NJ Tree Foundation on Comcast Newsmakers

Jessica Franzini, Senior Program Director for the NJ Tree Foundation, spoke with Jill Horner of Comcast Newsmakers on September 23rd, 2015. Jessica talked to Jill about why we plant trees, work we completed over the summer with our Green Streets Crew in Camden, and exciting upcoming planting events, including an event in Gloucester City.

Enjoy the interview!

NJ Tree Foundation to plant trees across NJ

September 18, 2015New Jersey – The New Jersey Tree Foundation’s Renaissance Trees Program began its tree planting season on Thursday September 10th with a 20 tree event in Jersey City. The New Jersey Tree Foundation’s Urban Airshed Reforestation Program’s season will begin on Saturday, September 19th by planting 20 trees in North Camden. This fall, the New Jersey Tree Foundation will plant over 400 trees in urban communities with help from city newark students stomp tree pitresidents and volunteers.

“The goal of our Programs are two-fold,” explains NJ Tree Foundation Senior Program Director Jessica Franzini. “We seek to improve the local environment while empowering and uniting the community through tree planting. The work of our Programs revitalizes neighborhoods and city environments.”

The programs she speaks of are the NJ Tree Foundation’s Urban Airshed Reforestation Program and Renaissance Trees Program. The former plants trees in urban communities in southern New Jersey, mainly in Camden, while the later does the same in northern New Jersey, mainly in the City of Newark.

“The Renaissance Trees Program has worked in Newark since 2006 to plant more than 2,200 trees and the Urban Airshed Reforestation Program has planted 5,565 in Camden since 2002,” said NJ Tree Foundation Program Director Elena López. “Recently, we have begun to expand our work beyond Newark and Camden. Most cities in New Jersey lack a healthy tree canopy, so there is a lot of opportunity for us to help.”

475530_415205658503778_1368730904_oTrees 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 residents to relax outside 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.

“Any resident of Camden or Newark can apply to us to receive a free street tree,” Franzini explains, “And anyone that doesn’t mind getting dirty can help us by volunteering to plant trees. We plant rain or shine so sometimes it can get messy but it is always a lot of fun.”

During the fall of 2015, the New Jersey Tree Foundation will host nine planting events in Camden, five in Newark, two in Jersey City, and one in Gloucester City. Volunteers and media are invited to attend the planting events. Please RSVP in advance to Jessica Franzini for Camden/Gloucester City events, jfranzini.njtf@gmail.com or (856) 287-4488 and to Elena López, elopez@njtreefoundation.org or (609) 439-1755 for Newark/Jersey City events.

Events 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.

newark volunteers w tree

NJ Tree Foundation & Keep Jersey City Beautiful Receives $10,000 Grant from Lowe’s

874_resizedJersey City, NJ (September 9, 2015)– The NJ Tree Foundation and Keep Jersey City Beautiful announced that Lowe’s has awarded a $10,000 grant to help make Jersey City a clean, green and a more beautiful place to live. Tree planting to take place Thursday September 10, 9AM -12 noon in Columbia Park.

The Keep America Beautiful/Lowe’s grant provides funding for the Columbia Park reforestation project, to be completed on September 10, 2015 with the assistance of local Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteers. This project will plant perennials, shrubs, and 20 trees that are at least 10 feet tall in Columbia Park. Certified Tree Experts recently evaluated Columbia Park. This project will plant all of the new trees in the park’s Tree Maintenance Plan as recommended by the Certified Tree Experts. The project will also create five microhabitats, with shrubs and perennials surrounding trees to provide food and shelter for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife.

“We are thankful for the support from Keep America Beautiful/Lowe’s to implement this much needed project. Our trees suffered greatly during Hurricane Sandy and other extreme storms. This grant will allow us to plant new trees, shrubs, and perennials to bring more beauty into Columbia Park,” said Mr. Doug Carlucci, Aide to the Mayor. “We are fortunate to work with the NJ Tree Foundation to complete this work as they have over 15 years experience implementing similar projects,” Mr. Carlucci added.

“The NJ Tree Foundation is very excited for the Columbia Park project. Trees are an important resource as they mitigate air pollution and a20150909_095037_resizedbsorb stormwater to reduce flooding,” explained Elena López, Program Director for the NJ Tree Foundation.

The Columbia Park project grant is one of 50 merit-based grants awarded nationally by Lowe’s to community-based affiliates of Keep America Beautiful in support of grassroots service projects ranging from restoring neighborhood parks and planting community gardens to leading disaster restoration initiatives and large-scale cleanups.

“We take great pride in the work we do with Keep America Beautiful to improve the health of our communities,” said Joan Higginbotham, Lowe’s director of community relations. “We look forward to inspiring more people to join us so that we can continue to make our communities better places to live.”

Keep America Beautiful affiliates and partnering organizations received nearly 245 Lowe’s grants the past three years. Through this partnership, nearly 1 million flowers and bulbs have been planted; more than 225 playgrounds and recreational areas have been built or revitalized; and more than 1,000 community gardens have been planted.

Over the course of the partnership, Keep America Beautiful and Lowe’s have brought together more than 40,000 volunteers and 1,000 Lowe’s Heroes. Together, they’ve contributed 196,000 volunteer hours to improve their respective communities.

Lowe’s also provides support as a national sponsor of Keep America Beautiful’s flagship program, the Great American Cleanup, which takes place in 20,000 communities from coast to coast. This national program engages on average 4 million volunteers and participants who take action to create positive change and lasting impact.

Green Streets Crew revives North Camden trees

August 10, 2015Camden, NJ – Trees in North Camden are looking beautiful thanks to the New Jersey Tree Foundation’sGreen Streets Crew. The Crew, comprised of men under parole supervision, GS crew groupspent part of July and August weeding, mulching, and pruning trees block-by-block in North Camden. Their work is one component of a Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit (NRTC) grant awarded to Camden Lutheran Housing earlier this year.

“The NJ Tree Foundation has planted about 700 trees in North Camden through our Urban Airshed Reforestation Program, which provides free trees to Camden residents,” explains NJ Tree Foundation Senior Program Director Jessica Franzini. “As part of the sustainability of our Program, residents care for the trees we plant. Sometimes the care the trees need goes beyond resident capability. That is where the Green Streets Crew helped out this summer.”

The Green Streets Crew educated residents on what a properly maintained tree pit and tree should look like through weeding, mulching, and pruning. Green Streets is the contract-based arm of the NJ Tree Foundation. Its purpose is two-fold, first, to give ex-offenders an opportunity to learn a trade they can use after they leave prison, and second, to raise money for the NJ Tree Foundation’s inner-city free tree programs. Men on the Crew are trained in tree planting and maintenance from NJ Tree Foundation staff then given seasonal jobs to help themtransition back into society.

Trees with gator bagsCities and towns can hire Green Streets to conduct tree planting, tree maintenance, and other green infrastructure work such as creating rain gardens. The North Camden summer work through the NRTC grant extended the season for the Green Streets Crew, whose temporary positions usually end after tree planting contracts are complete in late May or early June.

“It was great to keep the guys on longer this year. We had a really good crew. They are proud of the work they accomplished in Camden. We want to do more projects like this in the future,” said James Cunningham, NJ Tree Foundation Green Streets Crew Supervisor.

Camden Lutheran Housing applied for the NRTC grant to support elements of North Camden’s neighborhood plan. Planting new trees and increasing the neighborhood’s capacity to care for existing trees are both goals of the neighborhood plan. Any NJ DCA NRTC approved neighborhood plan in the state of New Jersey could potentially apply for NRTC funding. If the approved plan includes tree planting or care, the NJ Tree Foundation is available to implement those elements of the plan.

“This was a great partnership,” Ms. Franzini said. “Trees make such a big difference in a city, both environmentally and socially. The work of the Green Streets Crew got residents excited about their trees again and brought pride into the neighborhood. Some of the tree pits were really overgrown and now they look so beautiful!”

This fall, the NJ Tree Foundation will be planting more trees in North Camden as part of Camden Lutheran Housing’s NRTC grant. Volunteers will be needed to help plant the trees. Check back on our Volunteer in Camden page if you would like to be involved!

Camden TreeKeepers Workshops (2015)


Learn how to care for your newly planted trees!

Attend the NJ Tree Foundation’s Camden TreeKeepers Workshop series to receive the training, skills, and tools needed to care for your neighborhood trees. Free tools, educational materials, and dinner are provided at each session. Attend all three sessions to become a Certified TreeKeeper.

All sessions are held at the CCMUA at 1645 Ferry Avenue, Camden, NJ.
** Please sign up in advance – limit 25 people per session. **


Session 1: “Tree Maintenance – the Works!”
Thursday, July 16th from 5:30-7:30pm
Free hand pruners & watering bag

Session 2: “My Tree & My Watershed”
Thursday, July 23rd from 5:30-7:30pm
Free water conservation kit & moisture meter

Session 3: “What Do You See When You Look at a Tree?”
Thursday, July 30th from 5:30-7:30pm
Free pruning saw & Trees of NJ book


Sessions are free to Camden residents, employees, or volunteers that care for Camden trees. Workshops are beneficial to those who have adopted or will be adopting trees through the Camden Urban Airshed Reforestation Program.


You must sign up in advance. Register for one or more workshops by contacting Jessica Franzini of the NJ Tree Foundation at (856) 287-4488 or jfranzini.njtf@gmail.com.


2015 Camden TreeKeepers workshops are brought to you by the Watershed Institute and will feature a new and exciting watershed focus.

Download our TreeKeepers Workshop Flier

NJ Tree Foundation plants trees along the Camden Greenway

May 2, 2015 – Camden, NJ – When a large volunteer group informed the NJ Tree Foundation they could no longer assist with a tree planting event along Erie Street in Camden today, Senior Program Director Jessica Franzini put out a call for help. And that is exactly what she received – as more than 50 people came together to plant 40 trees to beautify the Camden Greenway. Within the next week, 100+ shrubs will be added to today’s planting locations.

“I am so grateful for all the volunteers that are here today. TD Bank and Adventure Aquarium both sent large groups,” explained Franzini, “This planting is special because it is part of our Trees for Trails project funded by the William Penn Foundation. Through this project we are planting 75 trees and 200 shrubs/perennials along the Camden Greenway.”

The Camden Greenway is part of the Greater Philadelphia Regional Circuit Trail Network. When complete, the Circuit will have more than 750 miles of bicycle and pedestrian trails connecting Philadelphia to Camden and the surrounding region. As it stands about 300 miles of this trail network are completed.

The volunteers had a great time learning about the Camden Greenway while digging holes and planting trees. The new trees will create habitat for wildlife and assist with decreasing stormwater runoff. In preparation for today’s planting, 640 square feet of concrete were removed to make space for the trees. This will allow an estimated 30,000 gallons of stormwater to filter naturally on an annual basis, rather than ending up in Camden’s combined sewer system where it contributes to flooding.

“Today, we are trying to do two things. We want to increase the tree canopy in Camden to improve the city’s water and air quality,” Franzini remarked, “And we also want to connect local residents to the beautiful resource of the Camden Greenway. Put on your sneakers or get on your bike. Come out and enjoy the trees along the trail!”

To learn more about The Circuit and see its completed, under construction, and proposed trails, visit www.connectthecircuit.org/.

NJ Tree Foundation Celebrates Earth Day and Arbor Day

April 21, 2015New Jersey – With Earth Day and Arbor Day only two days apart, this is an exciting week. We hope you are able to get involved with a community greening, clean up, or other Earth-friendly event to celebrate.

Starting on Monday April 20th, the NJ Tree Foundation’s Green Streets Program is planting 630 trees and 170 shrubs and perennials in Madison, NJ. This large-scale project will help restore a 20-acre tract of land to it’s natural state. Madison has one of the only fresh water wetlands in New Jersey.

On Tuesday April 21st, New Jersey Tree Foundation staff are joining Camden City Mayor Redd and the Camden SMART Team to kick off Earth Week at the Yorkship School in Camden City. They are planting a downspout planter box with the students and giving out Environmental Hero Awards.

On Wednesday April 22nd, celebrate Earth Day!

On Friday April 24th, celebrate Arbor Day!

Wrapping up this week on Saturday April 25th the NJ Tree Foundation’s Newark Renaissance Trees Program and Camden Urban Airshed Reforestation Program are planting trees in Newark and Camden. The Newark event, in partnership with the Ironbound Community Corporation, will plant 12 trees to improve air and water quality. The Camden event is a Broadway beautification project that will plant 10 trees.

newark for earth:arbor day post


Enjoy celebrating Earth Day and Arbor Day. Come out to plant with us this spring as a NJ Tree Foundation volunteer!



NJ Tree Foundation, Campbell Soup Company plant fruit trees in Camden

April 16, 2015Camden, NJ – The spring weather was beautiful as Campbell Soup Company volunteers joined New Jersey Tree Foundation staff to plant 10 fruit trees at “The 600” Community Garden in Camden City on Wednesday April 15th. This planting, funded by the Campbell Soup Foundation, is part of a New Jersey TreeFoundation effort to bring more fresh fruit, and trees, into cities.

“The majority of Camden is considered a food desert,” explains NJ Tree Foundation Senior Program Director Jessica Franzini. “This means most low-income residents live more than one mile away from the closest grocery store. Without a car, that makes grocery shopping extremely difficult. Camden City has many thriving community gardens – we are working with them to bring fruit trees as another option for fresh food.”

The planting brought cherry, peach, pear, and plum trees to “The 600” Community Garden. Campbell Soup Company provided volunteers for the event as part of “Make A Difference Week,” Campbell’s annual week of service that began on Monday April 13th. Throughout the week nearly 3,000 Campbell Soup Company employees will volunteer for more than 90 community projects. “The 600” Campbell Soup MADWCommunity Garden planting had 15 volunteers including seven Campbell Soup employees from the Camden City world headquarters.

The volunteers had a great time digging holes, planting trees, and creating garden beds. One Campbell Soup employee volunteer explained how rewarding it was to “help get good food to the families.” The fruit trees are expected to bear fruit within one year.

The day’s events also included a fruit tree giveaway hosted by the New Jersey Tree Foundation. The giveaway provided an additional 32 fruit trees to community gardens throughout Camden City. Community gardens had to submit an application to receive the free trees, which came with planting and care instructions.

Camden SMART Forum: FREE Registration

Join the NJ Tree Foundation and the Camden SMART Team for the third annual Camden SMART Forum on Friday, March 20th from 9am-2:30pm!  Registration is free, food is provided, and the day will be action-packed with exhibitors, engaging panels, an amazing keynote speech, and Mayor Dana Redd’s Sustainability Address!

Camden SMART Forum InviteWho should attend the forum? Environmental leaders, community groups, non-profit organizations, green businesses, government officials, concerned citizens, and anyone else interested in solving flooding and stormwater management issues in their towns with green and grey infrastructure techniques.

Registration is free and can be done at www.camdensmart.com.