In 1938, a short-lived organization that culminated 11 years of active service in the care and supervision of Greenwich trees ended. The name of the organization was the Greenwich Tree Association and it was founded in 1927 when there were only two garden clubs and no full-time tree warden. Its mandate was to develop a public interest in the trees of Greenwich. Their first meeting included representatives from the following clubs: the Riverside Garden Club, Riverside Civic Club, Greenwich College Club, Woman’s Club of Greenwich, Travel Club, League of Women Voters and the Sound Beach Garden Club (with the Greenwich Garden Club expressing interest and cooperation). The members adopted a constitution that set forth: to cooperate with agencies of the town, county and state in preserving roadside trees; to arouse the interest of the citizens of Greenwich in the care of existing trees and in further planting; and to undertake practical work to further the first two initiatives and adopt a forward looking policy in the interest of parks and playgrounds.
One particular address given by Mrs. Hugh F. Fox, president of the Greenwich Tree Association, resonates equally today as it did over 80 years ago. “We know that no cure can be effected until there is a diagnosis of the disease. In Greenwich we have conditions similar to those existing all over the State. We have a hundred and sixty miles of roads, many of them bordered by priceless trees, with their declared enemies at every turn. We have the fiendish Road Commissioner with his passion for taking the curves out of the road. We have the speed hound clamoring for the removal of everything that obstructs his favorite view – the plain flat road-bed. Gas and watermains(sic) are destroying our trees underground and telephone light and power companies take the place of the combat airplane overhead. Our legitimate enemies are always with us in the form of bugs and worms and germs. How are we to combat all these enemies?”
Over the next decade, the list of accomplishments by the Greenwich Tree Association included: beautifying a spot at the Greenwich Railroad Station, feeding the elm trees on both sides of the Post Road from Deerfield Drive to Put’s Hill, planting trees near the local schools and at the foot of Byram Hill near the Thomas Lyon homestead, cooperating with the Connecticut tercentenary garden project in the planting at Round Hill Bridge over the Merritt Parkway, and the showdown of trying to save the trees along Greenwich Avenue. Ultimately, the Greenwich Tree Association lost the fight to save the trees along Greenwich Avenue due to its widening but they did prevail in the first appropriation by the Town of Greenwich (1929) of $1,500 for the planting of trees that would be suitable for the designated location and soil.”
—Anne H. Young
“The seed was planted” for the Conservancy in April 2006 with a program held at the Bruce Museum entitled “Clear Cut: Coming to a Neighborhood Near You”? The themes of that program spearheaded by the League of Conservation Voters and co-sponsored by the Town, the League of Women Voters, the Bruce Museum and 15 other community organizations, focused on the many benefits of community trees and measures that can be taken to preserve and enhance them.