CRANFORD - Senior Professor of Biology Dr. Thomas Ombrello was recently acknowledged by the Daughters of the American Revolution, Crane’s Ford Chapter of Cranford, with the National DAR Conservation Medal Award for his work on the Historic Tree Grove at the College’s Cranford campus. Dr. Ombrello received the award on Apr. 14 at a ceremony held in the Cranford Community Center.

The prestigious National DAR Conservation Medal Award can be presented to any man or woman with a distinguished conservation record. To qualify for the award one must have had a record of distinguished teaching, have an outstanding volunteer record in education at the collegiate level, conducted major replanting efforts, and resource management. Dr. Ombrello began collecting acorns from trees that held historical significance from throughout the nation in 1995. From these acorns he grew a sapling of each tree in the Kellogg greenhouse and later planted the tree in the grove. The grove holds more than 100 trees from throughout the U.S. In April 2017, thanks to this project, a progeny from the grove was given to the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church to be planted near where the 600 year old Basking Ridge White Oak once stood.

At the ceremony, Dr. Ombrello gave a presentation on the Historic Tree Grove, how it came to be and the stories behind the trees in the grove. In 2015, Dr. Ombrello also provided a seedling of the 300 year old Pepperidge Tree in Cranford which was planted in the park near where the Pepperidge Tree once stood. The local Historical Society records stated that the tree had once been a meeting location for General George Washington and his troops.

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"Congratulations to Dr. Ombrello for being recognized for his conservation work and his commitment to preserving America’s history through the Historic Tree Grove. We are proud that our students are able to benefit from Dr. Ombrello’s expertise as a biologist and arborist,” stated Union’s President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin.

For more information about Union County College, go to www.ucc.edu.