WEST ORANGE, NJ – West Orange Township partnered with Gregory School on April 28 to plant a Japanese Lilac tree in celebration of Arbor Day.  

Mayor Rob Parisi, Nick Salese (Assistant Director of Public Works), John Linson (township Forester) and Councilwoman Susan McCartney joined with Gregory Elementary School Principal Michelle Thompson to acknowledge the importance of trees to the environment. The first-ever American Arbor Day was held in Nebraska in 1872 when the state planted one million trees. 

West Orange has been recognized as a Tree City, USA for 21 years and has also held a Sustainable Jersey Bronze Certification since 2013. In 2015, the West Orange Energy Commission became the West Orange Environmental Commission, making the township eligible to apply for various environmental grants. 

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Forester John Linson read and presented an Arbor Day Township Proclamation to Principal Michelle Thompson. The fifth grade band performed “America the Beautiful” and the Fifth Grade Chorus performed “This Land is Your Land” and “Dance of the Willows.” 

Students, Principal Thompson, Department of Public Works (DPW) employees and township officials posed with the newly planted Japanese Lilac. 

“What a beautiful Arbor Day it is,” said Parisi as all of Gregory School stood outside with the sun shining and breeze blowing.

Fifth-grade students also received tree saplings to plant at home. 

Next year’s Arbor Day will be held at Washington Elementary School.

See all the photos from Arbor Day here.