MONTVILLE, NJ – Charles Perry was honored as part of the township’s Arbor Day celebration April 28. The Montville Township Public Schools’ Arbor Day poster contest winners were also honored at the ceremony.

Arbor Day is usually celebrated on the last Friday in April, and is a way for communities to encourage residents to plant trees and celebrate the important role that trees play in our lives.

Perry served for seven years as chair of the Montville Township Environmental Commission, and now he is President of the Board of Health, said Michele Caron, current Chairperson of the Environmental Commission. He has been volunteering within the township for 20 years, she said.

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“He has given so many hours of his time for the health and safety of this town, it is only fitting that we honor him on this day,” Caron said.

“We’ve lived in Montville Township for 21 years and it’s a great place to be,” Perry said. “Over the years I’ve found it’s better to give than to receive. I’ve received a lot from working with the professionals here in town, and the other folks. I’ve learned a lot. Thank you, I’m very flattered.”

A Japanese maple was planted near the municipal building in Perry’s honor.

This year’s theme for the Environmental Commission’s poster contest for fourth graders was “Plant a Tree and Save the World.” Caron said about 100 students sent in entries. Valley View Elementary School students “swept” the poster contest by winning first, second and third place:

  • First place: Ines Lemee “A Tree for You and Me”
  • Second place: Kayla Martinez “Simon Says: Save the Trees and the Planet”
  • Third place: Anushka Agarwal “Be Like a Superhero: Save the Trees, Save the World”

From William Mason Elementary School, the runners up were Irene Eldho: “Save Trees, Save the World” and Reya Sinha “Save Trees and Recycle Paper.”

First place winner Ines Lemee said her theme came from “thinking about planting a tree.”

“I wanted everybody to have a chance to plant a tree, because it’s about saving the world,” she said.

She says it took about a week and a half to create her poster, working over spring break.

“I used colored pencils and black markers,” she said. “I had to use a ruler to make the border of trees along the edge.”

Caron said the Earth Club from Montville Township High School chose the contest winners by voting with Hershey’s Kisses.

“I buy a big bag and they place them on top of the ones they like,” she told the audience with a laugh. “The Earth Club is really active, with about 55 members – I hope you girls will join some day. They participate in the town paper shred, they clean the streets, they have programs in the elementary schools, and I’m proud of them.”

Caron encouraged the audience to “look at all the trees that we have. Hear the birds. This is what we love about Montville Township – all of our trees, evergreens, plantings. This is why we came here. This is why we want to stay here and raise a family – because of all of the open space and our aquifer, which is our sole source of drinking water. Take time on Arbor Day to appreciate the beauty around you. It’s the job of the Environmental Commission that it stays that way for generations to come. This is our next generation of environmental commissioners,” she said, indicating the poster contest winners.