The Chatham Township Environmental Commission distributed 500 trees at its much-anticipated Tree Seedling Give-A-Way on Saturday May 30, 2020. The small seedlings, obtained from the New Jersey Forest Service’s New Jersey Tree Recovery Campaign, grow into decorative yard trees after several years of watering and mulching. During the two hour program almost 85 cars lined up in the lower parking lot of the Chatham Township municipal building to decide which species they wanted -- bur oak, pawpaw, persimmon, or red bud. Chatham Township Environmental Commission volunteers packed the requested seedlings and loaded them into the cars.

The event was organized by Lisa McHugh and carried out by her and Maureen Kelly, Chair of the Chatham Township Green Team. Deputy Environmental Commission Chair Cara Feeser, administrator of the project, said, "In spite of the restrictions caused by the pandemic, this year's seedling handout was the most successful! All participants waited patiently in their cars and appreciated the efforts of the volunteers."

When properly planted and maintained, trees are assets to a community. They improve the visual appeal of a neighborhood or business district, increase property values, reduce home cooling costs, remove air pollutants, and provide wildlife habitat, among many other benefits.

There were 67,150 trees planted last year via the NJ Tree Recovery Campaign which will reduce carbon dioxide by 87,064 tons, reduce non-carbon dioxide air pollution by 379 tons, save $12,024,729 in energy costs, and intercept 1,444,796,059 gallons of rainfall.

L to R, Lisa McHugh and Maureen Kelly bag trees

L to R, Lisa McHugh hands bag to car occupant while
Maureen Kelly assists

L to R, Maureen Kelly and Lisa McHugh celebrate