JERSEY CITY, NJ—In the Summer of 2016, the Trees of Jersey City took to twitter. Environmental artist Anne Percoco assigned Twitter accounts to Jersey City trees and recruited 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. (more #TreeSpeech videos here)
This collaboration has really inspired SJC and has been supported by numerous volunteers. The #TreeSpeech Project is a vehicle for environmental activism, education, and community engagement. Since #TreeSpeech is associated with the Jersey City OpenTreeMap (JC OTM), it furthered 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!
Creator Anne Percoco shared her vision at the beginning of the project: “Both poetic and political, #TreeSpeech 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 act as creative collaborators and authors, tweeting Tree jokes, quotes, and drawings. Updates about Trees' health and seasonal changes are shared and educational information about the benefits of Trees and other Green Infrastructure spirals. The #TreeSpeech hashtag tracks this dialog.
Sign up to Tweet:
Chose a tree. It should be near your home or work, or along your daily route.
Choose a name for your tree. Create a twitter account in this format: @(Name)TheTree. You can now start tweeting! Use #TreeSpeech in every tweet.
Suggested donation is $15 per tree, to cover project costs. This is not required to participate, but it is appreciated!
If you have any questions, feel free to email us.
Example Tweet from @DannyTheTree in Jersey City Heights:
When I was small these power lines were no problem. Now I'm feeling a little cramped :( #TreeSpeech
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.