Delaware Park Lake Tree
Buffalo, New York
Ellis letter offering seedlings to state foresters/
Preston letter requesting seedlings for New York/
Franczyk letter on Buffalo planting
A sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) Moon Tree was planned to be planted by the shore of
Delaware Park Lake in Buffalo, New York
circa 1977. The paper trail described below is the only evidence we have of the tree's history. It ends
with a plan to plant the seedling at the South Park Conservatory in Buffalo. The documentation provides
a good example of the process that was followed in transferring the Moon Tree seedlings to the states.
A letter addressed to "All State Foresters Field Offices" was sent by Howard Burnett (for Thomas
Ellis) of the Forest Service Office in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, to the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation, Lands and
Forests Administration, dated
May 16, 1975.
The letter, which was presumably the
beginning step for most of the Moon Trees planted around the country, offered
Moon Tree seedlings for planting in New York.
(Howard Burnett also took part in the first official Moon Tree planting in
and wrote a
first hand description
of the event.)
June 4, 1975,
James Preston, Director of the Division of Lands and Forests,
responded with a request to Howard Burnett for one or more of the Moon Tree seedlings for
September 30, 1975,
Thomas Ellis sent a letter to James Preston informing him
that limited numbers of seedlings would be available for each state for planting
during the Bicentennial.
December 18, 1975,
James Preston sent a memorandum to Deputy Commissioner
Hullar informing him that one seedling had been allocated for the Fulton Ferry
in Brooklyn, and they were requesting two more, possibly for Buffalo and
Barton Zeh wrote to Ron Dinas of the Institute of Forest Genetics in Gulfport,
March 15, 1976,
to arrange for shipping of three sycamore
Ellis letter to Preston on the seedlings /
Preston letter that 3 seedlings were going to New York/
Zeh letter to arrange for shipping
A memo and an airbill dated June 7, 1976, shows the sycamore seedlings were sent
by air freight from the Southern Forest Experiment Station in Gulfport to the
N.Y. State Dept. of Environmental Conservation in Albany.
Airbill showing seedlings delivered to New York /
Memo on air freighting of seedlings
November 12, 1976,
James Preston sent a letter to Stanley Makowski, the mayor of Buffalo,
informing him that New York State had three Moon Tree seedlings, one of which was being offered to the
City of Buffalo.
Mayor Makowski replied to James Preston on
November 17, 1976
acknowledging his offer, and on
Gus Franczyk, the Commissioner of Parks, accepted James Preston's offer.
Preston offer letter to Mayor Makowski /
Mayor Makowski reply thanking Preston /
Franczyk letter to Preston accepting the offer
James Preston wrote to William Friedman, New York State Regional Director, on
December 27, 1976,
informing him that Buffalo
was accepting a Moon Tree.
December 29, 1976,
Barton Zeh, the N.Y. State Principal Forester, wrote to Gus Franczyk, Buffalo Commissioner of Parks,
informing him that they would make arrangements to deliver the seedling. It was at the Saratoga State tree Nursery and stood about 3 feet tall,
including the root ball. He also asked for the location of the planting and details of any planned ceremonies.
James Preston wrote to Franczyk.
Preston letter to Friedman on Buffalo tree /
Zeh letter to Franczyk on delivering the seedling /
Preston letter to Franczyk
March 9, 1977,
Gus Franczyk wrote to Barton Zeh, informing him the Moon Tree
would be planted along the shore of Delaware Park Lake, in the vicinity of the Historical Building.
The planting date was tentatively planned for Arbor Day, April 29.
James Preston wrote to William Friedman
March 17, 1977
to inform him that they would be arranging shipment of the seedling to Buffalo on April 25.
Barton Zeh wrote to Gus Franczyk to inform him the tree was leafed-out in the greenhouse and they would be arranging
transport of the tree.
Franczyk replied to Zeh
March 25 that it would be inadvisable to
plant a leafed-out tree outdoors during the dormant season, and they planned to
move the planting date back.
Franczyk letter to Zeh on choice of site /
Preston letter to Friedman on shipping seedling /
Zeh letter to Franczyk on leafed-out tree /
Franczyk letter to Zeh on delaying planting
May 2, 1977,
Franczyk wrote to Zeh, informing him they were planning to plant
the tree on May 25, 1977 and would confirm by telephone. Written notes on the
letter say "South Park Conservatory 25th 10 AM ceremony" and "will place in
conservatory until reaches a size commensurate for outplanting".
This is the last documentation on this tree. If it was planted at the South Park
Conservatory on May 25, 1977 as planned, there is no record of the planting or the
ceremony, and no information on the tree and whether it was outplanted at a
later date or where the planting occurred. Presumably it was still planned to be
planted along the shore of Delaware Park Lake in Buffalo.
Letters and information courtesy of Kendall Nagi and the New York State Archive.
History of the Sycamore Moon Trees
Moon Tree Home Page
Dr. David R. Williams, firstname.lastname@example.org
NSSDCA, Mail Code 690.1
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771
NASA Official: Dave Williams, email@example.com
Last Updated: 23 October 2023, DRW