In recognition of Arbor Day 2019, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is once again partnering with the Union County Shade Tree Advisory Board to provide free trees for local schools.

“The tree giveaway has always received an enthusiastic response from schools in Union County. We are very proud to support teachers in their efforts to provide a valuable hands-on learning experience to their students,” said Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski.

Studies have shown that trees improve property values and provide many other civic and environmental benefits, such as absorbing airborne pollutants, keeping neighborhoods cool in the summer, preventing soil erosion, and helping to alleviate flooding.

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In addition to the tree giveaway, the Freeholder Board also sponsors an annual Arbor Day poetry contest, provides municipalities with tree-for-tree matching grants, and supports the Master Tree Stewards volunteer tree conservation program.

This year’s free Arbor Day tree is a tree native to the northeast, the American Flowering Dogwood. They are about five feet tall and weigh about 20 pounds. Each tree comes with a protective cage. When fully grown they will be about 15-20 feet tall.

The trees are available to schools on a first come, first serve basis while supplies last.

The deadline for free tree requests is Monday, April 1. Schools may contact James Nichnadowicz, Union County 4-H Agent at Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County at 908-654-9854 (ext. 3) or jnichnadowicz@ucnj.org.to request a tree.

For schools that receive a tree, free sessions in tree planting and care are available to students, teachers, and parent volunteers through the Rutgers Cooperative Extension 4-H Master Tree Steward Program. The tree care sessions will be held at Williams Nursery in Westfield on Tuesday, April 9 beginning at 10:00 a.m.

Arbor Day has been a National Observance since 1872, encouraging the public to plant and care for trees.  This year Arbor Day falls on Friday, April 26.

The U.S. Forestry Service, the Arbor Day Foundation and other partners have developed free, user-friendly software to calculate the dollar value of trees in urban communities. For more information visit iTreeTools.org.

To find out more about tree care in Union County or to join the Master Tree Steward volunteers, contact Mr. Nichnadowicz.

The Extension is supported in part by the Freeholder Board and is headquartered in the Colleen Fraser Building at the County complex in Westfield, at 300 North Avenue East. For information on all Extension programs visit ucnj.org/rce.

For quick links to all Union County environmental programs and activities, visit The Green Connection online at ucnj.org/green-connection.

Photo credit: Christopher Sessums, flickr.

For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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