Trees for Schools:
Tree-planting Grants for New Jersey
Public Schools, Colleges, and Universities

The Trees for Schools program will provide $2.5 million in grants to New Jersey public school districts, county colleges, and state colleges and universities to fund the planting of trees on campuses across the state. 

Competitive grants of $10,000 to $500,000 will fund costs associated with planning, site preparation, trees, planting, watering, monitoring, and related expenses over a three-year period.

Apply Now

Applications are due on July 13, 2023, for spring 2024 plantings. 

In order to participate in this program, an applicant must upload documentation that it is authorized to apply for this grant by August 7, 2023.

Learn More  FAQ (Includes Unit Cost Guidelines)  Apply Now

Important Update to Application Authorization Requirement for School District Applicants:

If your school district wishes to apply for a grant, but it is not possible to obtain a Board of Education resolution in support of your application (see resolution template here) by August 7th, you may submit instead a signed letter from the Superintendent stating support for the proposal (see a sample letter here). Grant notifications will be made mid-September. If the district application is successful, it will be necessary to submit a Board resolution within 35 days of notification in order to move forward with the award.


Informational Webinar

Held on May 18

The webinar provided an overview of the program, highlighted the importance and benefits of tree-planting, explained how to select an appropriate site and develop a preliminary planting plan, demonstrated how to use the online application portal, and provided an opportunity for Q&A between attendees and program staff.

Watch the Recording    Download the Presentation

Why Plant Trees?

Trees are critically needed to meet national and state climate goals and improve the quality of life in New Jersey. Trees combat climate change by storing carbon they pull out of the atmosphere and mitigating the effects of rising temperatures and rainfall. Trees provide shade, habitat, beauty and educational opportunities; they filter pollutants from air and water, reduce stormwater runoff, and lower carbon emissions and costs by saving energy in buildings.

Involving students in planning, planting, and monitoring trees provides an opportunity for faculty to integrate project activities into the curriculum. Teachers in grades K-12 can make links to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards on climate change education, for example by engaging their students in learning about how trees can reduce energy costs or calculating carbon sequestration over time. The Trees for Schools program will foster positive connections between students and the trees in their community with the goal of cultivating an understanding of their role in environmental stewardship, and sustainability.

Project Funding

The program is funded through New Jersey’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multi-state, market-based program that establishes a regional cap on carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel power plants. Proceeds from cap auctions are used to fund programs to benefit the environment. Forty percent of the grant funding will be set aside for applicants located in overburdened communities, with preference given to schools with the lowest tree coverage and the highest coverage of impervious surface, such as paved areas, and buildings.


Contact Senior Researcher, Melanie McDermott at

Trees for Schools Partners

The Trees for Schools program is administered by the Sustainability Institute at The College of New Jersey in collaboration with Sustainable Jersey. It is made possible through the support of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.