CONTACT: Sebastian D’Elia, (908) 527-4419
Tina Casey, (908) 527-4419


Board of Chosen Freeholders distributing flowering trees

Elizabeth -- The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders has a gift of free trees for Union County schools this spring. The 5 to 6 foot tall flowering crabapple trees can be used to beautify school grounds, add shade, and contribute to Arbor Day celebrations at school.

The free trees are available, one per school, while supplies last.

Along with the tree, students, teachers, and parent volunteers will receive free training in tree care and planting. Workers from the Union County Shade Tree Bureau and volunteers from the Rutgers Cooperative Extension 4-H Master Tree Steward Program will demonstrate how to pick the best spot to plant a tree on school grounds, prepare the planting hole, mulch, water, and protect the tree from vandalism.

“The training is an essential part of our free tree program,” said Union County Freeholder Deborah P. Scanlon. “It helps ensure a healthy lifespan for the tree by providing teachers, students and their families with knowledge they can put to good use at home and in their communities, and it helps develop respect for all of our natural resources.”

On Monday, April 21, a training session will be held for 7th and 8th grade students, high school students, and their teachers. On Tuesday, April 22nd, a training session will be held for 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students with their teachers.

Both of the sessions will be held from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. at the Williams Nursery in Westfield. The trees will be given out after each training session, along with a protective cage. Schools may also receive a tree without attending the training program.

Parent volunteers who wish to represent their child’s school and receive the training should contact their child’s principal. Parent volunteers are welcome to attend the April 21st session.

To register for a training session or to obtain a tree for a school, contact Barbara Knapp a
908-789-3653 or Rutgers Cooperative Extension 4-H Agent and chairman of the Union County Shade Tree Advisory Board, James Nichnadowicz at 908-654-9854 or

Arbor Day has been a national observance since 1872, encouraging the public to plant and care for trees. It will be celebrated on Friday, April 25.