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Our Founder and History

Our founder, Newton (Newt) Hardie was born in Inman, SC, attended Georgia Institute of Technology on a naval ROTC scholarship and served in the Navy on a destroyer in the Pacific from 1956-69. He then returned to Georgia Tech and earned an advanced degree in industrial engineering, then worked for 41 years for Milliken and Company in Spartanburg and LaGrange, Ga. 

His journey fighting kudzu began in 2001 when he noticed a cherry tree on pine street being attacked by kudzu. Little did he know his desire to save that one tree would turn into an ongoing effort to help save our native trees from kudzu and other invasive species. In 2004 he founded Kudzu Coalition. In 2013, he created Trees Coalition, an expansion of Kudzu Coalition. Newt remained our president through the end of 2017 when his illness required him to step away.

He was an inspiration to so many people of Spartanburg and surrounding areas to take action and save our Trees. Furthermore, Newt not only loved trees but people. Newt had a way of walking in a room and you couldn't help but smile. We watched him transform the lives of many less fortunate people that he believed deserved a second chance and he pulled greatness out of many. He will be forever missed but not forgotten by our community.

Newts legacy of fighting to save trees continues today. He imprinted his passion on many people and we are pleased to say Trees Coalition is active and continue to carry out his mission, to save our native trees in Spartanburg and surrounding areas.


Photo taken by Carroll Foster

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