Demonstrating the ongoing commitment to sustainability and reducing Burlington County’s carbon footprint, the Burlington County Bridge Commission celebrated the successful completion of its second annual Tree Planting Initiative.
During the past two years, the Burlington County Bridge Commission has planted over 200 trees throughout Burlington County. These trees play an essential role in supporting local wildlife and the natural environment, preventing erosion, and regulating temperature and moisture.
“Burlington County is proud to be one of New Jersey’s greenest counties and this initiative to add hundreds more trees to our communities will further improve our county’s natural beauty and environment,” said Burlington County Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson, the liaison to the Bridge Commission and Department of Economic Development. “The Bridge Commission and its leadership deserve praise for their forward-thinking actions to create a clean, sustainable future for Burlington County’s residents, businesses and towns.”
"The Commission is committed to being a good environmental steward," added Burlington County Bridge Commission Chairman Matt Riggins. "We are proud to partner with our municipalities to plant trees and make our communities more sustainable places."
This fall, the Commission partnered with JMA Landscaping/Popes Garden to plant 100 trees in nine Burlington County municipalities: Bordentown City, Delanco, Florence, Hainesport, Medford, Mount Laurel, Riverton, Westampton, and Willingboro.
In 2022, the Commission partnered with Laurel Oak Garden Center to plant 100 trees in Evesham, Maple Shade, Moorestown, and Southampton. The Commission also continues to plant trees at their administration buildings in Palmyra and Burlington.
The trees are each approximately 5-feet tall and include a variety of different species, including crape myrtles, dogwoods, eastern red cedars, heritage birches, red oaks, river birches and sugar maples.
State Senator Troy Singleton applauded the Bridge Commission initiative, saying it benefits the county’s environment and residents’ quality of life.
“Trees are vitally important to our air quality, our water systems and our overall environment. They also provide a picturesque background that makes our communities more attractive and welcoming,” said Senator Singleton. “This initiative exemplifies the smart, innovative government we have in Burlington County. I thank the Bridge Commission’s leadership and staff for performing this outstanding service for our current and future residents.”
The Tree Planting Initiative is just one of the ways the Commission is working to reduce its environmental impact. The Commission also uses energy-efficient lighting and a fleet of hybrid vehicles.
The Bridge Commission also partners with the Burlington County Parks System to jointly manage the Palmyra Cove Nature Center, a 250-acre preserve along the Delaware River. The site was formerly a dumping ground for dredge spoils, but it is now hailed as an “urban oasis” because of its varied habitat and wildlife.
In 2021, the Bridge Commission opened a community garden at the park. Residents from across the county help care for and maintain the garden and harvest some of the fresh vegetables and herbs grown there.
"We are always looking for new ways to reduce our environmental impact," Chairman Riggins said. "We believe that it is important to be good stewards of the environment, and we are committed to doing our part to protect it."
The Commission encourages municipalities across the county to apply to become a partner in the tree program again when it opens next spring.