FREEHOLD – The National Arbor Day Foundation has once again designated Monmouth County as a Tree City USA in recognition of the county’s ongoing community forestry program. It is the sixth year in a row that the county has earned Tree City USA distinction.
The county’s community forestry program is rooted in the Division of Shade Tree, which is responsible for overseeing care and maintenance of the county’s many trees. The division employs 22 staff; there is also a Shade Tree Commission comprised of five appointed and voluntary members.
Monmouth County is the only county in the state to receive a Tree City USA designation this year.
“We are proud of our Tree City USA designation because it reflects the pride we take in our beautiful county and the care we give to the trees in our parks, gardens and arboretum,” said Freeholder Serena DiMaso, liaison to the county Shade Tree Commission. “Trees provide shade, beauty and provide many environmental, economic and social benefits. We share this award with residents in all 53 towns because they also take pride in their local parks, well-manicured gardens and tree-lined streets.”
The Tree City USA program, sponsored by The National Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters, provides direction, technical assistance, public attention, and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs in 3,400 towns and cities that more than 135 million Americans call home.
“We applaud Monmouth County’s elected officials, volunteers and citizens for providing vital care for its suburban trees,” said John Rosenow, chief executive and founder of the Arbor Day Foundation.
Gaining Tree City USA recognition is an award to the tree workers, managers, volunteers, tree board members and others who work on behalf of better care of a community’s trees.
“Residents, too, can take pride in the fact that Monmouth County is a Tree City USA destination,” said John W. Tobia, director of the county’s Department of Public Works and Engineering, which comprises the Monmouth County Division of Shade Tree. “Being a Tree City USA helps present the kind of image that most people want to have for the place they call home.”
The Monmouth County Division of Shade Tree plants many trees, plants or shrubs each year, which improve the visual aesthetics of the county’s roads. Workers also survey and remove hazardous trees and prune thousands of others. The staff also provides technical information to municipalities on proper tree selection, placement and care. In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene last September, Shade Tree crews spent weeks clearing downed trees from the roadways.
Monmouth County has met the four standards to become a Tree City USA community. Tree City USA communities must have a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, a comprehensive community forestry program, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit, environmental and education organization of nearly 1 million members, with a mission to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. More information on the foundation and its programs can be found at www.arborday.org.