On Friday, April 29, 2022, Toll Gate Grammar School celebrated Arbor Day under sunny skies. Forty-five first graders and their teachers, Ms. Regan and Ms. Nelson, helped Shade Tree Committee members plant and water a Kwanzan Cherry tree on South Main Street. Each child received a tree cookie (a sliced portion of a tree) and a coloring book. The children shared poems they had written, and Mayor James Davy read the Arbor Day proclamation.

This celebration not only teaches our elementary school students how to plant and care for trees, it also grants Pennington Borough its Tree City USA designation for the 34th year. Started in 1976 by the Arbor Day Foundation, this program helps communities maintain and grow their tree cover, and show their commitment to the mission of environmental change.

Here are a few of the advantages of having a flourishing urban forest:

  • Trees help absorb the sounds of traffic in urban areas by 40%.
  • Neighborhoods with trees are seven to nine degrees cooler than those without.
  • Trees reduce energy costs up to 25% by shading buildings and protecting them from winter winds.
  • Homes with trees have higher property values.
  • Green space plays a major role in improving mental and physical health.
  • Planting and maintaining trees absorbs carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, mitigating the effects of climate change.

Contributed by Pennington resident Cecile Vidican

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