The Ewing Environmental Commission has worked continuously to “improve the public tree resource by acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to manage a safe, beneficial and sustainable community forest, and then implement them.” Specific major objectives of the EEC include the completion of an inventory of all trees within the township, identification and planting of additional trees in the open space areas of Ewing and also identification of areas of conflict between township sidewalks and individuals in the tree canopy. They will be the advisory agency for community trees on municipal streets, rights-of-way, parks, or other properties.
In 2012 Ewing suffered unprecedented damage to the tree canopy in its public parks as a result of the late July microburst and Hurricane Sandy. Our current tree canopy coverage is 27.4%, below the state average of 40%. That’s because we’re very developed, with little open space remaining. Ewing has applied for Community Support Incentive Program (CSIP) grant monies to help start repair to the tree canopy with the goal of approaching the statewide average and would like to plant 200 trees per year. Trees to be replanted will be concentrated in those Ewing parks which suffered the most damage: Banchoff and Moody Parks.
Tree Benefit Calculator
Believe it or not, you can calculate the value that trees add to your home landscape and the environment. They provide numerous environmental values such as air cleansing, reduction in storm water runoff, carbon sequestration and providing canopy and habitat for wildlife. They also bring us financial benefits such as raising property values and reducing energy costs. To quantify the benefits to your home landscape check out the National Tree Benefit Calculator from Casey Trees in Washington, DC; you may be surprised at what you learn.
Finally, trees impart numerous social and human benefits that are not so easily quantified. We wait almost breathlessly for the bright young green of the new leaves on our trees in the spring. We naturally head for the cool spot under a tree to get relief from the sun on a hot summer day. We so appreciate their brilliant autumnal display that a whole industry has arisen out of it. Formally with a planned trip, or informally with a quiet walk, leaf peeping allows us to soak up the last vestiges of their autumn glory each fall.
We appreciate trees for their beauty and how they make us feel at one with nature. We step under a canopy of trees and we feel more serene and peaceful. We love our old tree lined streets and slow down to appreciate them. We band together to save a favored old tree that adds to the history of our area. So while many of their benefits may be quantified, there are so many that are incalculable. We suggest that you do yourself and coming generations a favor and plant a tree. We’ll all feel better and thank you for it.
Community Forestry Plan
In 2011 the EEC published Ewing’s Community Forestry Master Plan 2012 – 2016: An Action Plan for Community Forestry in cooperation with New Jersey DEP. Its stated mission was to “To work continuously to improve the public tree resource by acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to manage a safe, beneficial and sustainable community forest, and then implement them.”
Goals established in this plan include:
- A hazard tree mitigation and maintenance program including the identification and removal of the most hazardous trees in the township and training of Department of Public Works crews for early pruning cycle work
- Institution of a comprehensive volunteer and staff training program from the Shade Tree Federation for Ewing Township staff persons and volunteers, as well as all EEC volunteers. This training should be continued and maintained as approved.
- Institution of a Street Tree Inventory System by writing of a successful CSIP grant. (I-tree’s storm Damage Assessment will be considered) and partnering with Mercer County to assess the hazard trees along County ROW’s within Ewing Township.
- Initiation of a community tree planting program following the successful CSIP Grant and drafting and publishing a preferred tree planting list.
- The research of, writing and adoption of a Community Tree Ordinance. (Some of this has already been accomplished in the Landscape portion of the Master Plan.)
The Township Environmental Commission works to increase the technical capacity of the Tree Management Program through training, allowing the Township to better manage the existing tree resource and to assist in correctly planting the next generation of trees.
Per the CFMP, the DEP requires an EEC member and township staff person to annually attend core-training offered by the NJ Shade Tree Federation.
Tree of the Month
The EEC has worked to raise public awareness as to the care of and benefit of trees through it’s Tree of the Month series published in the Ewing Observer since 2011. Check out some of the wonderful species to choose from with the EEC’s Tree of the Month series.