John Hall, Elected Officials, and Girl Scouts Honored On Arbor Day

John Hall, Founder and Executive Director of the Jonah Center speaking at the Arbor Day Ceremony in Middletown on April 30.

On Arbor Day, April 30, Middletown’s Urban Forestry Commission recognized the contributions of John Hall and the Jonah Center for successful initiatives to fund tree-planting by the Urban Forestry Commission and Public Works Department. A London plane tree will be planted on Main Street in Middletown in honor of John’s service to the community.

The Urban Forestry Commission also honored with new tree plantings: Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz; State Senator Matt Lesser; former State Representative Joseph Serra; State Representative Quentin Phipps; State Representative Brandon Chafee; and Girl Scouts of America Troop 62838 led by Jennifer Tortora, who raised money to plant a tree in the arboretum on Long Lane.

At the ceremony, Urban Forestry Commission Chairperson Jane Harris cited the Jonah Center’s “Replace Our Trees” campaign in 2020 that raised $20,000 in private donations for new trees in Middletown and Portland. The campaign also resulted in a $50,000 per year increase in the City of Middletown’s tree-planting budget. Jane also mentioned that John, in his former role as the city’s Energy Coordinator, had arranged for incentive payments received through the Home Energy Solutions program to be directed to Urban Forestry’s tree-planting fund, generating approximately $2,000 in additional funds per year for tree-planting.

This year’s Arbor Day marks 31 years that Middletown has been recognized as a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation. The ceremony took place in the lovely yard and gardens of the Middlesex County Historical Society at 151 Main Street.