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!

 

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

Trees for 2017

To everyone who has donated – Thank you! We are so grateful for your support! If you have not already sent a gift, please join the dozens of folks who will help plant trees in 2017.

With your gift we can reforest city streets, plant trees in urban parks, provide fruit trees to community and backyard gardeners, supply city residents with tools and educational materials to maintain their trees, and more! There are a few hours left to make a tax-deductible donation in 2016. Please contribute.

With your help in 2016 we planted 1,322 trees, beautifying city streets and parks and improving neighborhoods across the state. We made lasting, happy memories with hundreds of volunteers and shared success and joy with people like Yvonne, Marion, and Kaushire. Please help us build on last year’s successes.

Trees beautify our communities, bring happiness to city residents, improve air and water quality, and offer habitat and food for our furry and feathered friends. You can make a difference with trees by donating to the NJ Tree Foundation today. Your support is greatly appreciated and will benefit New Jersey and its residents for years to come.

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Sincerely,
Lisa Simms
Executive Director
NJ Tree Foundation
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Green Jobs: “A haircut for trees”

Sometimes our Green Streets Program hires guys that really stand out. Kaushire, who worked with me this past spring and summer, is one of them.

Kaushire hauling soil

Our Green Streets Program trains men under parole supervision to plant trees and complete green infrastructure work, like installing rain gardens. Most of these men simply need a second chance. They got wrapped up in the wrong things and need a job to support themselves and their families in a respectable way. Kaushire was no different. He has a son to support. He made a few mistakes while trying to earn money. But now, he has turned his life around.

Kaushire worked with us until the end of July when our season wrapped up. A warehouse hired Kaushire for part-time employment right after he finished with us. I was happy when he told me recently the warehouse had hired him permanent full-time. He is such a hard worker! You might have seen him smiling and laughing while he was moving concrete or mulch, planting trees, or installing a rain garden in your town.

When asked about his time with the Tree Foundation, Kaushire says, “I’m lucky. My crew got to work from end of March to the end of July. We planted trees. Lots of them! We worked hard. I liked pruning the trees. It’s like a haircut for trees. I’m so blessed to work for the Tree Foundation. Best experience of my life.”

Please help us provide more green job opportunities for guys like Kaushire. There are only a few days left to make a tax-deductible donation in 2016. With your support, we can plant more trees and offer a stepping-stone for men who deserve a second chance.

Thank you,
James Cunningham aka “Famous James”donate-button-jpeg
Urban Forestry Technician & Green Streets Crew Supervisor
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Me, Karon, and Kaushire after planting a rain garden in Newark

Trees “Rise Up” in Camden

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Marion and her grandmother Shiela

I have met many wonderful people while planting trees in Camden over the past eight years, and 17-year-old Marion is one of them. She wasn’t even a teenager when I first met her. I’ve seen her grow up planting trees and tending gardens in one of America’s toughest cities.

In 2012, Marion and I planted a willow tree with her family and neighbors at a newly-established community garden. The lot was completely barren at the time, and we planted the willow in tough, abandoned soil. The tree, in Marion’s words, “turned a deserted lot into an oasis of peace and hope in Camden.” She sees the willow as a metaphor for life – that beauty can grow from hardship and that hope can inspire an entire community to “rise up.” Marion wrote a poem inspired by the tree. The beloved willow won a regional “Tree of the Year” award after Marion and her grandmother entered the poem and a picture of the willow in a 2016 contest.

“Our community members fight poverty every day, yet the willow tree remains a peaceful place in our community, helping our residents see the importance of our urban canopy,” Marion’s poem states. It ends, “The willow tree represents a place of peace and calmness as the birds chirp, butterflies fly and the branches cascade around you as if to give you a hug or maybe even protect you.”

The NJ Tree Foundation works year-round to transform urban communities by planting trees. Marion’s neighborhood is a testament to the impressive transformation that can occur from a single tree. I hope that you will support the NJ Tree Foundation in reaching our goal of raising $10,000 by the end of December. Together, we can make neighborhoods rise up with trees.

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Jessica Franzini
Senior Program Director
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Marion’s “Tree of Hope” when first planted in 2012…
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…and thriving in 2016

Admiring Tree Lined Streets

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I first met the residents of Montrose Street in Newark (pictured above) in June 2016. Before Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, they had magnificent 100-year-old oaks lining their street. After the storms, they lost all but three of their beloved trees. They told me the summers were significantly hotter without shade. The peaceful aura of nature was lost. The void left behind was evident.

The Montrose Street residents were overjoyed to begin working with the NJ Tree Foundation’s Renaissance Trees Program, which helps city residents like them plant trees to improve their environment and quality of life. I worked with the Montrose Street neighbors for months to plan their tree planting event.

On November 5th, each and every resident on Montrose Street helped plant 29 trees, with every single eligible household accepting one or two trees in front of their home! “Montrose Street was blessed with a fabulous tree planting day. We planted 29 trees and we are ready to do it again,” exclaimed Yvonne, who received two trees and helped organize the planting. She continued, “It was truly phenomenal. It really united our block under something positive.”montrose-street-3

Together, we planted beautiful ornamental cherries and Shantung maple trees that will grow along with the children and families of Montrose Street. The trees are being enjoyed today and will be enjoyed for generations to come.

Please make a contribution to the NJ Tree Foundation so we may continue to reforest New Jersey cities and replace what has been lost in devastating storms. Your support is greatly appreciated by the NJ Tree Foundation and New Jersey residents like those of Montrose Street, who truly adore their new trees.donate-button-jpeg

Thank you,

Elena, Renaissance Trees Program Director

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Yvonne and two of her neighbors with one of the 29 new trees.

Trees Thriving with Good Maintenance

“It’s amazing that you’re out here doing this work,” explained Egypt, a Camden resident, as the NJ Tree Foundation pruned dead-wood from her street tree. “The work is so good for our neighborhood. It makes the trees healthier and reminds the community how important tree care is. We all need to do our part.”

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This summer, the NJ Tree Foundation will do tree pit maintenance and dead-wood pruning on hundreds of street trees in North Camden, thanks to a partnership with Camden Lutheran Housing and a generous Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit grant.

To make this work possible, the NJ Tree Foundation added a new summer staff member  – Camden resident Michael Taylor, a graduate of the Camden PowerCorps program. “It’s exciting to hire from the PowerCorps work force. Mike is awesome, and he will be a great addition to our team,” says Jessica Franzini, Senior Program Director of the NJ Tree Foundation.

“Tree care may not be “sexy,” but it’s essential,” explains Lisa Simms, Executive Director of the NJ Tree Foundation. “It’s an integral part of good urban forest management.”

Want to hire the NJ Tree Foundation to work in your town? Please contact Lisa at lsimms@njtreefoundation.org.

NJ Tree Foundation Receives $60,000 Grant from MKM Foundation

June 6, 2016 – Camden, NJ – On June 6, 2016 the NJ Tree Foundation received a three-year, $60,000 grant from the MKM Foundation to plant trees in the City of Camden. This generous donation will be paid in $20,000 per year increments in June of 2016, 2017, and 2018. This funding will be used to beautify neighborhoods throughout the city. The MKM Foundation grant will support the NJ Tree Foundation’s Urban Airshed Reforestation Program, which works with Camden residents, schools, and community organizations to implement community-based tree-planting events.36th st

“This grant is very exciting for us, as it allows us to plant trees anywhere in Camden where there is a need,” explains NJ Tree Foundation Senior Program Director Jessica Franzini, “I have a waiting list of high-impact projects. Some of them have been on the waiting list for over a year and will now be implemented with the MKM Foundation funding.”

The NJ Tree Foundation’s Urban Airshed Reforestation Program has planted trees in Camden since 2002. So far, 6,076 trees have been planted. The MKM Foundation grant of $60,000 will allow many more Camden residents to receive trees over the next three years, increasing quality of life and contributing to a more livable city.

Pictured top left: New trees planted in 2016 line N. 36th Street in East Camden, taken by The Darling Light Photography

#NewarkGives: Thank you for your contributions!

May 4, 2016 – Newark, New Jersey –newark yay On Tuesday May 3rd, the Newark community and beyond united to celebrate Newark’s 350th anniversary by donating to the city they love. Newark Celebration 350 hosted the online giving event which raised funds for four legacy projects. The NJ Tree Foundation’s legacy project is planting 350 trees in Newark!

Thank you to everyone who contributed to our legacy project. #NewarkGives had so much interest that it broke the internet! The giving server crashed and donations could not be accepted for several hours. If you tried but were unable to donate to the legacy gift of planting 350 trees in Newark, please donate directly to the NJ Tree Foundation. Write “Newark350Gives” in the box that asks “Where do you want your donation to go?” Your contribution will help us leave a legacy of 350 new trees in Newark, trees that will be enjoyed by generations to come!