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The original idea for the Society was first conceived by Mr J B Richards in 1949. He and five other founder members drafted a Constitution and approached the Mayor of Salisbury (now Harare), Mr R M Cleveland, who promised his full support.

On 21st February 1950, a public meeting was called by the Mayor and held in the Town House. Over a hundred interested persons attended and enrolled as members and the Constitution was formally adopted.

The first AGM of the Society was held on 2nd March 1951.

From the extant records, it appears that the Society had a somewhat intermittent existence during the 1950s.

However, in 1958, the proposal was put forward to establish an arboretum at Lake McIlwaine (now Lake Chivero). Work began in 1959 and proceeded until the official opening of the Arboretum on 10th September 1960. Further work was carried out through the 1960s. Sadly, the Arboretum fell into neglect and now little remains of either the infrastructure or the trees which were planted.

By the 1970s a pattern of monthly outings on the third Sunday of each month similar to today was in place, sometimes alternating with lectures and films. As the 1970s progressed, the monthly newsletter became gradually more botanical. Work continued on the Arboretum and in addition an effort was made to eliminate such weedy introductions as Mauritius Thorn (Caesalpinia decapetala), Cedrela and Jacaranda, from the Binga Swamp Forest near Arcturus. Work was also done at the Epworth Balancing Rocks and in support of the Mukuvisi Woodlands.

On the 20th April 1980, the Society became the Tree Society of Zimbabwe and in April 1980 the first edition of the new newsletter called Tree Life was issued.

The 1980s and 1990s saw activity increasing with regular outings and a much expanded newsletter. Tree mapping and recording is an important recent (10 year) development, moving the Society on from being purely recreational/ gardening to documenting tree distribution and conservation.

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