NJ Tree Foundation Named Beneficiary of Newark 350 Gives!

April 22, 2016 – Newark, New Jersey – Mark your calendars to donate to Newark 350 Gives on Tuesday May 3rd – your donation will help to plant 350 trees in Newark to celebrate Newark’s 350th anniversary!

boylan street newarkThe NJ Tree Foundation is honored to be a beneficiary of Newark 350 Gives, which is seeking to raise $350,000 for nonprofits accomplishing amazing work in Newark.  Newark 350 Gives is part of Newark Celebration 350, a year-long jubilee of events and festivities commemorating the 350th anniversary of Newark’s founding. The NJ Tree Foundation will use money raised through Newark 350 Gives to plant 350 trees in Newark over four seasons, beginning fall 2016. Leave a legacy in Newark by contributing to planting trees! Your donation will benefit generations of Newark residents and visitors as the trees thrive for years to come.

Newark 350 Gives launches its giving on Tuesday, May 3rd, but you can give now too!

NJ Tree Foundation Plants 6,000th Tree in Camden, Beautifies Circuit Trail

April 18, 2016Camden, New Jersey – The NJ Tree Foundation’s Urban Airshed Reforestation Program just hit a milestone in Camden this spring: planting its 6,000th tree. The nonprofit organization began planting trees with help from Camden residents in 2002. The NJ Tree Foundation were joined by Camden Mayor Dana Redd and local partners to celebrate the planting of 6,000th tree on Saturday April 16th. Mayor Redd presented the NJ Tree Foundation with a Proclamation honoring the milestone.

“We are thrilled to plant our 6,000th tree in Camden,” explains Jessica Franzini, NJ Tree Foundation Program Director. “We have seen Camden streets transform as we planted trees. The neighbors come together to plant, they take care of the trees together, and then enjoy the beauty that is brought to their house by the trees.”

Saturday’s event planted 30 large trees (each over 10 feet tall) along N. 36th Street to compliment the regional Circuit Trails. The planting was organized by the NJ Tree Foundation in partnership with the students and staff at Urban Promise Academy. Camden residents and community organizations will adopt and care for the cherry blossoms, black gums, and tree lilacs. Volunteers dug holes and planted trees from 9am-12pm. There was also a pop-up bike clinic taking place during the event with Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, promoting use of the Circuit Trails.

The NJ Tree Foundation has funding from the William Penn Foundation to beautify the Circuit Trails with hundreds of trees and shrubs over the course of two years. The Circuit is a network of bicycle and pedestrian trails connecting people to jobs, communities, and parks in the Greater Philadelphia Region. When completed, the Circuit will have approximately 750 miles of trail, with 50% of the region’s population living within one mile of the trail network. 300 miles of trail are open for use today, several of which run through Camden, providing a connection to the waterfront and beyond.

As of Saturday, more than 6,000 trees have been planted in Camden since 2002, but the NJ Tree Foundation says there is still more to be done. “Camden’s tree canopy remains lower than what is recommended for a healthy city. Trees remove pollutants from the air and groundwater, so tree canopy coverage helps improve the health of local residents,” Franzini added, “We estimate it will take thousands more trees to reach Camden’s tree canopy goal of 25%, but we know we are making a difference with every tree we plant. The residents certainly agree.”

 Check out photos of the event, taken by The Darling Light Photography.

IMG_7669Jessica of the NJTF with Mayor Redd and Councilman Fuentes, Camden

NJ Tree Foundation and volunteers to plant trees this Spring!

April 8, 2016New Jersey – This spring, the NJ Tree Foundation will plant over 200 trees in urban communities with help from city residents and community volunteers.

Trees are an important part of a city’s infrastructure. They assist with stormwater management and improve air and water quality. They also offer a number of social benefits. Trees provide shade for people to sit outside on the sidewalk in front of their homes, add beauty and nature to cities, increase property values, and some tree species provide fresh fruit. The NJ Tree Foundation has seen trees unite neighbors as its community-based tree planting events are initiated by local residents who also care for the trees after they are planted.

“Any resident of Camden or Newark can apply to us to receive a free street tree,” Franzini explains, “We plant in other cities of need, such as Gloucester City and Jersey City, as our funding allows. Anyone that doesn’t mind getting dirty can help us by volunteering to plant trees. We plant rain or shine. It is always a lot of fun.”

During spring 2016, the NJ Tree Foundation will host six community-based planting events in Camden, five in Newark, and one in Bayonne. The media is invited to attend all events. While many volunteers are still needed, some events are full and cannot accept additional volunteer groups. Please check our volunteer pages for more information and RSVP in advance to Jessica Franzini for Camden events, jfranzini@njtreefoundation.org or (856) 287-4488 and to Elena López, elopez@njtreefoundation.org or (609) 439-1755 for Newark/Bayonne events.

11265123_10153499822273273_437537869514375131_nEvents are held rain or shine. Come dressed for the weather in clothes suitable for getting dirty and wear closed-toe shoes. The NJ Tree Foundation will provide all tools needed for planting. A meeting location and directions will be provided upon RSVP. See you on the street!

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NJ Tree Foundation Green Streets Program Celebrates 10 Years

New Jersey, March 29, 2016 – The NJ Tree Foundation is celebrating the 10 year anniversary of our Green Streets Program this week as Green Streets kicks off their spring tree planting season.

Green Streets operates as the for-profit arm of the NJ Tree Foundation to increase recurring income for our nonprofit programs. Through our nonprofit programs, we plant trees in cities of need and educate the public about urban forestry. Through Green Streets, we train and hire men under parole supervision to plant and maintain trees through contracts.

Cities and towns throughout New Jersey are positively impacted by Green Streets as the Program provides high quality, affordable tree planting and green infrastructure installations. But the people most impacted by the Green Streets Program are the crewmembers hired.

The men hired for Green Streets are trying to get back on their feet. This is difficult to accomplish with a criminal record and little to no work experience. But the NJ Tree Foundation prepares the men for work with a landscaping company, tree trimming service, urban forestry crew, or other similar green industry position. The men immediately put their training to use planting trees and installing rain gardens with the NJ Tree Foundation, while earning an income that can support them as they transition back into society.

In its 10-year history, Green Streets has employed almost 80 men. Rafael, a 2013 Green Streets graduate, explained how the Program impacted him, “I’ve learned so many things that I actually thought myself to be a professional. For the first time in my life it felt good doing something I loved doing. Thank you to the NJ Tree Foundation for giving me the chance no one else would.”

John, another Green Streets graduate, checked in with the NJ Tree Foundation and told them, “I am doing good, the best I’ve ever done in my life – going to meetings, church, helping others. I have a foundation and am strong in my space. The NJ Tree Foundation was the best program I ever worked for. It helped me in so many ways. The best thing is that I set up my own bank account and saved my money, something I couldn’t do when I was on the streets.”

The NJ Tree Foundation believes that Green Streets has seen 10 years of success for simple reasons. Lisa Simms, NJ Tree Foundation Executive Director, explains, “We treat them with respect. They work hard and do the job well. Our Crew Supervisor is a Green Streets graduate. Not only can he sympathize with where these guys are coming from, but he also serves as an inspiration for where they can go.”

The NJ Tree Foundation’s Green Streets Program has run in the same pickup truck since it started in 2006. The truck has done a great job but it is ready to retire. Please make a donation help Green Streets get a new truck for next season so that the Program can continue to green our state and provide opportunities for men trying to get back on their feet.

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The new crew in training: digging a tree pit and removing the wire basket from the root ball.

 

NJ Tree Foundation on Comcast Newsmakers: 3/16/16

NJ Tree Foundation Senior Program Director Jessica Franzini spoke with Jill Horner of Comcast Newsmakers on March 16, 2016. They talked about our exciting spring projects in Camden including a fruit tree giveaway and beautifying the Circuit Trail Network, as well as our role maintaining Camden’s urban forest. Please enjoy the video!

NJ Tree Foundation Thanks 2015 Partners

The NJ Tree Foundation is starting strong in 2016 thanks to our 2015 partners and supporters. We are so appreciative of everyone who donated to our Annual Appeal. In the end we were just short of our $10,000 goal. Thank you to everyone who helped us start strong in 2016 by donating!

We would like to thank Ground Swell, Inc., who recently completed an email migration to put the NJ Tree Foundation staff email on Google Apps. This important switch brings us into the cloud, keeping our records safe from computer crashes and improving our connectivity.

Ground SwellGround Swell logo w QRCode is a managed service provider headquartered in Egg Harbor City, NJ. They are a small business providing locally outsourced IT for other small and medium-sized businesses across New Jersey. If your business is losing time and money to IT issues we recommend contacting Ground Swell to see how they can help you improve your infrastructure and move your business forward. The in-kind services Ground Swell provided the NJ Tree Foundation saved us enough money to purchase 25 trees at least ten feet tall!

“The NJ Tree Foundation had a great experience working with Ground Swell. They focused on what would improve our organization’s IT, which ultimately was a cloud-based system since we work from multiple places,” explains Lisa Simms, Executive Director of the NJ Tree Foundation. “Not only did they do a great job with our email migration, they were also friendly and easy to work with.”

Additionally, the NJ Tree Foundation was awarded several grants in December 2015, helping us start 2016 strong. These include:

– The Watershed Institute, Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association grant of $9,500. This funding will be used to provide TreeKeepers workshops in Camden and Newark, as well as create and print new tree care booklets for all tree recipients, increasing public knowledge of trees as green infrastructure and the public’s ability to care for street trees.

– Campbell Soup Foundation grant of $25,000. This funding will be used in the City of Camden to plant 50 new fruit trees through a volunteer planting event and fruit tree giveaway. Fruit trees will increase public access to fresh, affordable produce and improve quality of life.

– Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation grant of $20,000. This general support funding for the NJ Tree Foundation will help the organization with all projects in 2016.

– The Victoria Foundation grant of $15,000. This funding will allow the NJ Tree Foundation’s Renaissance Trees Program to remove concrete and plant trees in the Ironbound Neighborhood in the City of Newark, increasing the tree canopy and improving watershed health.

The NJ Tree Foundation would also like to thank its major in-kind supporters in 2015, including: City of Camden, City of Jersey City, City of Newark, MAFCO Worldwide Corporation, Spruce Goose Farm, Smith’s Ace Hardware, and United Water Camden.

Here’s to another great year, improving New Jersey’s tree canopy one tree at a time!

Turning Mean Streets Into Green Streets

crew treeOur Green Streets program hires ex-offenders to plant trees across New Jersey. The Crew learn skills that will help them obtain and maintain employment, reducing their chances of going back to prison.

Ishmell’s story: “Working with the Tree Foundation was a very good learning experience. I learned things that will stay with me throughout my life. Trees are a very important part of the environment. I loved meeting new people and learning that so many are willing to plant and save trees. This experience is something I will never forget. My eyes will forever be open.”

Ishmell wasn’t the only Crew member who had a great season. Danny, who worked for Green Streets for two seasons, said, “I was really motivated seeing the hundreds of trees we planted last year looking good and healthy. I felt love from people who were happy to see us in their communities planting more trees.”

Men in this program are shown love and respect and taught skills that can lead to a promising career that will help them achieve a higher standard of living. Green Streets provides this for men who need it most, giving them hope for a better life.

We are hours away from December 31st and meeting our goal of raising $10,000. Please make a contribution today so we can continue to inspire hope through trees in 2016. Thank you to everyone who has already donated! Happiest New Year wishes to all.

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Fruit Trees Grow in Camden

The NJ Tree Foundation works with urban youth each year to inspire the next generation of environmentalists by planting trees! We started planting fruit trees in the City of Camden in 2012. Fruit trees bring fresh, local food to families across Camden and now produce over 100 pounds of fruit annually! The youth of Camden love them.

At the Ferry Avenue orchard, teenage farmers eat pears and plums directly from the treesDSC_0851 as they ripen. “[Our teens] were able to taste different kinds of fruit. Pears were a first time for many of our students,” explains Dean of the Center for Environmental Transformation, who owns and maintains the Ferry Avenue Orchard.

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At the Cooper Sprouts Garden, grandparents and grandchildren are coming together to harvest peaches and pears. “I never knew I had such a green thumb!” explains Marian Roberts, 14-years old.

The Lakeshore Drive Community Garden’s plums are yielding the highest fruit counts for our program. “If it weren’t for the NJ Tree Foundation, I wouldn’t know how to take care of these trees and grow my own fruit,” explains Joseph Travis, lead gardener.

A contribution to the NJ Tree Foundation can help provide more peaches, plums, pears, and other fruit trees to community gardeners. Thank you to those who have already donated! You can help us reach our goal of raising $10,000 this December by donating today. It will make all the difference.

Do trees need umbrellas?

Last May, our Renaissance Trees Program planted fifteen new shade trees at the Quitman Street Community School, New Salem Baptist Church, and along their connecting streets.quitman kids

When the truck pulled up with the large trees, Reverend White of the New Salem Baptist Church was intimidated. The trees stood taller than him! He was so pleased with the outcome as students, teachers, residents, and the church’s youth group dug holes to transform the area with a variety of beautiful trees.

That day, the students learned the importance of being urban forestry stewards. This meant protecting their trees from harm and feeding their trees 20 gallons of water each week. The students enthusiastically agreed to this new responsibility! Over the weekend it rained heavily. A teacher received a text message from a concerned fifth grader, “Do we need to go put umbrellas over the trees so they don’t drown?” The student was assured that rain was good for the trees, and the trees would be happy when the students returned to school on Monday.

The NJ Tree Foundation is seeking to raise $10,000 by December 31st so we can continue important urban forestry work, including cultivating the next generation of tree stewards! Will you please donate today to help us reach our goal?

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Post your #UNselfie before #GivingTuesday

November 18, 2015 – New Jersey –Thanksgiving is one week away. The giving season is right around the corner! This is an important time for nonprofits to raise money to support meaningful work throughout the year. We know there are a lot of great causes out there and we know we can count on you to support the New Jersey Tree Foundation!

 

Do you love our fruit tree plantings, or reforestation of city streets and parks? Have you seen the amazing work our Green Streets Crew has accomplished all over New Jersey? If so, please tell others why you will support the New Jersey Tree Foundation on the international day of giving back, #GivingTuesday, December 1st, 2015.

Take a picture with this photo or post it to your social media. Use the hashtag #UNselfie and tell all your followers why you are donating to the New Jersey Tree Foundation this giving season!

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Pictured above: Reforesting Camden City. Photo by A Darling Light Photography.