Moorestown Council approves Tree Committee’s Arbor Day Request

The Tree Committee has been actively serving the Moorestown community for decades, and has planted a tree for Arbor Day each year.

Arbor Day is a holiday that encourages the planting and care of trees. To celebrate this environmental holidayat the local-level, the Moorestown Tree Committee requested and received approval from Town Council to host its Arbor Day event on Friday, April 28 on the grassy circle that is located in the parking lot across from the Moorestown Library.

The goal of the Arbor Day event, which is co-sponsored by the Moorestown Garden Club, is to plant a tree at a public area within town. This year, a large Blue Spruce tree with year-round foliage is to be planted. According to John Gibson, chairman of the Moorestown tree planting and preservation committee, this year’s site was selected due to its prominence in front of the new Town Hall and Moorestown Library.

“One of the areas we’ve been talking about ever since the beautiful building has been built is the neat circle out there by the library,” Gibson explained to council at its Jan. 23 meeting. “[The committee] thought there must be a monument or a statue going there, but we’ve talked over the years and it seems that maybe there isn’t anything, and so we are proposing that it would be a good place to have Arbor Day.”

In making the request, Gibson said his committee was not asking for any money, and expressed that usually the trees that are planted are donated or paid for by the committee’s Tree Remembrance Fund.

“Usually, we pick a site and really don’t involve council, but because it’s ‘right in front of the house,’ we thought council should weigh in on [the decision],” Gibson said, and further explained the committee’s alternative option would be to plant a tree at a site located at the Upper Elementary School.

In response to Gibson’s presentation, Mayor Manny Delgado said his only concern was the tree would impede site traffic and visibility. However, because traffic is one-way around the Town Hall/Library parking lot, the thought was visibility should not be a major issue, especially not in the immediate future while the tree is still in its beginning stages of growth.

Recognizing the importance of trees in daily life, and to promote the planting of trees, council agreed to further discuss and analyze if the planting of this tree would negatively impact community traffic or parking, but believed Gibson’s request should gain approval in the coming weeks, which he and the Tree Committee did.

Although at this time the committee is not sure who will be doing the planting due to the large size of the tree, it’s possible the work could be completed by the Public Works Tree Crew or the vendor from whom the committee is to buy the tree. Regardless, a ceremonial planting that will include at least filling in the dirt will be completed by the mayor and members of the Tree Committee.

The committee has planted a tree for Arbor Day each year. Additionally, having had these Arbor Day celebrations to plant trees has earned Moorestown the recognition of being a Tree City USA for the past 26 years.

Also in recent years, the Tree Committee has organized and executed tree plantings at each of the Moorestown Township Public Schools at least once, and its biggest planting project was done in 2015 when the N.J. State Arbor Day celebration was held in Moorestown. At this celebration, the committee planted 77 trees at Wesley Bishop Park, all of which are still growing.