HOPATCONG – Borough resident Lee Davis stopped at the municipal building parking lot, Saturday, with her two young daughters, anxious to pick up tree seedlings to plant in their yard. She picked out three different species, northern red oak, white ash and black gum, and planned to get her husband to plant them sometime later that afternoon.
As part of the New Jersey Tree Recovery Campaign, Davis and more than 200 of her fellow Hopatcong residents obtained and planted well over 1,000 trees at their homes throughout the borough. The program, which allowed residents to procure up to five seedlings, is a joint effort by the New Jersey State Forestry Services Community Forestry Program, the State Forest Nursery, New Jersey Soil Conservation Districts, Sustainable Jersey, and the Arbor Day
Foundation. The Hopatcong Environmental Commission hosted the event.
Davis said she and her family are “very earth friendly” and wanted to show her daughters how important this event was, especially being so close to Earth Day.
“It is great to give back to the land,” she said.
For Lorie Prior, planting new trees is a way to continue the recovery process. She and her family are still displaced from their home, temporarily living in Jefferson while reconstruction on their house continues. Prior said eight trees were destroyed or damaged on her property most of them pine trees. “One enormous pine fell on the house,” she said. Prior took five seedlings; three sycamores, one white ash and one red oak.
According to Jule Girman, Hopatcong Environmental Commission chairman, business was brisk all day long with people lining up before 9am wanting to obtain one of the 1,300 tree seedlings available. Hopatcong was issued varying amounts of nine tree species, including four different types of oaks, two different types of dogwoods, sycamore, white ash, and black gum. The dogwoods proved to be the most popular and were completely gone by 11am, said Girman.
“The tree recovery event conducted by the members of the Hopatcong Environmental Commisson went really well. It was a perfect day for a tree giveaway. We had a great turnout of Environmental Commission volunteers and the other volunteers who joined us were a huge help,” said Girman.
With help from the borough Department of Public Works, Community Outreach and Boy Scout Troop 88, a half dozen commission volunteers distributed
tree seedlings steadily from 9am until 2pm.
“People arrived before 9am and for quite some time there was a long line to sign in,” said Girman.
Anthony Bonefede brought his two sons to pick out trees for their backyard on Bergen Trail that will replace ones that fell during Superstorm Sandy. The boys, Anthony, 13 and Dante, 9, chose oak trees to plant along the edge of their property and with the help of their father, dug the holes, planted the trees, refilled the holes with dirt and watered them down.
“We just want to replace what fell,” said the senior Bonefede.
Girman said the Tree Recovery Campaign is a five-year program and thanks to the success of Saturday, Hopatcong is planning to hold this event again next year.