CALDWELL, NJ - Ann Marchioni, chair of the Caldwell Environmental Commission along with Caldwell Mayor Ann Dassing and Councilman Edward Durkin Jr. presented certificates of appreciation to the winners of the Earth Day ~ Arbor Day “Trees are Terrific” contest at the May 7 council meeting.

“I didn’t think it was going to take my commission this long, but it took us two and a half hours to determine the winners,” said Marchioni. “I just wanted to tell you that we took this very seriously.”

Kindergarten through Grade 2
  • Lucie Pecora, a first grader from Washington school was the winner; George Janulis, a second grader from Washington, received an honorable mention, but was not present to receive his certificate. Pecora’s poster was about her favorite tree, the cherry blossom, and how she likes to pick its flowers to give them to her mom and dad.


    From left: Councilman Ed Durkin, Mayor Ann Dassing,
    Environmental Commission Chair Ann Marchioni with
    Kindergarten through Grade 2 winner, Lucie Pecora  
    Credit: Krysta Venturella
Grade 3 through Grade 5
  • This category received two winners, both in third grade: Abby Rapuano from Jefferson and Emanuel August, from Washington. Rapuano’s multi-colored poster depicted the survivor tree, which was a tree that stood between the twin towers and survived the devastation of September 11, 2001. August’s winning poster was of a tree that his grandmother and grandfather planted which is a reminder for him of his grandfather.


    From left: Councilman Ed Durkin, Mayor Ann Dassing,
    Environmental Commission Chair Ann Marchioni with
    Grade 3 through Grade 5 winners Abby Rapuano and
    Emanuel August  Credit: Krysta Venturella
Grade 6 through Grade 8
  • Rachel Gooney, an eighth grader at Grover Cleveland, was selected as the winner and her winning poster was based on the Christina Aguilera song, “Beautiful.” Gooney described that while listening to the song with friends, she was inspired to create this poster with the words, “These axes won’t bring me down. Oh no, because I’m standing strong like a tree.” As a pun, Gooney wrote, "by the tree-inspired artist Christreena Aguilera."


    From left: Councilman Ed Durkin, Mayor Ann Dassing,
    Environmental Commission Chair Ann Marchioni with
    Grade 6 through Grade 8 winner, Rachel Gooney  
    Credit: Krysta Venturella
Grade 9 through Grade 12
  • Varun Ravichandran, in grade 9 at James Caldwell, was the winning recipient for the design of a brochure that conveys the importance of trees, with facts and visuals. 
     

    From left: Councilman Ed Durkin, Mayor Ann Dassing,
    Environmental Commission Chair Ann Marchioni with
    Grade 9 through Grade 12 winner, Varun Ravichandran
    Credit: Krysta Venturella
College and Adults
  • The winning essay was written by Cindy Tavera, a junior at Caldwell College. Although Tavera and the honorable mention winner, sophomore Kaitlyn Granziano, couldn’t attend because they were taking final exams, their essays were on display at the meeting.


    Caldwell College entries on display  Credit: Krysta Venturella
     
  • Susan Cullinane was the winner in the adult essay contest category.

For contest details, see TAP’s article:  "Trees are Terrific" Contest Sponsored by Caldwell Environmental Commission, Library and Health Department

After the ceremony, students from the Grover Cleveland Middle School Ecology Club presented the council members with a blue plastic refillable water bottle.

“Now they have no excuse for using the plastic [non-reusable] water bottles,” commented Marchioni.

Referencing the new reusable water bottles, the students then reinforced the 
club’s slogan, “Do one thing.”


Kindergarten through second grade entries  
Credit: Krysta Venturella


Winners of the Caldwell Earth Day/ Arbor Day Contest from left: Rachel Gooney,
Emanuel August, Lucie Pecora, Abby Rapuano and Varun Ravichandran.
Standing holding the water bottle are Middle School Ecology Club members Michelle Polone and Megan West
Credit: Ann Marchioni