The NJ Tree Foundation’s Urban Airshed Reforestation Program just hit a milestone in Camden this spring: planting its 6,000th tree. The nonprofit organization began planting trees with help from Camden residents in 2002. The NJ Tree Foundation were joined by Camden Mayor Dana Redd and local partners to celebrate the planting of 6,000th tree on Saturday April 16th. Mayor Redd presented the NJ Tree Foundation with a Proclamation honoring the milestone.
“We are thrilled to plant our 6,000th tree in Camden,” explains Jessica Franzini, NJ Tree Foundation Program Director. “We have seen Camden streets transform as we planted trees. The neighbors come together to plant, they take care of the trees together, and then enjoy the beauty that is brought to their house by the trees.”
Saturday’s event planted 30 large trees (each over 10 feet tall) along N. 36th Street to
compliment the regional Circuit Trails. The planting was organized by the NJ Tree Foundation in partnership with the students and staff at Urban Promise Academy. Camden residents and community organizations will adopt and care for the cherry blossoms, black gums, and tree lilacs. Volunteers dug holes and planted trees from 9am-12pm. There was also a pop-up bike clinic taking place during the event with Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, promoting use of the Circuit Trails.
The NJ Tree Foundation has funding from the William Penn Foundation to beautify the Circuit Trails with hundreds of trees and shrubs over the course of two years. The Circuit is a network of bicycle and pedestrian trails connecting people to jobs, communities, and parks in the Greater Philadelphia Region. When completed, the Circuit will have approximately 750 miles of trail, with 50% of the region’s population living within one mile of the trail network. 300 miles of trail are open for use today, several of which run through Camden, providing a connection to the waterfront and beyond.
As of Saturday, more than 6,000 trees have been planted in Camden since 2002, but the NJ Tree Foundation says there is still more to be done. “Camden’s tree canopy remains lower than what is recommended for a healthy city. Trees remove pollutants from the air and groundwater, so tree canopy coverage helps improve the health of local residents,” Franzini added, “We estimate it will take thousands more trees to reach Camden’s tree canopy goal of 25%, but we know we are making a difference with every tree we plant. The residents certainly agree.”