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About Friends of Trees
In 1978 our two founders, Alice Hiscock and Larry Munson, began seeking interest and donations from town residents to fund the planting of trees. In 1981 Friends of Trees planted 13 trees on Main Street, Crowell Road and Routed 28. Since then we have planted hundreds of trees on streets, in parks, and throughout town.
Trees are part of Chatham’s history. When Samuel de Champlain entered Chatham Harbor in 1606 he found the countryside covered with walnut trees, oaks and cedars. Some 50 years later, William Nickerson reported hillsides covered with great oak forests and swamps filled with gigantic cedars.
As populations grew, industry of many sorts followed and exacted a heavy toll on the Cape’s forests—clearing for farming and grazing, then ship building, then fires for salt works and foundries all required massive amounts of wood. 200 years after Champlain marveled at the forests, much of the Cape lay barren of woodlands. Edward Hitchcock, a Massachusetts geologist, wrote in 1847 that while on a trip to the Lower Cape he felt that he was in the depths of the Arabian desert—a bare, treeless landscape.
In 1900 there wasn’t a tree in sight throughout town. As town’s people realized their loss, they planted many trees over the next 20 years; many of which were elms. Fifty years later, Dutch elm disease devastated the elm population in Chatham, as it did across the northeast. Once again, downtown was vacant of trees. This was the nexus for the founding of Friends of Trees.
Ever since then we have been planting trees with the support of many generous people who appreciate the beauty trees add to Chatham, already an extraordinarily beautiful jewel on Cape Cod. Many trees are planted in honor or in memory of a friend or loved one with a corner stone and plaque acknowledging the gift.
Friends of Trees, with the help of the Chatham Park and Recreation Department, endeavors to keep our tree inventory, a town asset, strong and healthy. And to keep Chatham a green and beautiful place.
Friends of Trees is a 501c-3 governed by a Board of Director’s and supported fully by donations.
Friends of Trees Board of Directors