NJ Heritage Tree Conservation and Education Program Brochure
New Jersey is rich in history with many of Heritage Trees were standing during major revolutionary war battles and are still standing to this day. Giovanni da Verrazano being the first to explore the coast of New Jersey in 1524 for France. Dutch settlement began in 1630 along the western bank of the Hudson with one on the Delaware at Fort Nassau. New Jersey was a very important state during the Revolutionary War because of its location near the center of the thirteen colonies between New York City and Philadelphia and because of this more battles were fought in New Jersey that any other state. Several important battles occurred in New Jersey, most importantly being the battle of Trenton in 1776, which many consider to be the turning point of the Revolution. Immediately after winning Trenton, General George Washington won the battle of Princeton in 1777. Having lost two battles in a matter of hours, the British fled New Jersey for New York. Washington and his troops spent the rest of the winter in Morristown. On December 18, 1787, New Jersey became the 3rd state of the Union as it ratified the US Constitution and the first state to sign the Bill of Rights. Trenton became the capital in 1790. New Jersey became a massive industrial center by the 1800’s. Many of our trees listed on our big and heritage tree registry have been existence for hundreds of years with some preceding even these historic time periods. Aside from the Revolutionary War period, New Jersey has Heritage trees that date to even before the Revolutionary War during periods when Native American were inhabitants and the state has trees that are so old that they date back to periods of unsettlement.
The NJ Heritage Tree Conservation and Education Program is a new NJ Forest Service (NJFS) program within the NJ Big Tree Conservation Program. In this program, seed is harvested from NJ Heritage Trees, or trees found to have historical significance, and then delivered to our NJFS tree nursery located in Jackson, New Jersey. The Heritage seed is then stored in a cooler and later planted in tubes filled with soil and grown to a suitable size typically years 1, 2, or 3. Heritage seedlings are then packaged with a tag describing the parent tree and its history. Also, included in the Heritage Tree seedling package is a certificate on parchment paper. This certificate has a watermark of the parent tree, botanical name, common name, and the name of the parent Heritage tree as well as pertinent tree history.
Heritage seedlings are available for order at both our NJ Big Tree Conservation and NJ Nursery websites. All trees ordered will be registered by NJFS and their location and coordinates logged in our elaborate database system. Heritage Tree coordinates will be taken both by NJFS foresters as well as by new tree owners and logged in the NJFS database system. If taken by a new tree owner, coordinates and pertinent data will be submitted to the NJFS Big and Heritage Tree Coordinator.
Now, when you plant your NJ Heritage trees, you are “Keeping the Legacy Alive” and sharing a piece of history. Heritage trees are perfect to plant as well as distribution for special ceremonies or memorials as well, not to mention dedicated events like Arbor Day, Earth Day, and others.
NJFS conducts Big and Heritage Tree Tour Events in the fall and spring with known arboretums and also conducts NJ Heritage Tree field tours whereby NJ Big and Heritage Trees can be visited and learned about by county. What better way to learn New Jersey’s history than through our NJ Heritage Tree Resource with most of these specimens being massive in size!
For more information on the NJ Big Conservation Program, please visit https://www.communityforestry.nj.gov (Big Tree needs its own page and link now) If you know of a big or historic tree that you want to nominate or have a possible challenger to the current champion, please send your nomination to:
Joseph C. Bennett
Assistant Regional Forester
NJ Big Tree Conservation Program
and NJ Heritage Tree Program
New Jersey Forest Service
Mail Code 501-04
P.O. Box 420
Trenton, NJ 08625
*If trees are nominated on lands other that NJ State lands, a Right of Access Agreement Form must be completed in addition to the big tree nomination form.
Interested in going on an NJ Big Tree Tour? Please contact Joseph C. Bennett at Joseph.firstname.lastname@example.org