Celebrate Arbor Day as grant brings 64 new trees to South Orange

Photo Courtesy of Barbara Bour

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — New trees paid for by a grant from New Jersey Urban Community Forestry and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection will begin being planted throughout South Orange in late April, just in time for Arbor Day on Friday, April 30. 

The South Orange Environmental Commission and Green Team, which won the grant, will work with village government, the Department of Public Works and the NJUCF to place 64 new trees in locations including Clark Street, Cameron Park, the Duck Pond, Farrell Field Park, Floods Hill, Founders Park, Grove Park, Meadowlands Park, Spiotta Park and New Waterlands Park. 

The grant of $30,000 will pay for the purchase of trees and workers to plant them, as well as support and protective materials. The care and ongoing maintenance of the trees will be provided by the South Orange DPW and volunteers from the SOEC and Green Team, and local park conservancies.

If your neighborhood park isn’t on the list right now: Don’t worry, more trees are on the way. 

“Our goals are to overcome the existing deficit of trees in South Orange, greatly increase the variety of species, and establish a regular budget and plan to make that continue consistently,” SOAC Chairperson Bill Haskins said. “We need to plant many more trees in our parks and on our streets to make up for years of accrued losses from storms, disease and pests. We’d like to celebrate Arbor Day all of spring and every fall too.” 

Environmental Commissioner Barbara Bour pointed to the need for species variety as well. 

“There are many trees that people like but we need to go beyond the familiar to really expand the variety,” Bour said. “As we have unfortunately seen recently with the invasion of emerald ash borers devastating our ash trees, you can easily lose a significant percentage of your population if you have overplanted any single genus or species. Planning ahead 20 to 30 years, we also need to consider the effects of climate change and establish tree species that can survive increased storms, drought and heat.”

All of this concern and planning isn’t just about aesthetics; each municipal tree provides real value to the community in terms of storm water retention and filtration, ambient temperature moderation, carbon sequestration, and oxygen creation.

“Each tree is a down payment that pays it forward to future generations of villagers and we need to start investing now,” Haskins said.

For more information on the South Orange Environmental Commission and Green Team visit Facebook or Instagram @sogreenteam or https://sogreenteam.wordpress.com/.

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