Moorestown is hosting an Arbor Day celebration at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 28, at Remembrance Park.
The park – at the corner of West 2nd Street and Camden Avenue – is home to a monument created in 1919 to memorialize seven Moorestown men who sacrificed their lives during World War 1: Franklin Fortiner, Russell Jones, Samuel Lippincott, John Nicholson Jr., T.H. Dudley Perkins, William Snyder and Armydis Sorden.
John Gibson, chair of the Moorestown Tree Planting and Preservation Committee, explained how he and other residents came across the monument while trimming the park’s bushes. From there, the idea for an Arbor Day celebration took off.
Students will sing and seedlings provided by the New Jersey Tree Recovery Campaign will be distributed during the ceremony, when a White Oak will be planted. Residents can pick up seedlings at town hall the day after the event from 9 to 11 a.m.
“It’s got a lot of trees and plantings around it, and the first time we started doing our tree pruning … we started helping trim it up and get it back into shape, and neighbors have really taken to that,” Gibson said of Remembrance Park.
“It’s a great little park to sit and just relax under the shade of some trees, and the residents around it really enjoy it and really appreciate it.”
Moorestown is a 33-year member of the Tree City USA program. According to arborday.org, municipalities can receive program recognition by meeting four standards: maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day.
The tree program also gives places like Moorestown an avenue to celebrate their work, showing residents and visitors that they’re committed to the mission of environmental change.
“There are a lot of residents in town that greatly support trees and Arbor Day,” Gibson noted. “Every year, we get a lot of people that come out and just celebrate with us while we plant new trees, and they pick up another one to plant in their yard.”
He also praised other organizations in town for their part in Arbor Day.
“The (Moorestown) Garden Club is really good at making their history of Arbor Day meaningful to kids,” Gibson explained. “They give a very good presentation.”
As described by almanac.com, Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April to encourage tree planting. Many communities traditionally take the opportunity to organize tree-planting and litter-collecting events on or around the observance.
“It’s this time of the year that the trees are just budding out, and it reminds people that it’s important to have trees,” Gibson remarked. “They help the community, they help you personally, they help your health, your mental status, they cool your house…”
“So I think it’s a good day for everybody to say, ‘Oh yeah, trees are coming back (and) we should do something for (them).’”