Meadow Lakes was awarded the 2018 Green Communities Achievement Award from the New Jersey Forest Service, the New Jersey Community Forestry Council, and the New Jersey Tree Foundation. The award recognizes the promotion of urban forestry and the innovative approach to stewardship of increasingly diverse tree collections.
From our inception, Meadow Lakes was constructed with an eye toward maintaining residents’ connectedness with nature. Countless studies have shown a connection to nature is critical for wellness and our community strives to give our residents that tranquil connection.
Meadow Lakes is home to the Robert A. Winters Arboretum, the only CCRC to attain international accreditation as a level II arboretum. Our diverse collection of approximately 5,000 trees has drastically grown from 170 unique species, to over 400 hundred in the last 11 years.
Our residents benefit from our arboretum in a myriad of ways. They and their families enjoy many opportunities to get outside, socialize, exercise and take in the wonders of nature. We use our own local, organic honey from bees we keep on the property in our dining venues, and residents and their families love visiting with our goats who organically remove invasive brush from some of our woodlands.
Our commitment to the environment goes beyond our tree collections and our reach extends beyond our borders. We secured private funding and are working with regulatory authorities on innovative floating wetlands to clean and remove toxins and pollutants from downstream neighbors.
We are also working with the NJ Forest Service to propagate some very special native but rare trees. The seed is collected from our trees that show superior disease resistance and are then grown at the state nursery. Once the seedlings are large enough, they are then distributed throughout the state.
We have created and expanded relationships with outside organizations to provide outreach and education to professionals and homeowners alike. By providing outreach to local schools throughout central New Jersey, we emphasize the importance of trees and urban forestry, and work to instill an appreciation for trees in New Jersey’s youngest residents.
We also provide guest-lectures at Rutgers University each year and offer educational tours for garden clubs, landscape architects and designers.
We are proud to be this year’s recipient of the Green Communities Award and will continue our efforts to improve the horticultural world and better the lives and wellness of our residents and community at large.