Sayreville maintains Tree City designation

SCOTT FRIEDMAN

SAYREVILLE – For 2019, Sayreville will retain its Tree City USA award as members of the borough’s Shade Tree Commission are recognized for their work.

The announcement that Sayreville was named as a Tree City USA this year by the Arbor Day Foundation, a non-profit conservation and education organization, was made in a proclamation read by Mayor Kennedy O’Brien at a Borough Council meeting on Feb. 25.

The Tree City USA program began in 1976 and is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in partnership with the United States Forest Service and National Association of State Foresters.

In the proclamation, O’Brien stated the Tree City USA award was in honor of Sayreville’s commitment to effective urban forestry management and the borough obtained this recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation. The proclamation met the fourth requirement by acknowledging that Sayreville will observe Arbor Day this year on April 26.

According to information provided by the Arbor Day Foundation, Sayreville has been recognized as a Tree City for 11 years.

For the borough’s continued Tree City designation and support of Arbor Day, O’Brien and the council extended gratitude to the Shade Tree Commission and its commissioner, Arthur Rittenhouse.

In recognition of this year’s Arbor Day, Rittenhouse said any Sayreville residents interested in participating would receive seedlings to plant.

“We will be giving out seedlings again as we did last year to the residents of Sayreville,” Rittenhouse said. “Anybody who would like one can get up to five and can plant them in their yard. It’s good to replenish those.”

As part of the borough’s observance of Arbor Day, O’Brien urged all borough residents to support efforts to protect trees and woodlands and to support Sayreville’s urban forestry program.

“Trees can reduce the erosion of our precious top soil by wind and water, cut heating and cooling cost, moderate the temperature, clean the air, produce oxygen, and provide habitat for wildlife,” O’Brien said. “Trees are a renewable resource giving us paper, wood for our homes, fuel for our fires and countless other wood products. Trees in our [borough] increase property values, enhance the economic vitality of business areas and beautify our community.”

In addition to the proclamation acknowledging April 26 as Arbor Day, O’Brien read a proclamation acknowledging the month of March as as Youth Art Month and reported that Rittenhouse was active in the Art High program. O’Brien stated that the program allows middle and high school students to receive higher training once a week in the art form they are interested in.

“It’s really a wonderful program,” O’Brien said. “I can’t say enough great things about it. It’s helped so many Sayreville students who are interested to further develop their talents in their choice of artistic fields.”

Councilman Dave McGill also praised Rittenhouse for his work as a historian.

“Arthur is a first grade historian, which he knows I am also,” McGill said. “He’s a native son and I hope everyone realizes because history is my thing, what a great thing he does for this borough.”