The Alliance for Cape Fear Trees (ACFT) was created “to preserve, protect, and plant
trees in the Greater Wilmington Area and to enhance the quality of life for present and
future generations.” The Alliance was formed in December 2015 by members of the
Wilmington Tree Commission and is part of the Renaissance Wilmington Foundation.
Inspired by working with the City of Wilmington, the volunteers who formed
ACFT sought to further their efforts through advocacy, action and fund-raising.
Working closely with city and county governments, the Alliance advocates for the
urban forestry needs of the community and facilitates tree planting in public spaces.
Many area residents have
benefited from the organization’s
work. ACFT has planted trees
along the Riverwalk in downtown
Wilmington and at Greenfield
Lake. The Alliance plants trees in
public housing and low-income
neighborhoods, many of which
were never allotted funding for
trees or from which trees were
In perhaps their most well-known
project, Alliance members
assisted in the relocation of the
Ogden Oak when Market Street
was widened in 2017. This sum-mer,
the Alliance helped save
“What does he plant who plants a tree?
He plants the friend of sun and sky;
He plants the flag of breezes free;
The shaft of beauty, towering high,
he plants a home to heaven anigh.
For song and mother-croon of bird,
in hushed and happy twilight heard —
The treble of heaven’s harmony.
These things he plants who plants a tree.”
— Henr y Cuy l e r Bunne r
more live oaks in Ogden when
a developer was planning to remove them to construct a car wash. Much effort has
been focused on replacing trees lost in Hurricane Florence, and that work will con-tinue
for many months to come.
As a nonprofit, ACFT raises funds in the form of grants and individual donations
and through its Trees Forever program. It has received national grants from organiza-tions
including the Arbor Day Foundation and T. D. Bank. The Trees Forever program
allows individuals to sponsor a tree in honor or memory of a loved one. The donor
chooses the type of tree, and the Alliance works with the city to determine where it
will be placed.
All Alliance members and its team are volunteers, so donated funds can be max-imized.
Plantings are held several times each year and frequently draw dozens of
# D O I N ’ G O O D
Trees Alliance for Cape Fear Trees
B Y M E L I S S A S U T T O N - S E N G | P H O T O B Y A L L I S O N P O T T E R
Volunteers plant 10 bald cypress trees at Thomas B. Lilly Park along Burnt Mill Creek
on Sept. 20, 2019, during an event organized by the Alliance for Cape Fear Trees.
The trees are meant to replace those lost in Hurricane Florence.