Public Info

Union County Celebrates Arbor Day 2022 with Free Trees for Schools

bush of flowers

Union County, NJ – March 4, 2022 – In recognition of Arbor Day 2022, the Union County Board of County Commissioners is once again partnering with the Union County Shade Tree Advisory Board to provide free trees for local schools.

“We are very proud to support teachers in their efforts to provide a valuable hands-on learning experience to their students,” said Commissioner Chair Rebecca Williams. “The tree giveaway has always received an enthusiastic response from schools in Union County, and we are looking forward to another successful season.”

Studies have shown that trees improve property values and provide many other civic and environmental benefits, such as absorbing airborne pollutants, keeping neighborhoods cool in the summer, preventing soil erosion, and helping to alleviate flooding.

In addition to the tree giveaway, the Commissioner Board also sponsors an annual Arbor Day poetry contest, provides municipalities with tree-for-tree matching grants, and supports the Master Tree Stewards volunteer tree conservation program.

This year’s free Arbor Day tree is a tree native to the northeast, the American Flowering Dogwood. They are about five feet tall and weigh about 20 pounds. When fully grown they will be about 15-20 feet tall.

The trees are available to schools on a first come, first serve basis while supplies last.

The deadline for free tree requests is March 18. Schools may contact Madeline Brigantino, Assistant to the Director, Union County Department of Engineering, Public Works and Facilities Management, or 908-789-3653 to request a tree.

For schools that receive a tree, free sessions in tree planting and care are available to students, teachers, and parent volunteers through the Rutgers Cooperative Extension 4-H Master Tree Steward Program. The tree care sessions will be held at Williams Nursery in Westfield on Tuesday, April 5 beginning at 10:00 a.m.

Arbor Day has been a National Observance since 1872, encouraging the public to plant and care for trees.  This year Arbor Day falls on Friday, April 29.

The U.S. Forestry Service, the Arbor Day Foundation and other partners have developed free, user-friendly software to calculate the dollar value of trees in urban communities. For more information visit

To find out more about 4-H and the Master Tree Steward program, contact Jim Nichnadowicz, Rutgers 4-H agent, 908-654-9854 or No experience is needed to join the Tree Steward program. A training course is held each year, featuring guided walks in area parks and nature preserves.

The Rutgers Cooperative Extension is supported in part by the Commissioner Board and is headquartered in the Colleen Frasier Building at the Union County complex in Westfield, at 300 North Avenue East. For information on all Extension programs, including Master Tree Stewards, Master Gardeners, Environmental Stewards, and the 4-H youth development program visit

For quick links to all Union County environmental programs and activities, visit The Green Connection online at

Image credit: via Creative Commons (By Eric Hunt – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0).

For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at

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For all Union County programs and services visit, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email or use the online Contact Form.

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