FirstEnergy Corp. plans to donate more than 1600 trees across its New Jersey service area this year, with approximately 1200 of those expected to be donated and planted by the end of May. This initiative is an important part of the company's efforts to reduce FirstEnergy's carbon footprint, promote responsible use of natural resources and further the advancement of sustainable practices.
Working with local community organizations, employees of FirstEnergy and Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L), a FirstEnergy subsidiary, volunteer to plant the donated trees, which include different species of maple, cedar and white oak, among others. With their expertise, the trees are placed in locations that are safely away from power lines and other utility infrastructure.
So far this year, more than 400 trees have been planted at the Girls Scouts of the Jersey Shore's Camp Sacajawea in Farmingdale (Monmouth County); 250 trees have been planted in Lafayette (Sussex County) in tandem with NORWESCAP, a local non-profit focused on low-income housing; and 225 trees have been planted in Jenny Jump State Forest (Warren County) in coordination with the N.Y.-N.J. Trail Conference. Additional planting events have taken place in Manalapan, Atlantic Highlands and Hillsborough.
FirstEnergy and JCP&L have also teamed up with Fulfill, a foodbank in Monmouth County, and Newton's Project Self Sufficiency to plant more than 120 fruit trees. The apples, pears, peaches and nectarines harvested from these trees, which are expected to bear fruit within the next three years, will be distributed to low-income individuals and families through the organizations.
More events are planned for the fall, including 350 trees that will be planted along with the Hunterdon Land Trust in Flemington.
"Planting trees is an important part of our commitment to sustainability," said James Fakult, president of FirstEnergy's New Jersey operations.
Since April 2021, FirstEnergy has donated and planted more than 17,000 trees throughout its five-state service territory. The company is on track to plant more than 14,000 additional trees this spring. Tree-planting efforts are led by local Green Teams, groups of employees at each of FirstEnergy's 10 electric companies that volunteer their time and talents to develop and support environmental initiatives. JCP&L launched FirstEnergy's first Green Team in 2018.
JCP&L's environmental initiatives, including advanced recycling programs, pollinator habitats, the introduction of hybrid bucket trucks and more, have earned the company recognition as the first and only electric utility named to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Sustainable Business Registry, as well as awards from the N.J. DEP, Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey and others.