Dean Talcott of Fanwood, a Union County Master Tree Steward volunteer, attaches an ID tag to a Pin Oak in Nomahegan Park to help raise public awareness of the importance of trees in the environment. Photo: Union County Master Tree Stewards
Cranford, NJ – The majestic trees of Union County’s Nomahegan Park now have names, thanks to volunteers from the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County Master Tree Steward Program. The volunteers tagged 17 trees along the park’s loop trail with signs displaying their common and scientific names.
“The Master Tree Stewards are dedicated to raising awareness of the important role that trees play in an urban environment like ours,” said Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “Union County is very proud to support the tree ID project and the Master Tree Steward volunteer program.”
“I hope people see these signs and say wow, I always wanted to know the name of this beautiful tree,” said volunteer Master Tree Steward Karen Kotvas.
Trees provide important cooling islands that help shield neighborhoods and buildings from summer heat. They also help improve air quality by trapping dust and airborne pollutants.
“We hope that people who walk the Nomahegan loop will gain a more detailed picture of the rich diversity of plant life that surrounds them,” said Master Tree Steward and Fanwood resident Dean Talcott, who helped to place the signs along with other volunteers.
Union County preserves and adds trees through land conservation, grants for new street trees, and support for the Master Tree Steward program.
The trees that received ID tags are: Littleleaf Linden, Silver Maple, Red Maple, Swamp White Oak, Pin Oak, Northern Red Oak, Sweetgum, Black Cherry, Sweet Cherry, Black Locust, American Beech, American Elm, Horsechestnut, American Sycamore, Eastern White Pine, White Ash, and Black Walnut.
Master Tree Stewards have visited 4th grade classrooms throughout Union County for more than 20 years, teaching an hour-long program on the science of trees. The volunteers are certified by Rutgers University through a free program based on tree identification tours in New Jersey parklands.
For more information about the Master Tree Steward program, contact the Union County 4-H Agent, James Nichnadowicz at 908-654-9854 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.