NJ Tree Foundation Turns 20!

Happy 2018 to all! 

2018 marks a big year in the NJ Tree Foundation’s calendar; we will be celebrating our 20th anniversary throughout the year! To commemorate 20 years of planting trees, we will be sharing videos throughout the year highlighting our successes. Help join us in the celebration by posting your tree story on social media with the hashtag #NJTrees20 .

2017 Recap

What a year at the NJ Tree Foundation! Here are highlights from our 2017 accomplishments, including the planting of 3,664 trees thanks to the help of over 1,300 volunteers. Thank you for being a part of our success! We are looking forward to partnering with you in 2018. If you love these photos and want to contribute to our success in 2018, please donate. Happy New Year, tree family!

These children hug one of the 285 trees planted by nearly 500 volunteers by the Urban Airshed Reforestation Program. These kids were volunteering at our first ever community-based planting in Gloucester City made possible by a grant from the David and Marilyn Krupnick Foundation.
Pruning workshops leave the residents happy and educated, and the trees happy and healthy.
James & the Green Streets crew weeded and mulched several rain gardens and green infrastructure projects (including trees!) throughout the state. This is a beautiful after picture of Urban Promise in Camden
68 trees were given to 22 residents as part of our fruit tree giveaway! The residents will plant these trees in their backyards, schools, or community gardens. A total of 134 trees will be given out by the end of this project. This program was made possible by a grant from the Campbell’s Soup Foundation.
84 volunteers planted 44 trees planting at Coopers Poynt Waterfront Park in North Camden! Jean Kehner was honored during the planting by civic and community group leaders alike for her years of service to the city of Camden. Meredith, Jess, Bob, and Beth celebrate together.
Our Green Streets crew & NJTF staff planted 1,300 perennials and grasses to enhance a floodplain area in Woodbridge with Rutgers Cooperative Extension folks.
NJTF board member Jay Kaplan discussing trees and storms at one of our Right Tree Right Place seminars in Hopewell.
Arbor Day was a success. Nine new trees were planted in enhanced tree pits at Camden Day Nursery School followed by a beautiful ceremony held in partnership with the city and the state!
Here’s a shot of happy volunteers in Newark at one of four #TDTreeDays this October throughout New Jersey!
Our Famous James of all trades, and Green Streets Supervisor was honored by the state with a Green Communities Achievement Award. This award honors those who have greatly contributed to the world of forestry in New Jersey.
Meredith joined our staff this year as our Urban Airshed Reforestation Program Coordinator. We’re so glad to have her in our tree family!
40,000 trees giveaway with TreeCycler
Our Renaissance Trees Program had a successful year planting 311 trees with help from over 832 happy volunteers in North Jersey
In June we conducted our annual TreeKeepers educational workshops. 7 Camden residents and 20 Newark residents participated in our workshops this year.
This spring we were able to plant 15 trees in Paterson through a grant from Valley National Bank. Featured here are Jerry Flach (middle) from Valley National Bank and Paterson lover, planting with a Green Club member and colleague.


Trees & Second Chances

Carlos and I planting a tree in Ridgefield, NJ.

I met Carlos in the fall of 2008. He was coming off a stint in state prison and was in Logan Hall, a halfway house in Newark. I was struck by his good attitude and quirky sense of humor. I hired him to work for our Green Streets Program, where we train and pay men under parole supervision to plant trees and construct green infrastructure projects. After a few weeks of planting trees together, Carlos nicknamed me Master Ip after Bruce Lee’s trainer.

Occasionally while working for us a crewman will break a rule at Logan Hall and be pulled off our crew permanently. I hired Carlos to fill in three times when this happened in 2009, 2011, and 2012. Carlos was always the first person I called to step in. He is a reliable, conscientious employee who works above and beyond what is asked of him. I was happy to give him more work opportunities.

After working for us, Carlos was employed full-time for two years. His supervisor thought very highly of Carlos and offered him a permanent position. But the higher-ups said no due to his past record. This is such a common experience for anyone with a criminal history.

I got to work with Carlos again in the spring of 2017 when we hired him as Assistant to the Crew Supervisor (me!) He stepped right into the position, showing leadership skills and teaching the new men how to plant trees the right way. Carlos stayed on through the summer as we built, planted, and maintained rain gardens and our 9/11 Grove of Remembrance. Since no new employment had come up for Carlos, we kept him on through the fall tree planting season. Carlos applied for a new job as our season ended and I hope he gets it.

The temporary jobs we provide through Green Streets combine paid, hands-on work and job skill development to assist parolees in transitioning back into their communities. Your donations help us plant trees and give second chances to men like Carlos. Your support of our work is greatly appreciated.


James Cunningham
Green Streets Crew Supervisor & Urban Forestry Technician
NJ Tree Foundation

New Trees, More Shade!

Brother Saleem at the planting event.

The Masjidun-Nur Islamic Learning Center in the Parkside neighborhood of the City of Camden sits just below the PATCO speedline. On one side of Mechanic Street there are trees which bring shade and beauty to the neighborhood while reducing noise and air pollution from the speedline. On the other side, where the Masjidun-Nur Islamic Learning Center is located, there were few trees, and the street was too hot.

Brother Saleem Muwwakkil had a vision for his Islamic Center. He wanted to plant trees to increase shade and use the trees as an outdoor classroom for their children’s program.  This year, Brother Saleem approached the NJ Tree Foundation with an application for trees. His project was one of the first plantings that I took on as the new Program Coordinator for the Urban Airshed Reforestation Program. In the months leading up to the planting, Brother Saleem and I worked together to bring his vision to life. The Center was like a blank canvas! We chose to plant trees of varying heights and types, flowering and non flowering, along the street and inside the Center’s lot.

On October 7th, we had 58 dedicated volunteers from businesses, schools, and fellow nonprofits help plant 23 trees on Mechanic Street. Redbuds, little leaf lindens, and American elms were planted to provide shade and beauty. Brother Saleem is so grateful for his new trees and is eager to see how the trees will look years from now, with “Plenty of shade in the streets.”

Projects such as this are not possible without your support. Please help us continue to plant trees in the City of Camden and other South Jersey cities in need by making a donation to the NJ Tree Foundation today. We thank you for your support if you have already donated this year.


Meredith Brown
Urban Airshed Reforestation Program Coordinator

NJ Tree Foundation

Mechanic Street before the planting.
Mechanic Street after the planting!

Two Teachers + Three Schools = TREEmendous Impact

Ms. Hannemann & Ms. Gray

I first met teachers Ms. Monika Hannemann and Ms. Monikk Gray in 2013 when Ms. Hannemann applied for trees at Weequahic High School in Newark. Ms. Hannemann and Ms. Gray were instrumental in turning a once barren Chancellor Avenue into a shady tree-lined street. The Weequahic High School planting event had a significant impact on their students, the neighborhood, and the women themselves.

When Ms. Gray was transferred to Barringer High School she saw a new need for trees. In September 2015 the NJ Tree Foundation planted 13 trees around the high school and surrounding streets, with local residents adopting trees as well. Students, the Vice Principal, and the Barringer Football Team, swung picks and dug holes to plant trees that Saturday. The story continues, as Ms. Hanneman was also transferred to a new school in Newark.
Barringer Football Team athletes and Vice Principal Abbaleo planting a tree together.

When Ms. Hannemann began teaching at University High School, she saw a need for trees there too. In the spring of 2017, we planted 15 trees with students to line the front facade of their school and the back courtyard. As Principal Mendez mentioned, the hedge maples, ginkgos, and tree lilacs “will grow alongside the students who planted them.”

It is incredibly inspiring to work alongside passionate teachers and young adults who are thrilled to help green their neighborhoods. At the most recent planting at University High School, Ms. Hannemann described the importance of planting trees with youth. “I love interacting with students outside of a traditional classroom setting, working towards a common goal. Some students who do not excel as much in the classroom stood out as leaders at this tree planting, she explained with a look of pride.

This beautiful history of greening Newark’s schools and connecting urban youth to trees is only possible with your donations. Please help us continue to inspire youth and adults alike while making our cities greener by donating to the NJ Tree Foundation this December.

Thank you,
Elena López
Renaissance Trees Program Director, NJ Tree Foundation
University High School students laugh as they begin spreading mulch and pulling it two inches away from the trunk of this newly planted tree.

NJ Tree Foundation Celebrates #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday is a holiday for being generous. Please celebrate with us this year! Your donation to the NJ Tree Foundation will help us plant more trees in 2018, bringing shade and beauty to New Jersey cities with low tree canopy coverage. Your donation will help us train and employ men under parole supervision, giving them an opportunity to learn green industry job skills as they re-enter society. Your donation will help us improve the environment and quality of life for New Jersey residents, making our state better one tree at a time.

If you are participating in #GivingTuesday, feel free to post a picture with our customized #UNselfie template and tell others why you are supporting the NJ Tree Foundation!


FREE Fruit Tree Farmers Meet & Greet and Organic Pest Management Workshop!

Calling all Camden Fruit Tree Farmers! On Wednesday, November 8th, the NJ Tree Foundation and the Philadelphia Orchard Project (POP) will host a free workshop on organic pest management for urban fruit tree orchards. This is a great way to meet fellow urban fruit tree farmers and learn how to organically treat for pests and diseases.

Robyn Mello from POP will give a lecture on common diseases and pests that can be found in this area on fruit trees. Robyn has been the Orchard Director for POP since 2014. She has extensive knowledge of urban agriculture and environmental justice issues.  We are excited to have her present and share her knowledge!

This workshop is FREE for Camden residents-recent fruit tree recipients are strongly encouraged to attend! Refreshments will be provided and attendees are encouraged to bring a dish from home, potluck style. This workshop is made possible by the Campbell’s Soup Foundation.

When: Wednesday, November 8th, from 6-8pm

Where: Riletta L. Cream library-852 Ferry Ave, Camden

To RSVP, please call Meredith at 856-287-4488 or email mbrown@njtreefoundation.org.


Right Tree Right Place Seminar, Edgewater Park, Burlington County

Still need CEUs for your NJ Community Forestry Management Plan? The New Jersey Tree Foundation and Public Service Electric & Gas are offering a FREE seminar on planting the Right Tree in the Right Place, the Right Way on Friday, November 3rd, at the Edgewater Park Municipal Building.  Please RSVP by Wednesday, November 1, 2017 to Lisa: LSimms@NJTreeFoundation.org

Topics include:

  • Emerald Ash Borer – It’s here! The latest news on this bad bug.
  • Planting the right tree, in the right place, the right way – Green end up.
  • The importance of utility mark-outs prior to planting – Do you smell gas?
  • Vegetation management policies to ensure the safe and reliable delivery of electric service – Who turned off the lights?

 Who should attend? Mayors, Freeholders, DPW Supervisors, Environmental & Shade Tree Commissioners, County Officials and any other interested parties. Space is limited. First-come, first-served.

Date: Friday, November 3, 2017

Time: Registration begins at 8:00 am. Program starts promptly at 8:30 am and runs until 12:30 pm.

Place: Edgewater Park Municipal Building, 400 Delanco Road, Edgewater Park, NJ

A continental breakfast will be served.

This seminar is worth three (3) Continuing Education Units for towns with a 5-year Community Forestry Management Plan. “Right-Tree, Right-Place” is approved by the ISA for 3 (three) Arborist certification renewal credits and for 3 Public Works CEUs.

Please RSVP by Wednesday, November 1st to LSimms@njtreefoundation.org If you would like send a representative(s), please include their names and contact information (email address).

NJ Tree Foundation to Host Four TD Tree Days Events

NJ Tree Foundation Selected to Partner with TD Tree Days to Enhance Urban Forest and the Community by Planting Trees in Four New Jersey Cities

October 1, 2017 – Jackson, NJTD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, has selected the NJ Tree Foundation to participate in TD Tree Days, a community-based program that expands urban forests and green spaces in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods. Staff and volunteers of the NJ Tree Foundation will join local employees of TD Bank to plant a total of 225 trees throughout four New Jersey cities. On October 11th, 35 trees will be planted at Freedom Village in Westhampton. On October 13th, 35 trees will be planted at Weequahic Park in Newark. On October 25th and 27th, respectively, 80 and 75 trees will be planted at Washington Park in Jersey City and Judge Robert Johnson Park in Camden.

We‘re proud to partner with the NJ Tree Foundation during TD Tree Days to nurture the community and the environment from the ground up,” said Joseph Doolan, TD Bank’s Head of Environmental Affairs. “Trees do much more than beautify our communities – they produce oxygen; improve air quality and slow climate change by reducing carbon emissions, airborne pollutants and smog; provide cooling shade to reduce energy costs; and enhance the quality of life.”

Now in its seventh year, TD Tree Days will bring together more than 1,000 community members and TD employees from September through early November to plant approximately 850 trees in 21 communities across the United States. TD Tree Days will be managed with support from The Arbor Day Foundation. Founded in 2010, the program has made a significant positive impact for communities and the environment as TD’s flagship volunteer and urban greening program, planting more than 285,000 trees and shrubs, primarily in Canada and the U.S.

The NJ Tree Foundation is one of 18 organizations in the United States that was chosen to participate in TD Tree Days through an application process.We are very excited to implement these high-impact TD Tree Days projects. The new trees planted will provide shade, beauty, and wildlife habitat, as well as improve the environment overall in New Jersey, explained Lisa Simms, Executive Director for the NJ Tree Foundation. She continued, “Trees are especially needed in our urban areas, where they remove pollutants from the air and reduce problematic stormwater runoff.”

In addition to Camden, Jersey City, Newark, and Westhampton, NJ, TD Tree Days events are scheduled in these communities this fall: Delray Beach, Miami and Tampa, Florida; Mattapan, Massachusetts; Auburn, Maine; Detroit, Michigan; Asheville and Wilmington, North Carolina; the Bronx and Brooklyn, New York; Chester and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Warwick, Rhode Island; Columbia and Greenville, South Carolina; and Alexandria, Virginia.

Follow TD Tree Days on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TDBank_US #TDTreeDays and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TDBank.

About NJ Tree Foundation

The NJ Tree Foundation is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to planting trees in New Jersey’s most underserved neighborhoods, where the need is greatest. Through tree planting, volunteerism, and partnerships, the NJ Tree Foundation assists numerous communities in improving their environment and quality of life. Since its inception in 1998, the NJ Tree Foundation has planted 204,360 trees across the state. Learn more at www.njtreefoundation.org.

About TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®

TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, is one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S., providing more than 9 million customers with a full range of retail, small business and commercial banking products and services at more than 1,200 convenient locations throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Metro D.C., the Carolinas and Florida. In addition, TD Bank and its subsidiaries offer customized private banking and wealth management services through TD Wealth®, and vehicle financing and dealer commercial services through TD Auto Finance. TD Bank is headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J. To learn more, visit www.tdbank.com. Find TD Bank on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TDBank and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TDBank_US.

TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, is a member of TD Bank Group and a subsidiary of The Toronto-Dominion Bank of Toronto, Canada, a top 10 financial services company in North America. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges under the ticker symbol “TD”. To learn more, visit www.td.com.