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.

Sincerely,

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

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.

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).

FREE Fruit Trees for Camden Residents!

Attention, Camden residents! The NJ Tree Foundation is offering FREE fruit trees to any interested residents in Camden! We are currently offering peaches, pears, plums, and apples (species may change depending on availability of the plants). In order to receive a tree, fill out an application and return to Meredith no later than August 15th. You can email your application to mbrown@njtreefoundation.org, or mail to PO Box 1221, Camden, NJ 08105. You can also call to submit your application at 856-287-4488.  After your application is confirmed, you will need to attend a one-hour workshop on Saturday, September 9th. More information about the workshop will be made available closer to September. Hope to see you there!

Fruit Tree Revised Application 2017 (pdf)

 

 

FREE Right Tree Right Place Seminar in Newark’s Branch Brook Park

This seminar is closed. Thank you for your interest. We will have another Right Tree Right Place Seminar in south Jersey in the fall.

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, July 7th at the Cherry Blossom Welcome Center in Branch Brook Park, Newark, NJ. Please RSVP by Friday, June 30, 2017 to Lisa Simms 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 & staff, Environmental & Shade Tree Commissioners, County Officials and any other interested parties. Space is limited. First-come, first-served.

Date: Friday, July 7, 2017

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

Place: Cherry Blossom Welcome Center, Branch Brook Park Drive & Verona Avenue, Branch Brook Park, Newark, 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, is approved by the ISA for 3 (three) Arborist certification renewal credits and is worth 3 Public Works CEUs.

Please RSVP by Friday, June 30th to LSimms@njtreefoundation.org

If you would like send a representative(s), please include their names and contact information (email address).

NJ Tree Foundation Celebrates Opening Day for The Circuit

April 8, 2017Camden, NJ – Today, Saturday, April 8th, the NJ Tree Foundation is celebrating the official season opening of the Circuit and we ask you to join us! Did you know the Circuit is one of America’s largest trail networks and it runs through your backyard? There are several trails in Camden connecting to Philadelphia and beyond.

Spring is a great time to walk, jog, or bike #OnTheCircuit and admire blossoming trees. Over the past three years, the NJ Tree Foundation has planted over 100 new trees along the Circuit in Camden through our Trees for Trails project funded by the William Penn Foundation. Trees including Eastern redbuds, ornamental cherries, red maples, Princeton American elms, and zelkovas can be found gracing the trails, ready to be enjoyed by you! Use our “Trees Along the Camden Greenway” booklet as a Camden guide to find trees we planted along the Circuit and special Circuit destinations, like the old growth forest in Farnham Park. Visit the Circuit Trails Map to find existing, in progress, and planned trails throughout Camden and the greater Philadelphia region.

And, if you want to cross the bridge today, head over to Penn Treaty Park where there is an attempt to break the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title for the longest fist-bump relay! We’ll see you #OnTheCircuit this spring.

 

Volunteer Tree Planting Events Kick Off in Newark

April 7, 2017Newark, NJ – The NJ Tree Foundation kicks off its volunteer-led tree planting season today, Friday April 7th, with an event in Newark that will plant 39 trees at the Oliver Street School. Volunteers from the school and community will come together to plant seedless sweetgum, tree lilac, and hedge maple trees to beautify the school.

The NJ Tree Foundation will be joined by Senator Teresa Ruiz, Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor-Marin, Councilman Amador, Joseph Della Fave, Executive Director of the Ironbound Community Corporation, Dr. Douglas Petty, principal of Oliver St. School, Nathaly Agosto Filion of the City of Newark, and Charlie McKenna from the NJ School Development Authority. Program Director Elena López of the NJ Tree Foundation will lead a tree planting demonstration immediately following the speakers.

Elena López, from the NJ Tree Foundation, explains, “Planting trees together with the students, parents, and teachers at Oliver Street School makes the community unite with a sense of pride and ownership through this transformative project.”

After the trees are planted the school will assume responsibility for their care. School volunteers will water the trees weekly throughout the summer, with more students getting involved in the fall and beyond.

FREE Right Tree – Right Place Seminar

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, March 31st at the Hopewell Municipal Complex, 201 Washington Crossing-Pennington Road, Titusville, NJ.  Please RSVP by Friday, March 24, 2017 to Lisa Simms 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?
  • NEW! Hopewell Valley Arts Council ash tree re-use – Got Ash?

 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, March 31, 2017

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

Place: Hopewell Municipal Complex Auditorium, 201 Washington Crossing-Pennington Road, Titusville, 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 Friday, March 24th to LSimms@njtreefoundation.org If you would like send a representative(s), please include their names and contact information (email address).

Spring Core Training!

On Saturday, April 8, 2017 the NJ Forest Service Community Forestry Program, Rutgers Urban Forestry Propgram & the NJ Tree Foundation will offer Core Training! CORE training will familiarize individuals with the background of community forestry and shade tree commissions, the legal aspects of managing trees and the recognition of hazardous tree situations; to enable individuals to help municipalities and counties gain approved municipal status; and a discussion of tree inventory, planting and maintenance issues. Core training is for:

*Persons participating in Shade Tree Commissions, local tree boards, or groups designated by the Mayor as the responsible party for community trees

*Any municipal or county representative or employee charged with the mission of providing maintenance or stewardship to community trees

Download the CORE Flier for more information & to register. For more information or questions, please contact Pam Zipse, pam.zipse@rutgers.edu