To replace damaged trees, commission offering free seedlings

Christopher Lang, Correspondent, @topherlang2, Mar 27, 2018 | MonroeNow

With Earth Day and Arbor Day about a month away, the Monroe Township Shade Tree Commission will offer 2,000 free seedlings to community members on April 14.

The seedling-giveaway is part of a five-year program to replace trees Hurricane Sandy damage in 2012. The tree recovery campaign is a public-private partnership by New Jersey Forest Service, New Jersey Soil Conservation Districts, Sustainable Jersey, and private corporations BJ’s Wholesale Club, Canon and FedEx.

To date, the campaign has distributed more than 332,900 tress throughout New Jersey, according to the Arbor Day Foundation website.

Aside from Monroe, Middlesex County municipalities participating include East Brunswick, Edison Township, Sayreville, South River and Woodbridge Township. There are also additional locations throughout the state.

“By taking a seedling, residents can honor the spirit of Arbor Day,” Lucille DiPasquale, chairwoman of the township’s Shade Tree Commission, said in a statement. “This is the last year we can anticipate the free seedlings with the campaign set to expire after 2018.”

Arbor Day is April 27 and Earth Day is April 22.

“We pride ourselves on the many sustainable programs that we offer here in Monroe,” Council President Stephen Dalina said. “This is yet another example of how our Township is enabling residents to lead greener lives.”

Interested community members can pick up the seedlings at the Department of Public Works building from 9-11 a.m., James Monroe Park from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and at the library from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Trees are a great asset to any community,” Mayor Gerald Tamburro said. “Aside from their aesthetic appeal, trees increase property values, reduce home-cooling costs, remove air pollution and provide wildlife habitat.”

For residents who do pick up any of the free seedlings, DiPasquale recommends planting them within two days.