Public Info

Union County Celebrates Arbor Day 2024 With Free Trees for Schools

In recognition of Arbor Day 2024, 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.

“For us, Arbor Day is more than just a celebration; it’s a commitment to the environment and the well-being of our community,” said Commissioner Chairwoman Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded. “Planting trees is not just an act; it is a legacy we leave for generations to come. Arbor Day embodies our shared commitment to nurture the roots of a sustainable future, one tree at a time.”

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 Flowering Eastern Redbud. 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 22nd. Trees are limited. Schools may contact Andrea Staten, Union County Department of Engineering, Public Works and Facilities Management, or 908-789-3659 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 Oak Ridge Park in Clark on Wednesday, April 10th and Thursday, April 11th.

“The free tree giveaway and initiatives, just like the other Arbor Day poetry contest we are creating, showcase our dedication to fostering a greener and more vibrant Union County,” said Commissioner James Baker, who is the Commissioner Board Liaison to the Shade Tree Advisory Board. “We hope that participating in this Arbor Day program inspires our youth to continue helping to cultivate a greener, healthier world.”

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 26, 2024. To find out more about the value of trees in urban communities, use the free, user-friendly iTree online tool developed by the U.S. Forestry Service, the Arbor Day Foundation and other partners. Visit for details.

For more information about the 4-H and Master Tree Steward programs, 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