A naturalist who will do anything in his/her power to protect the environment and save wildlife is often refereed to as a Tree Hugger. When did that catch phrase begin to catch on?
According late 60s early 70s hit-maker Tommy James it was his song.
As James explains about his song Draggin the Line: “The line of ‘hugging a tree’ in there became kind of a slang expression for people who are interested in the ecology. ‘Tree Hugger’ came from that song.”