Hattie Carthan (1900-1984) was a Bedford-Stuyvesant resident who always had an interest in trees. When she noticed conditions in her neighborhood beginning to deteriorate, Mrs. Carthan began replanting trees there and in the process helped found the Bedford-Stuyvesant Neighborhood Tree Corps and the Green Guerillas.
Mrs. Carthan started the Tree Corps in 1971 as a way to teach young people how to care for trees. As a volunteer organization providing supplies, advice and encouragement for all types of urban community green spaces, the Green Guerillas were the force behind the resurgence of the community garden movement in the 1970s. The organization began informally in 1974 with tactics as simple as throwing water balloons filled with seeds into abandoned lots; the positive response showed the overwhelming need for more green space in the inner city.