In recognition of Arbor Day, the Union County Board of County Commissioners is once again providing free trees to schools for Arbor Day.

“The tree giveaway has always received an enthusiastic response from schools in Union County. We are very proud to support teachers in their efforts to provide a valuable hands-on learning experience to their students,” said County Commissioner Bette Jane Kowalski.

Studies have shown that trees improve property values and provide many other civic and environmental benefits, such as absorbing airborne pollutants, keeping neighborhoods cool in the summer, preventing soil erosion, and helping to alleviate flooding.

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This year’s free Arbor Day tree is a tree native to the northeast, the American Flowering Dogwood. They are about five feet tall and weigh about 20 pounds. Each tree comes with a protective cage. When fully grown they will be about 15-20 feet tall.

The trees are available to schools on a first come, first serve basis while supplies last. To reserve a tree for your school, please see the mailing that was sent to your school’s principal or you may contact Madeline Brigantino, Union County Department of Engineering, Public Works and Facilities Management at mbrigantino@ucnj.org or 908-789-3653.The deadline for free tree requests is March 26, 2021.

Schools may also contact James Nichnadowicz, Union County 4-H Agent at Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County at 908-654-9854 ext. 3 or jnichnadowicz@ucnj.org for more information. 

For schools that receive a tree, free sessions in tree planting and care are available to students, teachers, and parent volunteers through the Rutgers Cooperative Extension 4-H Master Tree Steward Program. The tree care sessions will be held virtually in early April.

Arbor Day has been a national observance since 1872, encouraging the public to plant and care for trees. This year it will be celebrated on Friday, April 30.

For more information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including the Drive-Through Test Center at Kean University, the Mobile Test Unit walk-up sites, vaccination information, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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