New Jersey’s early colonial history was involved with that of New York, of which it was a part. One year after the Dutch surrender to England in 1664, New Jersey was organized as an English colony. In 1676 the colony was divided, and New Jersey became a united crown colony in 1702, administered by the royal governor of New York. Finally, in 1738, New Jersey was separated from New York under its own royal governor. Because of its key location between New York City and Philadelphia, New Jersey saw much fighting during the American Revolution.
New Jersey was declared a state in June 1776.
Although highly urbanized, New Jersey still provides a diversity of natural regions. Birch, beech, hickory and elm grow in the state, along with black locust, red maple, and 20 varieties of oak; common shrubs include the spicebush, staggerbush, and mountain laurel. Six plant species are now considered threatened or endangered, including the American chaffseed and small whorled pogonia.
Among mammals indigenous to New Jersey are the white-tailed deer, black bear, gray and red foxes, raccoon, opossum, striped skunk, eastern gray squirrel, eastern chipmunk, and common cottontail. Declining or rare animals include the whippoorwill, hooded warbler, eastern hognose snake, salamander, and northern kingfish. 17 animal species are listed as threatened or endangered, including 4 species of turtle, the Indiana bat, bald eagle, shortnose sturgeon, and three species of whale.
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Office of Climate and Energy coordinates programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, as well as programs designed to help New Jersey become resilient to climate impacts and adapt to those impacts that are unavoidable. The New Jersey Global Warming Response Act adopted statewide limits on greenhouse gas emissions.
New Jersey Clean Energy Program provides incentives to encourage more efficient energy usage and state electricity generation using renewable energy sources. The program offers a comprehensive suite of programs and makes clean energy technologies affordable and accessible to residential customers, businesses, schools, and local governments.
The New Jersey’s Cool Cities Initiative was launched to green New Jersey’s larger cities by planting trees to create cooler, more comfortable urban environments, reduce air pollution, reduce the demand for electricity and improve urban quality of life overall.
The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Green Homes Office works to increase the use of innovative green design and building technologies, raise building standards and create a consumer demand for efficient, healthy and environmentally responsible high-performance homes. A primary focus is on energy efficiency.
Other state initiatives are: recycling products; purchasing energy efficient, renewable energy, low toxicity products and alternatives to products that contain persistent bioaccumulative toxics. Through energy audits, bulk purchasing of energy, increased use of Energy Star compliant products and implementation of energy efficiency practices at state facilities, New Jersey saves millions of dollars.