LIVINGSTON, NJ — Despite needing to postpone its annual tree-planting ceremony in recognition of Arbor Day for safety purposes during the health crisis, the Livingston Township Council still took the opportunity during Monday’s virtual meeting to proclaim April 24 as Arbor Day in Livingston.

In addition to planting a new “Weeping Cherry Tree” near the gazebo on the Memorial Oval each year, many residents have also asked to plant a tree as a gift to the township or in someone’s honor as part of Arbor Day, which is a national holiday celebrated each year on the last Friday in April.

“We urge everybody to support the efforts to protect our trees and woodlands,” said Mayor Rudy Fernandez. “While we unfortunately won’t be gathering to plant a tree on Arbor Day this year as we continue to adhere to social distancing guidelines, Livingston’s commitment to planting trees remains strong.”

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Since 1872, when pioneer J. Sterling Morton first dedicated the holiday to tree planting, Arbor Day has continued to reshape the landscape of America. The Arbor Day Foundation distributes and plants an estimated 15 million trees each year and provides citizens with a valuable resource.

The Township of Livingston, which has had a long-standing dedication to expanding and enhancing its greenery, engages in considerable tree recycling efforts and provides extensive land use planning coordination.

In addition to “beautifying [Livingston’s] public spaces and business areas,” the mayor noted that trees have “more value than [people] might usually stop to consider.”

“They help to improve air quality by filtering out dust and particles, conserve water and give us a renewable source of fuel and food, prevent erosion of topsoil and provide shelter for our local wildlife,” said Fernandez.

According to Department of Public Works Superintendent Mike Anello, planting the new cherry trees near the gazebo is “the perfect spot” because it is situation behind the Force home as well as near several memorials at the Oval. The trees also “add color to the area and create a nice environment for [Livingston] residents to enjoy,” he said.

In addition to the annual tree-planting ceremony, residents also regularly ask to plant a tree as a gift to the township or in someone’s honor around Arbor Day each year.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the township’s eco-friendly initiatives, or visit www.arborday.org for more information about Arbor Day Foundation programs and its mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees.