We teach children and adults about the science and value of trees.
A history of the Noble Tree Foundation (NTF) starts with Roger Milliken and his love for trees. After the purchase of a 600-acre peach farm in 1958, which would eventually become the corporate headquarters for Milliken & Co., Mr. Milliken worked for years to convert this site adjacent to Interstate 585 just outside of Spartanburg, South Carolina, into one of the largest green spaces in the Southeast with ponds, fountains and yes, trees. Initially he worked with Dick Webel, a landscape architect of international fame. Later, he would be joined by Rick Webel, Dick’s son, and Dr. Michael Dirr, horticulturist and professor at the University of Georgia who is widely known for his knowledge of trees and woody plants. Through the efforts of these men and a number of other contributors, the Roger Milliken Center now features more than 500 different trees and shrubs, many of which are rare to South Carolina, and culminated in 2003 when the Milliken & Company Arboretum was officially accepted by the American Association of Arboreta and Botanical Gardens.
In the 1990s, Dr. Dirr and Rick Webel encouraged Roger Milliken to expand his thinking on trees and their value to the environment beyond the Milliken campus to the Spartanburg area and the Upstate of South Carolina. He agreed, and after several years of operating as an informal group, the Noble Tree Foundation was formed in 1999.
The vision of the NTF was to educate, inform, build awareness, and inspire others in our community about trees and their value to our environment.
The intended audience of the Noble Tree Foundation's education efforts was not just individuals, but a cross-section of leaders from city and county governments, schools and colleges, and corporations as well as other charitable organizations in the community. Since it's formation, the NTF has collaborated with a wide variety of organizations to promote the presence of Noble Trees in Spartanburg County and beyond, by:
Since its formation, the Noble Tree Foundation with the help of our partners and volunteers has planted and cared for more than 4,000 trees and shrubs and has invested more than $2.0 million in Spartanburg County in this effort. Our projects have focused on four areas – Spartanburg City and County gateway entrances, Spartanburg community needs, Spartanburg residential needs, and specific educational opportunities. We have partnered with more than 20 organizations on these projects.
Roger Milliken died in 2010, but the mission he envisioned has remained in place. The Noble Tree Foundation is an active and thriving organization in Spartanburg County. NTF is looking to expand its efforts in educating people on the beauty and value of trees and exploring new opportunities to plant trees with previous partners but also with new partners. We look forward to hearing from you by contacting us through our website or directly through one of our board members.