This is the second year the NJMC is donating trees.
"This is one of the initiatives we're working towards," said NJMC spokesman Chris Gale. "We're looking towards improving the marshes, but also improving the urban and suburban environment where people live.
The donations will be of Green Ash (fraxinus pennsylvanica) trees, which are native to the United States.
"They are great street trees to use along sidewalk plantings, and are great shade trees," said NJMC Landscape Coordinator Ian McDermott. "They tolerate certain dried and sandy soils so you can plant it along an alley or street. They are adaptable to many soils and can withstand moisture and wind."
Last year, Secaucus planted the trees by the new library and by Mill Creek trail. This year, they will be planted along the new river walk.
"Our goal is to get that whole area greened up and landscaped," said Public Works Director Mike Gonnelli. "We'll probably put benches near the trees so they can provide shade. They'll also provide a habitat for the wildlife along the river."
The trees to be donated are two years old and come from a location in New Jersey. They have a one and a quarter inch caliper, or width, and are eight feet tall to start out. Green Ash trees can grow to a height of 60 feet, with a crown of 30 feet and a 12- to 15-inch caliper. Green Ash can grow up to 12 to 18 inches per growing season, which lasts from March to September.
Green Ash is one of the first trees to turn yellow and lose their leaves for the winter. Their leaves are compound, which means that they have seven leaflets per single stalk.
Aside from aesthetics, trees offer a number of benefits to a town's quality of life. The canopy of leaves provides shade, which is important because the hard asphalt and concrete surfaces of a suburban town can absorb and radiate heat. By shielding the streets, they keep the town cooler. They also buffer loud noise and their roots control erosion.
Since trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, they have a positive effect on air quality.
"It's all a net gain for neighborhood quality of life," said Gale. "We need to enhance the green spaces. We need to help the municipalities to enhance the green spaces in the built up areas as well as the open space. Green is not just a thing for animals."
The resolution to allot $21,000 for the tree donation will come before the NJMC at their April 16 commissioners meeting as part of their Municipal Assistance Program, which is designed to enhance the quality of life of Meadowlands residents. The NJMC has donated $5.4 million since its inception in December of 2002. Secaucus has received $17.4 million in grants aid and services, most of which came in over the last two years.
"If this initiative continues to be a successful boost to our municipalities' ongoing efforts to keep their towns beautiful and healthy, it will also increase awareness of the importance of looking after our urban greenery," said NJMC Executive Director Bob Ceberio. "We not only care about preserving and enhancing the green spaces in our wetlands, we also care about the green places that are tucked in and around the built up areas of our urban wilderness."
Secaucus will have an Arbor Day ceremony at 9 a.m. on April 30 at Clarendon School. Gonnelli hopes to have the trees planted before that, however. They will be delivered on April 20.
Gonnelli also expects the town to accept a $5,000 grant for the dedication of a bird club for Clarendon School students.