people who take care of them. New Jersey has a great diversity of tree species which has helped grow the state’s forestry inventory as well as add to the lush landscapes throughout the Garden State.
“Many people would be surprised to learn that New Jersey, the most densely populated state in the Union, is 42 percent forested,” said State Forest Services Director John Sacco. “Trees have been and remain a remarkable resource in this state and our country, which residents and visitors enjoy every day.”
During Friday’s ceremony, the DEP presented the prestigious Joyce Kilmer Award for outstanding contributions to community forests to Joseph Jannarone, who was Parsippany’s forester and began the township’s participation in the Tree City USA program.
In addition, awards were presented to 16 municipalities and one County for their participation in the 2015 Tree City USA program.
First-time award recipient communities: Little Falls and Woodbury.
10-year award recipients: Hamilton Township (Mercer), Linden, Millstone Township, Red Bank, Woodcliff Lake and Monmouth County.
20-year award recipients: Belvidere, Bridgewater, Lawrence Township (Mercer), Princeton and Wenonah.
30-year award recipients: Piscataway and Toms River Township.
40-year award recipients: Paramus and Parsippany-Troy Hills Township.
In addition to Arbor Day activities to celebrate New Jersey’s trees, an ongoing tree seedlings distribution campaign continues statewide through May 15.
The New Jersey Tree Recovery Campaign, a partnership between the DEP’s State Forest Service and the non-profit Arbor Day Foundation, is distributing some 102,000 free tree seedlings to New Jersey residents at 148 locations across the state.