In a nutshell, we plant trees.


Shelter Island Friends of Trees (SIFoT) was founded in 1996 by Yioula Van Rynbach and others. Since its inception, SIFoT has planted more than 100 trees in public spaces on Shelter Island and designated over 75 significant trees as Landmark Trees.

we’ve been planting trees for over twenty years.


(like the acorn)

  • Our membership fee is low ($25/year).
  • The majority of your contribution goes toward the purchase and maintenance of trees in public spaces on Shelter Island.

We branch out!

Aside from planting trees, SIFoT promotes awareness and knowledge of our Island trees with:

  • Our partnerships with the Shelter Island Highway Department, the Shelter Island School, Sylvester Manor Farm, the Shelter Island Historical Society, and local nurseries and arborists.
  • FoT sponsored tree tours.
  • Our Landmark Tree Program.
  • Our annual meeting and special exhibition at the Town’s annual Green Expo.

why trees matter

We often take trees for granted but in fact trees…

  • Are critical for our Island aquifer protection.
  • Help sequester carbon.
  • Act as filters, reducing pollutants.
  • Reduce runoff and erosion.
  • Provide shade in summer and shelter in winter, reducing utility costs.
  • Provide essential wildlife habitat at a time when wild areas on the East End are shrinking.
  • Enhance residential, commercial, and community property values.
  • Native trees such as oaks, hickories, maples, and white pine help make Shelter Island a special place.
  • Provide beauty and healing (just take a walk in our woods and feel their quiet power).

Shelter Island Friends of Trees is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. All contributions are tax deductible.

board of directors

Tim Purtell, President
Karen Brush
Nanette Lawrenson
Kirsten Lewis
Angela Van Rynbach
Paulette Van Vranken
Stephanie Zinger
Jane Kenney


Co-founder Yioula Van Rynback

Blog + Tree News