HAWTHORNE, NJ - Many residents in Hawthorne are doubtless familiar with the Shade Tree Commission but may not be entirely sure what the commission is all about.  TAPinto Hawthorne spoke with Dria Lobosco, Chair of the Shade Tree Commission, to discuss some of the ins-and-outs of this particular "branch" of local government.

Can you tell our readers a little about what the Shade Tree Commission's purpose is and how it is constituted?  The Hawthorne Shade Tree Commission (HSTC), is comprised of five volunteer members and two alternate members appointed by the Mayor to five year overlapping terms. The Shade Tree Commissioners work together as a board on policy and measures related to the proper care and stewardship of Shade Trees in the town. Public meetings are held the first Tuesday of each month at 4:30 p.m. Tree maintenance/remediation is managed and coordinated by the Borough and the hired contractor.

Are there any future goals that the Commission is working towards? Every year we publish a year's accomplishments document that can be found on our website.  Our 2020 goals include the following: spring planting of 68 trees which was completed this past June, Fall planting to replace removals due to roadwork in 2019, Commissioners keep up on training requirements, work with the Borough on 2020 roadwork and tree issues, Arbor Day events including Sapling distribution and event with the Ecology Club at HHS, Submit for Tree City USA (done), and work with the town on planting of the seedling from the Salem Oak.

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What is your role on the commission?  What do your responsibilities include? As a volunteer Chairperson for the Commission I do a variety of functions.  I facilitate the monthly meetings and agendas for the Commission, work with Borough Hall on resident issues, Shade Tree Budgeting, submit State required documents and accomplishments, answer questions via email/letters for resident issues.  I help the Borough support staff with administrative organizing to be able to support the resident requirements and budgeting needs, work with Certified Tree Specialist on issues and initiatives.  I supply updated content for our website, draft Q&A for the residents, and created a newsletter to explain the Shade Tree Commission.  I also work on advertising for our seedling giveaway which we held in early June.

Who else serves on the Commission and how often do you typically meet (barring global virus pandemics, of course)? The Hawthorne Shade Tree Commission is comprised of five volunteer members and two alternate members.  We meet monthly on the first Monday of the month at 7:00 p.m. The Commission consists of:

  • Dria Lobosco, Chairperson - term expires 12/31/20
  • Al Ianacone, Vice Chairperson - term expires 12/31/21
  • Rick Hockenberry, Commissioner - term expires 12/31/22
  • Brian Collier, Commissioner - term expires 12/31/23
  • Diane Korzinski, Commissioner - term expires 12/31/22
  • Thomas Dwyer, Alternate 1 - term expires 12/31/20
  • Jay Van Hoff, Alternate 2 - term expires 12/31/24
  • Joseph Wojtecki, Council Liaison - term expires 12/31/20

Tell us a little about the arborist and what are some of the specific tasks that go with the job? Kevin Alberta is our Licensed Tree Specialist. He is a Hawthorne native and highly experienced.  He works on both resident issues and supports town wide initiatives, like roadwork.  Kevin recently completed a survey of all trees in the town, 3,001 to be exact.  This is on iTree which will be used to support HSTC going forward.  iTree is a tree inventory system.  When trees are pruned or removed, this will now for into the system for tracking.  This was a significant 2019 accomplishment. Kevin also acts as liaison with our contractors.

What kind of relationship should residents expect to have with the Commission?  Any questions or inquiries on shade trees should simply be submitted to the HSTC via email or phone. Turn around time can vary depending on the issue. Year after year we continue to try to improve communication with residents and completion of work.  We have made significant strides in the past three years.

Does the Shade Tree Commission have anything to do with the 8 Acre Woods in the park or is that strictly Passaic County?  There are portions of 8 Acre Woods that are covered by Hawthorne Shade Tree.  As needed our Licensed Tree Specialist will look at issues that arise and work with Hawthorne or the County on larger projects.

What do you think residents should be aware of with respect to the Commission? I think the one thing they should be aware of is that the Hawthorne Shade Tree Commission is a volunteer group.  While we do oversee shade tree related issues, this body of people are not overseeing daily administration.  In the past three years, we have taken on a role of being more present and working on behalf of our residents.  There have been countless improvements but it is still not perfect.  If there are issues the best way to resolve a question or concern is to work directly with HSTC and Borough Support Staff.  We should be reached at HawthorneShadetree@hawthornenj.org.

Ms. Lobosco indicated that residents can learn more about the Shade Tree Commission by visiting the Hawthorne Shade Tree Commission Year in Review Reports and the Shade Tree Commission's section of the Hawthorne Borough website.

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