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October 24, 2019

Contact: Caryn Shinske (609) 984-1795
Lawrence Hajna (609) 292-2994


(19/P087) TRENTON – The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is honoring three 2019 Green Communities Achievement Award winners for outstanding contributions to urban and community forestry, Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe announced today.

Green Communities Achievement Award winnersThe Township of West Windsor in Mercer County; Consulting Forester John D. Linson, a New Jersey Licensed Tree Expert; and the City of Vineland in Cumberland County received their awards today at the New Jersey Shade Tree Federation’s 94th Annual Conference Dinner at Harrah’s Atlantic City Waterfront Conference Center in Atlantic City, Atlantic County.

“The role of community forestry is more important than ever before because of the many benefits that trees provide and their role in climate resilience,” Commissioner McCabe said. “Trees help mitigate the effects of climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air, a major contributor to global warming. They also help reduce flooding by slowing water flow, cool the air by providing shade from heat, offer shelter for wildlife, and clean the air we breathe. As the most densely populated state in the country, it is especially important that New Jersey has a recognition program for excellence in forestry.”

The Green Communities Award annually recognizes recipients for exemplary work in urban and community forestry, whether public or private. Awards are given in the categories of Individual, Municipality, Forestry/Arboricultural Industry, and Non-profit/Non-governmental Organization.

Achievement in urban and community forestry is recognized for:

  • Improving the environment through wise management of trees and forest resources, and developing a self-sustaining local urban and community forestry program;
  • Doing education and outreach to raise awareness about the value of urban and community trees and forests in New Jersey;
  • Green Communities Achievement Award winnersEnhancing the beauty of New Jersey’s cities and towns with programs and projects for trees and forests;
  • Providing exceptional effort and meritorious contributions to the field of urban and community forestry in New Jersey.

The New Jersey Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program, the New Jersey Community Forestry Council, and the New Jersey Tree Foundation select the winners.

In addition to today’s honors, the New Jersey Urban and Community Forestry Program also is celebrating the milestone of maintaining its top five status for Tree City USA communities.

The Arbor Day Foundation reports that 166 New Jersey communities have been certified as a Tree City USA, placing New Jersey in the top five states with the most communities in the distinguished environmental program.

According to the Arbor Day Foundation’s most recent annual report, more than 3,500 communities have committed to becoming Tree City USA members, extending the program’s reach to nearly 153 million Americans.

Ohio tops the list with 237, followed by Wisconsin with 195, Illinois with 184, Florida with 181 and New Jersey with 166.

A community can become a Tree City USA by meeting four core standards of sound urban forest management:

  • Maintaining a tree board or department;
  • Having a community tree ordinance;
  • Spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry;
  • Celebrating Arbor Day, which is the last Friday in April in New Jersey.

The Urban and Community Forestry Program partners with the Arbor Day Foundation to help New Jersey towns achieve Tree City USA status. The Urban and Community Forestry Program mission is to encourage and support the stewardship and effective management of trees and forest ecosystems.

The program provides this support for local government tree and forest programs through accreditation and helps them gain national recognition through Tree City USA.  Program-accredited communities receive access to grants and a basis for liability protection.

To learn more about the New Jersey Urban and Community Forestry Program, visit and sign up for their email list.  You can also like their Facebook page at

For more information about the Tree City USA program, visit

Follow the DEP on Twitter @NewJerseyDEP and Facebook at


Top: 2019 Green Communities Achievement Awards crafted by Steve Owens of the Professional Woodworkers Guild of Upper New Jersey.
Page 2: Medford Township receiving a certificate at the New Jersey State Arbor Day Celebration at Rutgers University, for 40 years as a Tree City USA.



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Last Updated: October 24, 2019