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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 Route 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 townspeople 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.

old picture of a town with small trees
Courtesy of Chatham Historical Society

Since then we have been planting trees with the support of many generous people who appreciate the beauty trees add to Chatham. Many trees are planted in honor or in memory of a friend or loved one.

With the help of the Chatham Park and Recreation Department, Friends of Trees, endeavors to keep our tree inventory, a town asset, strong and healthy. And to keep Chatham an extraordinarily beautiful jewel on Cape Cod.

Friends of Trees is a 501c-3 governed by a Board of Directors and supported fully by donations.

Our Mission

Friends of Trees is committed to improving and maintaining the community’s green infrastructure by planting, caring for, and advocating for the protection of trees in Chatham’s public parks and streetscapes; educating the public about the vital role of trees, and supporting local non-profits and schools that share our mission.

Friends of Trees is a non-profit organization governed by a volunteer board of directors. Our mission is funded entirely by private donations from our generous community.

women kissing tree

Friends of Trees Board of Directors

  • DeeDee Holt, President
  • Oonie Burley, Vice President
  • Tom Quill, Treasurer
  • Ann Hasney, Secretary
  • Kristin Andres
  • Kerry Brown
  • Sherrie Burson
  • Dann Jung

Emeritus Board:

  • Peg Black
  • Anne Foster *
  • Lee Kimball
  • Anne O'Brien *


Advisory Committee:

  • Robert Faley, Chatham DPW Director
  • Craig Schneeberger, Bartlett Tree Experts
  • Chuck McQuaid