ABOUT US
THE FOUNDATION

Savannah Tree Foundation protects and grows Chatham County’s urban forest through tree planting, community engagement, and advocacy.


Trees are one of Chatham County’s most treasured natural resources. Beyond their beauty and cultural significance, the impacts of trees are far-reaching and compounding, spanning from economic benefits to health improvements to climate change resilience. Trees are woven into almost every aspect of our lives.


While it is easy to take our live oaks and magnolias for granted, our trees are facing an increasing number of natural and man-made threats. Sprawling construction, increased severe weather, encroaching salt water levels, and a lack of funding for proper maintenance all contribute to tree loss in our region. If we are to continue enjoying the beauty and benefits of our trees, we must protect the trees we have and plant the trees of tomorrow. Properly cared for, our urban forest will create a safer and healthier community. Our trees will shape our future.

HISTORY

Founded in 1982, Savannah Tree Foundation is an organization of firsts.

SHOW TIMELINE

1982

FIRST SEEDS ARE SOWN FOR WHAT WOULD BECOME THE SAVANNAH TREE FOUNDATION

Lynda Beam, Suzie Williams, and Page Hungerpillar begin meeting every Monday to discuss environmental issues. Initially dubbed the “Monday Morning Mothers of the Earth,” this group would soon evolve into the Savannah Tree Foundation.

1984

FIRST ADVOCACY VICTORY

Savannah Tree Foundation achieves first advocacy victory by protecting many significant live oaks in the median of historic White Bluff Road during the road widening project.

1985

first and only conservation easement for a single tree in the United States

Savannah Tree Foundation secured the first and only conservation easement for a single tree in the United States, agreeing to provide maintenance for the Candler Oak in perpetuity.

1992

the first “State of the Trees” report is presented to the community

STF presents the first “State of the Trees” report to the community and elected officials. Based on surveys of key stakeholders, the report identified the need to recognize trees as an integral part of the community infrastructure.

1994

special designation of Bacon Park Forest

STF successfully advocates for the special designation of Bacon Park Forest, an exceptional 32-acre wooded area off Skidaway Road, as a passive park. These efforts save the maritime forest from redevelopment as a soccer complex.

1994

national arbor day foundation project award

STF becomes the first organization in the nation to use satellite imagery to document canopy changes in an urban area, earning the National Arbor Day Foundation Project Award.

1998

Urban Forest component of Emergency Management Plan is established

STF works with Chatham County’s Emergency Management Agency to develop an urban forest component of the emergency management plan, a partnership which later served as a model for the USDA Forest Service

2006

2,000 trees planted

STF plants its 2,000th tree, including over 20 species of trees across 23 sites in Chatham County.

2011

“A Guide for Planting & Caring for Trees in Coastal Georgia” is published

Funded by International Paper, STF publishes and distributes “A Guide for Planting & Caring for Trees in Coastal Georgia” to help property owners understand best practices in tree care.

2014

chatham county canopy assessment is published

STF publishes the 2014 Chatham County Canopy Assessment, identifying 5 areas of impact to help grow our tree canopy: environmental equity, public health, water resources, parking lots, and schools.

2018

Georgia Arbor Day tree planting program is initiated

STF starts a program to plant trees in all nine Chatham municipalities on Georgia Arbor Day to engage advocates across the County.

2020

new branding and mission statement unveiled

STF reveals a new logo and updated mission statement. The new brand highlights the community-wide impacts of Chatham County’s urban forest and represents the interconnected nature of our work, our trees, and our future.

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WHO WE ARE
STF STAFF

ZOE RINKER

Executive Director

JAKE HENRY

Field Manager

HALEY GARY

Office Administrator

CAROLINE DARUNA

Administrative Assistant

ZOE RINKER

Executive Director

JAKE HENRY

Field Manager

HALEY GARY

Office Administrator

CAROLINE DARUNA

Administrative Assistant

BOARD MEMBERS

Kat Nelson

BOARD PRESIDENT

Pitch Powers

VICE PRESIDENT/TREASURER

Eleanor Rhangos

SECRETARY

Paul Daniels

PAST PRESIDENT

Benjamin Baxter

Matthew Hallett

Inan Isik

William Haws

Ellen Harris

Shem Kendrick

Lesley McDaniel

Drew Ruttinger

Jody Trumbull

WANT TO BE A PART OF OUR GROWTH?

JOIN THE TEAM

Thank you for your interest in joining the Savannah Tree Foundation team! There are no current openings. If you are interested in being notified about future opportunities, please email your resume to

info@savannahtree.com

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OUR PARTNERS
VIEW

CORPORATE SPONSORS

INDIVIDUAL SPONSORS

URBAN FOREST SPONSORS

Mark & Patt Suwyn

Sonny & Dale Thorpe

CANOPY SPONSORS

Anonymous

CROWN SPONSORS

Dale & Lila Critz

Eleanor Rhangos & Dan Bromstad

Patricia McLeod

TRUNK SPONSORS

Lynda Beam

Kim Bockius-Suwyn & Dan Suwyn

H. Mitchell & Polly Dunn

Steve & Carter Eagle

J.C. Lewis Foundation

Angus & Leslie Littlejohn

Maura Sovchen

Annie Rockwell

ROOTS SPONSORS

Benjamin Baxter

Bell-Barnett Family Fund

Barbara & Charlie Cortese

Dolores Engle

Jeffrey & Bonnie Gentes

Karen Black Jenkins

Jolly Foundation

John G. Kennedy Foundation

Chris & Nita Ann Klein

David & Gail Knopf

Ron Melander

Seeds and Weeds Garden Club

Cathy and Philip Solomons

The Tornroos Family

Suzanne Williams

LEAF SPONSORS

David Breithaupt

Deborah & Asa Davis

Elizabeth Dubose & Mark Frissell

Reed & Meredith Dulany

Gregory & Ana Freiwald

Russell Fries

Ruth McMullin

Samuel & Kim Murray

Susannah Pedigo

Zachary Thomas

Anna & Wiley Wasden

MUNICIPAL PARTNERS