Friends of Manchester Trees Celebrates 50th Anniversary


Last month the Friends of Manchester Trees (FOMT) marked its 50th anniversary with a gala soiree at “Eaglis,” the home of Elizabeth and Stuart Moore. 

The historic home and naturalized landscape were a fitting location to host a gathering for a committed group that recognizes that trees have an essential role in protecting the environment. 

FOMT was founded in 1973 to address the decimation by Dutch Elm Disease of Manchester’s magnificent tree canopy.  While only a few of the giant Elms were saved, the organization’s mission turned to planting new trees to restore those that were lost.  FOMT is now the primary source of funding for new trees, a critical component of our town’s infrastructure.  In addition, for the past 31 years the organization has enabled Manchester to be designated as a Tree City USA under the Arbor Day Foundation. 

The evening program began with Jody Morse, the newly elected president, who welcomed and thanked members for their support.  She explained that her goal was to ensure that FOMT continued its important work for another 50 years, and she asked everyone to spread the word to their friends and neighbors that FOMT needs new members and volunteers to help fulfill its mission.  She closed by saying, “The value of trees to the quality of our environment, in the face of a changing climate, makes our work and your support more important than ever.” 

The featured speaker for the evening, Samantha Richardson, is a horticulturist and data scientist at the historic Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge.  Samantha explained its “citizen-scientist” program drives much of the data collection and analysis performed on the 5,500 trees at the 175-acre property.  This analysis allows them to follow an urban forestry plan that can adapt to a changing climate.  Samantha ended her talk by challenging FOMT to collaborate across various citizen groups and town government departments to ensure the success of our mission to have a healthy and beautiful environment in our town.   

The work of the Friends of Manchester Trees goes on, as it looks forward to its next 50 years of planting and caring for trees in Manchester-by-the-Sea.


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