PLAINFIELD, NJ - The spring rain did not stop Plainfield's Arbor Day celebration with the Shade Tree Commission at City Hall on Friday.

The event was hosted by the city’s Shade Tree Commission whose mission is “to regulate the planting, care and control of shade or ornamental trees and shrubbery in or on the streets, public places, parks and pathways in Plainfield.”

Last year’s recipient was the Plainfield YMCA.  The organization received Serviceberry trees, variegated False Holly and Lavender PJM Rhododendrons that now adorn the entrance.  The additional plantings that took place this week were funded by a generous donation from the Plainfield/North Plainfield Rotary Club to the Shade Tree Commission.

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Yesterday's ceremony kicked off at 11 a.m. with the Plainfield High School Honor Guard presentation of Colors, followed by opening remarks from Mary Burgwinkle, Chairwoman of the Shade Tree Commission.

Carlos Sanchez, Plainfield's City Administrator, read the Arbor Day Proclamation. According to Sanchez, the city is well known for the quality of life provided to its residents, including the care of the environment. Over 1,900 trees have been planted over the past 12 years by the Shade Tree Commission. 

First Ward Councilwoman Diane Toilver, Public Works Superintendent John Louise, Finance Director Ron West, Economic Development Director Valerie Jackson, Plainfield YMCA CEO Ravenell Williams, and Michael Townley of the Plainfield/North Plainfield Rotary Club were also in attendance at the ceremony.

Burgwinkle and Shade Tree Commission member Holly Hoffman presented the Tree City USA Designation flag for 2018 and announced the Ash tree as the 2018 Specimen tree, located at 1236 Denmark Road.

Plainfield was also awarded the 2018 Growth Award from the National Arbor Day Foundation for the first time in three categories: education, tree plantings, and maintenance.

Areas currently receiving new trees include 120 trees planted in and around the Fourth Ward, Brisbane Estates and additional neighborhoods. Residents near these young plantings are urged to water them regularly to ensure their growth.

Students from Step One Academy in attendance were reminded that trees need water to grow and need to be closely monitored to determine if they are dead or diseased. At the conclusion of the celebration, the young students were presented with buckets filled with marigold plantings.