Shade Tree Commission of River Edge, NJ: A Volunteer Force for Urban Greenery
In the heart of River Edge, New Jersey, a group of passionate individuals work tirelessly to maintain the verdant charm of the town. This group, known as the Shade Tree Commission, is a volunteer force whose compensation is the sight of the tree-lined streets of River Edge. Through their efforts, they continue a tradition of tree-planting, educate residents about trees, and strive to maintain the health of the town's trees, working in partnership with the town's Department of Public Works (DPW).
The work of the Shade Tree Commission has not gone unnoticed. River Edge has been named a Tree City USA every year since 2000 and has received Growth Awards since 2004 for the excellence and dedication shown in its street tree program. The New Jersey Shade Tree Federation recognized these efforts in 2005 by presenting the Shade Tree Commission with its annual Green Communities Award.
The Commission was established by ordinance #1447 and is composed of several members, each serving a term of five years. The current members include Liz Stewart, Jennifer Dougherty, Margot Pohl, Henry Semmler, Jim Bieber, Rich Myers, Priti Dhariwal, and Lissa Montisano-Koen.
One of the Commission's key initiatives is the "Trees Please" program, which aims to restore the town's extensive canopy cover lost due to various factors. The program educates residents about the benefits of planting trees and provides guidance on how to choose the right tree for the right spot and how to properly plant and maintain trees.
In addition to the "Trees Please" program, the Commission also encourages residents to participate in the "Leave the Leaves" program. This initiative encourages residents to mow and mulch leaves back into their lawns, a practice that has multiple environmental benefits.
The Shade Tree Commission responds to requests for tree maintenance, removal, or planting. These requests should be directed in writing by letter, phone call, or email. The Commission receives over 300 requests yearly and makes every attempt to respond within 30 days.
The Commission also provides guidance on resident responsibilities. For instance, when residents hire a private tree care company to do maintenance or removal on their property, the business must be registered with the New Jersey Board of Tree Experts and have at least one full-time Licensed Tree Expert or Licensed Tree Care Operator.
The Commission meets on the third Thursday of each month, except July and August. The meetings are open to the public, but it's recommended to contact the Shade Tree Commission if you plan to attend.
The Commission is also responsible for the planting of street and park trees. The planting typically occurs during October and November each year, with the locations receiving a tree being notified by mail. The Commission takes great care to plant tree species that will not interfere with sidewalks and utility lines in the future.
Lastly, the Commission oversees stump removal. This task is done yearly by an outside contractor hired by the town, with topsoil and re-seeding done after the stump is removed.
The Shade Tree Commission is a testament to the impact that dedicated volunteers can have on their communities. Through their efforts, they are ensuring that River Edge remains a vibrant and green community for years to come.
Adding a touch of verdant charm to the streets of River Edge, the Shade Tree Commission annually presents an exciting opportunity for the townsfolk. Each year, to coincide with Arbor Day - typically the last Friday in April - the Commission offers free tree seedlings to residents. The locations for pickup are conveniently set at the River Edge Library and Cherry Blossom Park, which is nestled adjacent to Cherry Hill School.
These seedlings are available throughout Arbor Day weekend on a first-come, first-serve basis. They will be stationed outside the pickup locations, available for collection at any time, until the supplies are exhausted. This initiative is part of the River Edge Shade Tree Commission's partnership with the New Jersey Tree Recovery Program, through which these barefoot seedlings are sourced.
Residents are heartily encouraged to use this opportunity to replace or add trees on their properties. It's recommended to plant these saplings within a week of picking them up to ensure their healthy growth.
705 Kinderkamack Road, River Edge, New Jersey 07661, United States