Public Info

Union County Awards Arbor Day Poetry Contest Winners

In recognition of Arbor Day 2023, the Union County Board of County Commissioners is pleased to announce the winners of the annual Union County Arbor Day Poetry Contest. The contest is held each year to encourage environmental stewardship and tree conservation among students in grades 4-8, in partnership with the Union County Shade Tree Advisory Board.

image of a large tree

This magnificent European Beech can be viewed from the Tree Trail at Echo Lake Park in Mountainside.

“Helping to raise awareness about the role of trees in our environment is a valuable civic service for students, and the Poetry Contest is a wonderful opportunity to practice writing and communicating in a public setting. We congratulate our awardees, who demonstrated exemplary skill and writing ability to earn their winning honors, and we also appreciate the efforts of every student who submitted a poem and shared their creative insights with the community,” said Commissioner Chairman Sergio Granados.

“Each year we look forward to hearing the voices of the young people in our community in the Poetry Contest. They teach us to appreciate our natural heritage, and they encourage us to do our best to preserve and protect the environment that sustains us. Congratulations to all the winners for your beautiful poems,” said Commissioner Lourdes Leon, the Commissioner Board Liaison to the Shade Tree Advisory Board.

An awards ceremony and public presentation for the winners will be held during a regular public meeting of the Commissioner Board on Thursday, April 27.

The awards were conferred on the first, second, and third place winners in each grade:

4th Grade

1st Place – Alyssa DeMarco, Henley School, Clark

2nd Place – Amaya Gonzalez, Mountain Park Elem. School, Berkeley Heights

3rd Place – Max Keat, Lincoln School, Garwood

5th Grade

1st Place – Anna Morozovych, Mountain Park Elem. School, Berkeley Heights

2nd Place – Tania Alvarado-Valverde, Lincoln School, Garwood

3rd Place – Julia Ruiz, Mountain Park Elem. School, Berkeley Heights

6th Grade

1st Place – Karl Asuncion, Terrill Middle School, Scotch Plains

2nd Place – Sloane Bienkowski, Lincoln School, Garwood

3rd Place – Pravens Dauphin, Ola Edwards Community School, Hillside

7th Grade

1st Place – Madelynn Knierim, Lincoln School, Garwood

2nd Place – Julia Pappalardo, Terrill Middle School, Scotch Plains

3rd Place – Athena Bishop, Terill Middle School, Scotch Plains

8th Grade

1st Place -Luke Esmerado, Columbia Middle School, Berkeley Heights

2nd Place – Courtney Kilmer, Lincoln School, Garwood

3rd Place – Valerie Cespedes, Kawameeh Middle School, Union

Arbor Day has been a national observance since 1872, encouraging the public to plant and care for trees. This year it will be celebrated on Friday, April 28.

For more information about the Arbor Day Poetry Contest contact Madeline Brigantino at or 908-789-3653.

Quick links to all Union County environmental activities and programs are available at The Green Connection,

For information and updates on Union County COVID-19 services visit

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