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 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.

 

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

NJ Tree Foundation hosts 60-fruit tree giveaway in Camden

May 11, 2016, Camden, NJfruit tree 1The rain on Saturday May 7th did not stop 22 community and backyard gardeners from picking up 60 fruit trees from the NJ Tree Foundation. Pear, apple, plum, and apricot trees were disbursed to be planted throughout Camden as part of a grant the NJ Tree Foundation received from the Campbell Soup Foundation.

“Camden residents have limited options to obtain affordable, fresh produce within city limits. This project is creating new food access points for residents while empowering them to grow their own food,” said Jessica Franzini, Senior Program Director for the NJ Tree Foundation. Franzini led the giveaway on Saturday. She taught gardeners about fruit tree planting and care and provided tools, mulch, and educational materials to each garden so they could properly care for their trees. Franzini noted, “I will keep in touch with the gardeners over the summer and we will have a Harvest Party in the fall to share lessons from the season. Some gardeners have never grown fruit before. We want them to have a positive experience.”

The event was held at the Vietnamese Community Garden in East Camden, which received six fruit trees. Lan Dinh of VietLead, who works in the garden, explained, “This is an intergenerational and multiracial garden of Vietnamese elders and youth of various backgrounds and ethnicities. Our new fruit trees, which include Asian pears, apples, and apricots, will offer diversity to our garden and help feed the families who rely on this garden for fresh food.”

fruit tree 3Most gardens received one to three fruit trees. The Yorkship School obtained the most, with 15 teachers taking 10 fruit trees for their school garden. The teachers planted the trees in the afternoon after picking them up in the morning with help from Pacesetters of South Jersey. Students will care for the trees and enjoy the fruit. The Yorkship School is registered with Sustainable Jersey for Schools and two of their teachers completed free NJ Tree Foundation tree care workshops to become Certified TreeKeepers.

Pastor Odessa Edmond, of the Whitman Park neighborhood, picked up two fruit trees. “Our church waited two years for our fruit trees. The families at our church will benefit from this harvest for years to come,” the Pastor explained.

In total, 22 community and backyard gardens benefited from the project in neighborhoods such as East Camden, Cramer Hill, North Camden, Lanning Square, Morgan Village, Whitman Park, and Cooper Grant. All fruit trees were gone by early afternoon but that did not stop more Camden residents from coming to see how they could get a fruit tree.

Franzini mentioned, “The NJ Tree Foundation had a waiting list for fruit trees before this event and now we have another one. We hope to hold an event like this next spring, as it was such a success.”

All tree species provided are semi-dwarfing, self-pollinating trees from HopeWell Nursery in Bridgeton. The NJ Tree Foundation and nursery staff worked together to pick species that will survive well in urban environments. The NJ Tree Foundation thanks the Campbell Soup Foundation for their support which made this event possible.

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#NewarkGives: Help the NJ Tree Foundation plant 350 trees!

social-image-1x1May 3, 2016 – Newark, NJ – The Newark 350 Gives giving day is here! The NJ Tree Foundation and Newark community unite today, Tuesday May 3rd, for a special 24-hour online giving campaign in celebration of Newark’s 350th anniversary. Your donation will help us plant 350 trees in Newark! Any donation large or small will help.

Today, Newark 350 Gives hopes to raise $350,000 in only 24 hours to fund five Legacy Gifts, projects of historical, community, arts and educational significance, that will live beyond this historic milestone year and instill civic pride and connection for generations to come! The NJ Tree Foundation’s legacy gift is planting 350 trees in Newark. Imagine: 50 or more years from now, someone will enjoy a tree that YOU helped plant by making a donation. That is quite a legacy!

Please donate and spread the word to other tree-lovers in your life. Together, we can make a $350,000 impact!

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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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FREE Right Tree Right Place Workshop! – Registration is closed.

Registration for this seminar is closed. We have reached capacity. Thank you for your interest! There will be more of these seminars in the coming months.

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 25th at the Edison PSE&G Training CenterPlease RSVP by Friday, March 18, 2016 to Lisa Simms LSimms@NJTreeFoundation.org

Topics include:

  • Planting the right tree, in the right place, the right way
  • The importance of utility mark-outs prior to planting
  • Emerald Ash Borer – It’s here!
  • Vegetation management policies to ensure the safe and reliable delivery of electric service
  • Grant opportunities

 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 25, 2016

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

Place: PSEG Edison Training & Development Center, 234 Pierson Ave., Room 254, Edison, NJ 08837

A continental breakfast will be served.

This seminar is worth 3 Continuing Education Units for towns with a 5-year Community Forestry Management Plan.

Please RSVP by Friday, March 18 to LSimms@njtreefoundation.org

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

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Volunteers Plant 500 New Trees in NJ Cities

CroppedThe NJ Tree Foundation’s community-based volunteer projects were a success this fall! Across the state, over 600 volunteers helped plant 560 trees in NJ’s most urban communities, where the need is the greatest. “Where else can you participate in the transformation of an entire city block in three hours?” explains long-time volunteer Anita. “Volunteering with the NJ Tree Foundation has been one of my life’s greatest experiences.”

We are proud to share with you the many communities that benefited from our volunteer-based projects this fall!

Renaissance Trees Program Projects
Columbia Park, Jersey City: 20 trees
Parker Street and Barringer Academy, Newark: 14 trees
S. 30th Street, Newark: 60 trees
Varick Street, Jersey City: 15 trees
Great Commission Ministry Church, Newark: 13 trees
West Side Park, Newark: 20 trees
Clifton Avenue, Newark: 20 trees
S. Charles and Ferry Streets, Newark: 14 trees

Urban Airshed Reforestation Program Projects
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Camden: 15 trees
Northgate II Apartments, Camden: 20 trees
Reverend Evers Park, Camden: 27 trees
Von Neida Park, Camden: 150 trees
N. 8th Street, Camden: 18 trees
Klemm Ave Jogging Path, Gloucester City: 58 trees
Martin Lake Park, Gloucester City: 10 trees
N. 36th Street, Camden: 27 trees
Parkside United Methodist Church, Camden: 10 trees
Farnham Park, Camden: 10 trees

Green Streets Projects
Veterans Memorial Park, Passiac City: 40 trees

Thank you to the partners, residents, donors, and volunteers who made our fall tree planting season a success! We greatly appreciate working with you to transform urban communities with trees.