In the spring of 1997, a 25 year old Little Rock native, John Baker, approached two friends with an idea. Baker had recently returned from schooling in downtown St.Louis, Missouri, and he was dismayed by the almost total lack of trees found along its downtown neighborhood streets. Baker shared hisexperience in St. Louis with his friends, Marie Friend and Billy Wagner,also Little Rock natives. Baker, Friend, and Wagner all agreed that oneof the greatest things going for Little Rock was its natural beauty and particularly the great number of trees found within its neighborhoods.However, the three also agreed that someone needed to assure that their hometown's downtown neighborhood streets never met the same fate as what Baker had seen in the downtown neighborhoods of St. Louis. From their idea, Tree Streets was born.
On June 13, 1997, Tree Streets, Inc. was incorporated by Baker,
Friend, and Wagner as an Arkansas non-profit corporation under the
Domestic Nonprofit Corporation Act of 1993. Tree Streets gained
501(c)(3) tax exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service in July,
1997. Tree Streets' mission and purpose are simple: to plant
appropriate, long-living trees between the sidewalk and the curb along
the streets of Little Rock's downtown neighborhoods to provide, among
other things, decades of beauty, shade, energy-savings for adjacent
residents, and habitat for birds and wildlife.
In the fall of 1997, Tree Streets planted its first tree (a red
maple) at the southwest corner of the intersection of Marshall and 17th
Streets. Its first planting season saw 26 trees planted along the 1700
and 1800 blocks of Marshall Street. Since, 1997, Tree Streets has
planted over 600 trees (oaks, maples, poplars, and elms) along more than
100 blocks of city streets. In the fall of 2003, Tree Streets planted
its 500th tree (a red maple) at the southwest corner of the intersection
of Park and 16th Streets, across the street from historic Little Rock Central High School.
Present and Past Board Members of Tree Streets:
Jennifer Keith Ferguson
Joe van den Heuvel
Past Presidents of Tree Streets: