JERSEY CITY, NJ—In the Summer of 2016, the Trees of Jersey City took to twitter. Environmental artist Anne Percoco is assigning Twitter accounts to Jersey City trees and recruiting residents to tweet, in the first person, from the Trees' perspectives. These “Tree Stories” will start a citywide conversation about caring for existing Trees and expanding the City's very deficient Tree Canopy.
This collaboration has really inspired SJC and has been supported by numerous volunteers. The project will be a vehicle for environmental activism, education, and community engagement. Since #TreeSpeech is associated with the Jersey City OpenTreeMap (JC OTM), it will further the crowdsourcing by citizens of important data collection about JC Trees. You can’t manage what you don’t measure and the JC OTM not only reports on Tree Inventory but reports on all the Eco-System Benefit Services that Trees provide to our community in financial cost savings terms, e.g., energy conserved, stormwater filtered, air quality improvements, carbon dioxide removed and stored. For example, with just the modest number of Trees that we have mapped so far (3,143) there is an annual monetized cost savings to Jersey City of $207,359 !
HELPFUL TIPS HERE ! Read before you start mapping :-)
Creator Anne Percoco shares her vision: “Both poetic and political, TREE SPEECH will form a virtual ecosystem of interconnected, communicative individuals. This will mirror the fact that Trees actually do share information and nutrients through an underground fungal network.”
Participants will act as creative collaborators and authors, tweeting Tree jokes, quotes, and drawings. Updates about Trees' health and seasonal changes will be shared and educational information about the benefits of Trees and other Green Infrastructure will spiral. The #TreeSpeech hashtag will track this dialog.
View JC's tree map in progress and add trees on your block at OpenTreeMap
Beatrice Cherry Tree @BeatriceTheTree, located on 3rd Street and Coles, tweeted:
Aren't you guys tired of this fall weather in May? I know I am! Luckily, a lot of #UrbanBirds find shelter between my leaves...#TreeSpeech
Danny the Tree @DannytheTree, located on Hutton Street in Jersey City Heights, tweeted:
When I was small these power lines were no problem. Now I'm feeling a little cramped :( #TreeSpeech
Why Does our Tree Canopy Matter?
Urban trees lower temperatures, utility costs, and building emissions substantially. They reduce stormwater runoff by absorbing thousands of gallons of rain each year. They help mitigate climate change impacts naturally and greatly improve our air quality and public health. The Jersey City Environmental Commission's July 2015 Tree Canopy Study recommends that our canopy coverage increase by 30,000 trees as a restorative measure. While local government has committed to planting 2,000 trees in parks over the next 5 years, more is needed and the community must help. TREE SPEECH would like to raise awareness of the dire need to maintain the City’s existing tree inventory and to plant more Street Trees.
Check out the URBAN FORESTRY links available on SJC's Resource page here.
BENEFITS OF TREES
Planting the right trees in the right locations in the right way, will restore our Tree Canopy (Jersey City now at 17% (includes inventory of dead or dying trees calculated against the original Jersey City Tree Canopy Study done in 2015: based on the regional location and size of our city, Jersey City tree canopy coverage should be at 44% !) and provide Green Infrastructure benefits across Jersey City.