1880 - 1976

One of the more active and perceptive pioneers of his day, Mr. Wharton served on the board of the Massachusetts Forest and Park Association from 1912 until 1970 and as its president from 1936 until 1960. He joined the National Parks Association in 1919 and was its president from 1935 until 1953. Mr. Wharton was an incorporator of the New England Forestry Foundation in 1944 and a director until his death. He was an officer and board member of National Audubon from 1915 until 1943 and a director of the Massachusetts Audubon Society from 1912 to 1927. Birding was one of Mr. Wharton’s great passions, and he was one of the first people to be granted a federal bird banding permit and he operated an active banding station at his home in Groton, Massachusetts for many years.

Mr. Wharton's interests and accomplishments spanned the entire gamut of environmental concerns, from chairmanship of the Town Forest Committee in Groton, to the presidency of the National Parks Association. His years of active service to these organizations spanned almost three quarters of a century in an era when such causes were more often the subject of derision than of popular support. Mr. Wharton was unusual in being keenly interested in the scientific management and production of timber as well as its preservation, as manifested especially in his concern for the redwood forests of the west coast.


Mr. Wharton created the William P. Wharton Trust under his will to carry on his lifelong support of the study and conservation of nature in its broadest form.

A Board of Advisors assists the Trustees of the William P. Wharton Trust in the grant-making process, and currently consists of Brian Cassie, Elizabeth Herland, Kathleen McGrath, and Bernard J. McHugh. Former Advisors were John T. Hemenway, Whitney Beals, Hamilton Coolidge, Harold J. Coolidge, Allen H. Morgan, Dr. Gary Sanford, Tudor Richards, and Lisa Vernegaard. Many of the Advisors knew Mr. Wharton personally. All of them share his interests in nature & conservation and represent broad experience in those areas.