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Friends of Madison Shade Trees
Madison, NJ 07940 (map)
Friends of Madison Shade Trees, Inc. (FMST) is a non-profit organization located in Madison, New Jersey. Our volunteer Trustees are committed to maintaining the beautiful canopy of mature street trees that line the community streets. With the help of private donations, fund raising, and grant awards we supplement the Borough of Madison’s Shade Tree Management Board. We have created and continue to maintain pocket parks and landscaped gardens on public property throughout Madison, The Rose City. FMST’s efforts ensure beautiful, healthy and native tree species for our enjoyment today and for generations to come.
* Plant Trees on Public Property
* Educate about the urban forest
* Support the Shade Tree Management Board
Words from the President of the Friends of the Madison Shade Trees, Inc.
We are a little nutty about trees! Over the last two decades, Friends of Madison Shade Trees has planted several hundred new trees and even more shrubs in the Borough, all on public property, using grants, donations from residents and businesses, proceeds from fund-raising efforts and in-kind services. The expense of planning, designing, purchasing, installation, project management and administration has all been absorbed by FMST (lots of volunteer hours!). We turn over each project to the landowner after an initial maintenance commitment for follow-up watering and long-range maintenance. of the finished project has been taken over by the Borough of Madison, or the beneficiary of our project, such as the schools, the library, senior citizen housing sites, etc.
Let me tell you a little about our history! In 1989 the Friends of Madison Shade Trees was created in order to assure needed funding to plant more trees in the Borough of Madison. Major Public Works projects had been proposed, especially reconstructing the downtown commuter parking lots, and the local Land Use ordinances required a commitment of landscaping, which was a costly factor, endangered by budget constraints.
At the same time, the protection of trees and accelerated planting of more trees had become a national concern, under the umbrella of the federal Small Business Administration. A 4-year national grant program was launched with the intent of paying for trees and prompting employment in landscaping industries. Unemployment in unskilled areas was a national concern, and the jobs created by the tree planting projects were seen as very beneficial.
Our group, FMST, was formed originally via the Madison Shade Tree Authority, an entity of the Borough, and the seated members of STA served as the organizing Board members. Our earliest efforts were successful because of the endorsement and support of key community interests: the school system, where Arbor Day was already a curriculum element, and Madison Rotary chapter, which was embarking on a long-range environmental commitment.
We were very lucky, and very determined! The Borough assisted us in forming a 501 (c)3, making us eligible to operate as a private non-profit organization. We were then most fortunate to attract a number of new Board Members who were keenly interested in the mission of our group. We invited people to work with us who had different skills, including local tree experts, people with fund-raising experience, some with out-reach expertise and some with business skills. Our new Board members rarely number more than 14.
Within this Website you will learn about the different landscaping projects we have undertaken and about the ways we have tried to help educate our community about the importance of planting trees in Madison. We are encouraged by the results of our work. It's wonderful to feel a part of the Rose Garden Park, and to watch the trees in the Commuter Parking Lots along Kings Road turn colors in the Fall, knowing that we chose them especially to look wonderful from the railroad tracks! Each year we participate in Arbor Day and May Day with the Shade Tree Management Board, the schools and Boro committees, celebrating with the Elementary Schools and others to help our young people appreciate and care for trees and town plantings.
Regularly we also appear at civic gatherings, invited to present information about our projects and the work of FMST. We have spoken before Madison Rotary, the Senior Citizen Drop-In gathering, and at Community Day at Drew University. We want you, and our larger audience, to realize that, without the efforts of FMST, the Borough of Madison would look very different!
If you looked at an aerial view of Madison in years past, you'd quickly notice the great loss of major shade trees along our network of roads. As the town has grown, and cars have increased, the perils of pollution and development have contributed to the decline of street trees. And when a huge tree dies and is replaced by a new one, the leaf cover of the new tree is so minimal, by comparison, that the character of the site changes. Obviously, if you multiply this effect by as many at 200 removals each year, and realize that the Borough of Madison has never been able to budget to replace every tree that needs to be removed, you wind up with gaps -- sometimes huge ones.
FMST recognized that it would have been a huge task for the Borough of Madison to both continue to invest in the replacement of street trees in a major way, while at the same time investing in the replacement of trees in the centers of our town where Public Works projects were proposed. We have forged a successful partnership, with the Borough Public Works Department, the Friends of Madison Train Station, the Garden Club of Madison and other volunteers who assist with maintenance of our landscape projects, such as Rose Garden Park. I invite you to explore the different project details in this Website, and we welcome your comments and inquiries!!
Judy Mullins, FMST President, 1989-1998, 2009-