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

Trees for Schools Grant Awards Announced

Twenty-three public school districts, two public charter schools, and nine public colleges and universities have been awarded $4.55 million to plant trees on campuses across the state under the Trees for Schools program.

Grants range from $12,000 to $250,000 and will fund costs associated with planning, site preparation, trees, planting, watering, monitoring, and related expenses over a three-year period. Together, these projects will help mitigate climate change and its impacts through the planting of over 3,000 trees across the state. In many cases, the grants will benefit neighborhoods that are devoid of trees and experience elevated temperatures due to excess pavement. They will improve the learning environment and offer educational opportunities.

The Trees for Schools program is a collaboration of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), The College of New Jersey, and Sustainable Jersey. Due to the overwhelming response to the grant program, DEP is exploring options for an additional round of funding in 2024.

Grant Awards

Atlantic County
Galloway Township Public Schools, $110,893

Bergen County
Bergen Community College, $250,000; Bergenfield Public Schools, $12,346; Carlstadt-East Rutherford Regional School District, $37,675; Closter Public Schools, $47,940; Garfield Public School District, $86,042; River Edge Public Schools, $137,558

Camden County
Audubon Public School District, $106,100; Camden County College, $167,550; Cherry Hill Public Schools, $250,000; Collingswood Board of Education, $71,225; Rutgers University – Camden, $72,139

Essex County
Belleville Board of Education, $249,639; Bloomfield Township School District, $250,000; East Orange Public Schools, $227,477; New Jersey Institute of Technology, $188,554 Philip's Academy Charter School, $149,682; Rutgers University – Newark, $100,291 South Orange-Maplewood School District, $25,342

Gloucester County
Clayton Public School District, $21,643; Rowan University, $168,707; Westville School District $12,569

Hudson County
Hudson County Community College, $217,400; Jersey City Public Schools, $249,752

Mercer County
Paul Robeson Charter School, $158,011

Middlesex County
Dunellen Public Schools, $68,164; Edison Township Board of Education, $54,021; Rutgers Gardens, $249,385; Rutgers University - New Brunswick, $161,706

Monmouth County
Long Branch Board of Education, $109,700; Manasquan Public School District, $99,690

Passaic County
Bloomingdale School District, $71,800; Paterson Public Schools, $250,000

Somerset County
Somerville Board of Education, $119,946

The Trees for Schools grant recipients will now work with the project team to develop their tree project design and will participate in tree-planting workshops. The tree plantings are scheduled for spring 2024.
The K-12 grant recipients have an additional opportunity for student engagement with these projects to support the New Jersey Climate Change Education Student Learning Standards, which incorporate climate change education across content areas.


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. 


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.