SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — The South Orange Environmental Commission and Green Team has won a $30,000 New Jersey Urban Community Forestry grant from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection which will allow them to plant new trees in various South Orange locations.

Members of the Environmental Commission’s Shade Tree group worked with Village government, the Department of Public Works, and the NJUCF to put together a program to purchase, plant, and maintain up to 60 trees at locations including Clark Street, the Duck Pond, Farrell Field Park, Floods Hill, Founders Park, Grove Park, Meadowlands Park, Spiotta Park, and New Waterlands Park. The group concentrated on obtaining a variety of species that would grow to become large shade trees after studying the ages and species distribution of trees within parks using the recently completed tree inventory.

“Now that we have a database of the trees in town from our inventory project we can start to look at the data and make plans to address present and future needs” said Barbara Bour, Environmental Commissioner and garden designer by profession. “We were immediately concerned by the fact that there are only mature trees in our parks with no young trees established to take their places. If this were allowed to continue we could see only barren public spaces with no natural refuge from the sun within a generation.”

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Bill Haskins, chair of the environmental commission, added “Because of the time it takes to establish trees of that size we have to be thinking ahead 20-30 years to ensure the quality of life for future South Orange Villagers and the trees themselves. Our research shows that we have too few trees for a town our size, which is why we are so happy to be working with Carrie Sargeant, Patricia Shapella, and Michael Martini from NJUCF to start addressing the deficit.”

The grant of $30,000 will pay for the purchase of trees, workers to plant them, and support and protective materials. The care and ongoing maintenance will be provided by the South Orange Department of Public Works and volunteers from the SOEC&GT and local park conservancies.

Securing the grant was already a good deal for South Orange but the benefits don’t stop there. The new trees will be reaping rewards for generations to come. In addition to providing shade and beauty to our parks each tree will also provide ongoing benefits in storm water retention and filtration, ambient temperature moderation, carbon sequestration, and oxygen creation. As each tree increases in size so does its value to the community. The new trees will be planted this spring just in time for walks in the park to visit your new assets.

For more information on the South Orange Environmental Commission and Green Team visit Facebook or Instagram @sogreenteam or


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