Chestnut Tree News


Chastains are named for a tree—Castanea, the Chestnut. Castanea derives from the Greek "kastaneia". In French, the tree is the Chataignier, in Italian Castagno, and in Spanish Castaño. The English word Chestnut also derives from the Castanea through the old French form chastaigne. In English it was first chesteine (Middle English) and then chesten + nut. These terms produced a variety of surnames, many of which are featured on this website. However, this page is about the Chestnut Tree itself.

The American Chestnut (Castanea Dentata), used to cover vast areas of the eastern United States and was very important to American life in food and lumber. The grand Chestnut forests were destroyed by a foreign blight in the early 20th century, but through the efforts of the American Chestnut Foundation and others, the American Chestnut is beginning a comeback. On this page, you will find Chestnut Tree news, especially of the American Chestnut.

Note that Anne Frank's Chestnut is included in these reports even though it is as horse chestnut, and is therefore unrelated to the American Chestnut or European Chestnut. This is because the Anne Frank chestnut is so well known, often only as a chestnut.

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President Bush Plants 16-foot Chestnut Tree at Whitehouse

06-21-08 North Carolina First Lady Plants American Chestnut at Governor's Residence (Asheville Citizen-Times - NC) A small American chestnut tree dedicated at the Governor’s Western Residence on Friday will be the forerunner of a new crop of giant chestnut trees throughout North Carolina, its caretakers hope. First lady Mary Easley dedicated the 3-foot, 3-year-old tree in the hopes that the blight resistance built into it genetically will help the tree flourish throughout the Appalachian Mountains once again.
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06-15-08 New Jersey Promotes Survival with All-American Chestnut Trees (Press of Atlantic City - Atlantic City, NJ) The American chestnut saplings growing under the large oak tree are slender and delicate, some as high as the ankle or hip. Yet despite their frail appearance, these young sprouts at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cape May Plant Materials Center could be the key to reviving one of the country's most important native trees in the Garden State. The plants are part of a restoration program run by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's New Jersey Field Office. The program started in 2002 and uses young all-American chestnuts that come from blight-resistant parents in Virginia; the seeds are supplied by the American Chestnut Coop-erators' Foundation. A total of 600 seedlings were planted through the program at Hartshorne Woods Park in Monmouth County with the Monmouth County Park System and Burden Hill Forest in Salem County with the Natural Lands Trust. Of those trees, 245 are still surviving, most in Monmouth County..."There's an old saying that a squirrel could have jumped from one chestnut tree to another from Georgia to New York and not step on the ground," Schrading said. The American chestnut was an important natural and industrial resource. Wild animals such as deer, rabbits and turkeys feasted on the nuts. American Indians ate chestnuts as a staple, and other Americans harvested them as a cash crop. The light-colored wood was prized for its buoyancy and rot-resistance, and it had a variety of uses, such as building barns, railroad ties, ships, utility poles and furniture, Schrading said. Full Story Back to Top
06-09-08 American Chestnuts Essential for Pioneers (HNN - WV) Hardscrabble defines the life of my father’s father and mother and their spinster daughter. My grandfather acquired a hillside farm embellished with rocks in 1893. He paid three dollars an acre. It would have been a rip off except for the forests. It was populated with an abundance of oaks of every variety and sugar maples, poplars, hickories, dogwoods and a heaven of chestnut trees, which were then Appalachian gold. If it had not been for the chestnut trees, those immigrants, who were fenced out of the fertile and level lands east of the Alleghanies, would have found themselves without a resource that provided them with numerous essential commodities. The fungus that killed the chestnuts arrived after they had had the benefit and help of rail fences, roof shingles, enduring posts, pyrotechnic fireplace logs, easy-split stove kindling and wood, and endless other uses, including the nuts that were food for people, wildlife and stock. Full Story Back to Top
05-27-08 Philip Rutter is Founder of American Chestnut Foundation (Minnesota Public Radio - Saint Paul, MN) The American Chestnut tree can save the world. That's the contention of a Minnesota farmer working to bring back the species...Philip Rutter said the trees he's growing and testing on his farm in Canton, Minn., could be a source of food, fuel and building material...You drive across fields of grass. Finally you're faced with driving through the woods on a muddy trail. Eventually you make it to the A-frame cabin Philip Rutter built by hand in the 1970's. Rutter is a bearded man with a big straw hat. He's also the Founding President of the American Chestnut Foundation, a group of researchers and farmers who are trying to revive the chestnut tree in America. His rustic cabin is off the grid. Rutter makes his own electricity by utilizing solar panels to power batteries. An old windmill brings well water up 340 feet to the surface. That is how he and his wife and small child get water...[What] Rutter discovered was that research into the demise of the trees was faulty. The tree researchers in the 1950s who said the tree would never come back were wrong. Rutter has developed a hybrid chestnut that is resistant to the disease and will even grow in places like Minnesota, which is not part of the chestnut trees native habitat. Full Story Back to Top
05-12-08 Maryland Park Service Plants American Chestnuts (WJZ - Baltimore, MD) The Maryland Park Service is planting chestnut trees Monday in an effort to restore the once-mighty tree after it was nearly wiped out by disease. The Park Service and the American Chestnut Foundation are headed to Rocky Gap State Park Nature Center in Allegany County to plant the first in Maryland of a new breed of chestnut developed to resist disease. Full Story Back to Top
05-09-08 New England Farm Plants 238 American Chestnuts (Eagle Times - Claremont, NH) On Knight's High Shelter Farm off Gravelin Road in Weathersfield, with a healthy view of nearby Mt. Ascutney in the background, between 20 and 30 people planted 238 chestnuts with the hopes an orchard of American Chestnut trees will eventually take hold. His family joined the American Chestnut Foundation several years ago. Full Story Back to Top
05-08-08 American Chestnut Planted in Larchmont (Larchmont Gazette - Larchmont, NY) A Larchmont bar mitzvah boy, two Cornell alumnae, the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE ) of Westchester and the Larchmont Parks and Trees Committee are partnering in a scientific experiment aimed at reintroducing the American chestnut tree into its former natural habitat. The Larchmont part of the project is beginning with one tiny sapling planted on Friday, May 2 in Addison Park across from Chatsworth School. The little tree is 100% American chestnut, descended from trees that showed resistance to a blight that wiped out billions of similar trees from Maine to Florida beginning in 1904...Ms. Radow has donated a copy of Might Giants, An American Chestnut Anthology to the Larchmont Library. Want to contribute? Andersons Book Store is selling copies of the book, with 100% of the sale proceeds going to the American Chestnut Foundation. Full Story Back to Top
04-24-08 Ohio University Plants 800 American Chestnuts at Jockey Hollow (Environment News Service) In honor of Arbor Day, April 25, the Ohio University forest ecologist and professor of environmental and plant biology recently led a group of volunteers in planting 800 American chestnut seeds and seedlings at the Jockey Hollow Wildlife Management Area, a 20-acre tract of reclaimed mine land near Cadiz, Ohio. Working alongside researchers with the Ohio chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation, the U.S. Forest Research Lab and the U.S. Department of the Interior, McCarthy helped create the hybrid, blight-resistant variety that he plants. Researchers give seedlings of this variety a fungus that boosts their natural immune system, increasing their survival rate in the nutrient-poor, acidic soil of Jockey Hollow. The key to the trees taking hold lies in land preparation. The technique, developed by the Department of the Interior and known as "loose end dumping," is showing promise as a way to transform barren mine land into thriving chestnut forests. Full Story Back to Top
04-22-08 Juniata College Plants American Chestnut Trees (Worldwide Faith News (press release) - New York, NY) A couple of decades after Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote of "a spreading chestnut tree" in his poem "The Village Blacksmith," many of the American chestnut trees across the country were dead or dying from a blight. Juniata College is playing a small part in trying to bring the species back by creating a chestnut "orchard" on campus. Juniata is a Church of the Brethren-related college in Huntingdon, Pa. While the college lacks a village smithy to place the chestnut trees near, it does have a grassy area behind Brumbaugh Academic Center. That is where Uma Ramakrishnan, assistant professor of environmental science, will oversee a 25,000 square foot plot (a bit more than half an acre) of 120 trees in a collaborative project between the college and the American Chestnut Foundation. Eventually the college will add 90 more trees. This year, the college is planting four species: the pure American chestnut, the Chinese chestnut, a hybrid American chestnut (crossbred with a disease resistant Chinese chestnut), and the European chestnut. Full Story Back to Top
04-14-08 Volunteers Plant 800 American Chestnut Seedlings (The Post Online - Athens, OH) Although Arbor Day is 11 days away, Ohio University professor and forest ecologist Brian McCarthy celebrated it early by planting 800 American chestnut seedlings. McCarthy and student volunteers traveled to the Jockey Hollow Wildlife Area on Saturday and planted the seedlings on a 20-acre plot to restore the once vibrant tree. The 3,500-acre Jockey Hollow Wildlife Area is located about two and a half hours northeast from Athens in Cadiz and is a former strip mine. McCarthy said he hopes to transform mine land into a lively forest full of chestnut trees. There, the grass and poor soil conditions have prevented a resurgence of other trees. “American chestnuts grow well on those dry, well-drained, low nutrient sites,” McCarthy continued. “Small numbers of tree species do well on reclaimed sites.” Full Story Back to Top
04-13-08 American Chestnut Foundation Honors Thomas Jefferson ( - Roanoke, VA) The American Chestnut Foundation is holding a special celebration to honor the birthday of our nation's third president. In honor of Thomas Jefferson, the group held a ceremonial planting of the American chestnut tree on the grounds of Poplar Forest, his retreat home. Full Story Back to Top
04-11-08 Students Plant Chestnuts in Appalachia (Medical Leader - Pikeville, KY) The six-acre plot of land was prepared by ripping up stretches of tightly-compacted post-mined earth to allow roots to penetrate the material more easily. Gary Brown, owner of Mountain Forestry, directed the students in planting techniques...The students planted American chestnut trees in an effort to reintroduce them to the area. The coal fields of Appalachia match up almost perfectly with what once was the natural range of the American chestnut tree before it was wiped out by a fungus. According to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining, “reclaimed surface mine lands in Appalachia make outstanding springboards to bring the American chestnut tree back into the eastern forest.” Full Story Back to Top
04-07-08 Pennsylvanians Plant 1200 American Chestnut Seeds (Lancaster Newspapers - Lancaster, PA) Scores of volunteers spent a blustery morning Sunday planting seeds in a Martic Township field. Their mission was to help re-establish Lancaster County's population of chestnut trees, which used to cover the region's rolling hills. About 40 volunteers from conservation organizations, including the Pennsylvania American Chestnut Foundation, Lancaster County Conservancy and the National Wild Turkey Federation spent the day planting seeds...about 1,200 seeds from a stand of hybrid trees in State College were planted over 2 acres of the 98-acre House Rock Nature Preserve in Martic Township, which is owned by Lancaster County Conservancy. Full Story Back to Top
04-06-08 Virginia High School Students Plant American Chestnuts ( - Johnson City, TN) About 60 Southwest Virginia high school students braved a chilly rain Friday to plant hardwood trees, including American chestnuts, on a reclaimed mining site near Dante, Va. The plantings were part of an Arbor Day observance...Marshall Case, president of the American Chestnut Foundation, said the future of the chestnut "holds a promise of return to dominance. ACF hopes to use surface-mined land as sites for introducing blight-resistant American chestnuts. Full Story Back to Top
03-30-08 Connecticut Plants American Chestnuts (Newsday - Long Island, NY) Guilford's Conservation Commission, along with the Connecticut Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation, is working to establish a blight-resistant chestnut tree in a 1 1/2-acre orchard in the town's Nut Plains Park. The commission is planning to spend two Saturdays in April building a fence to protect the trees from deer, and another Saturday in May planting the first 100 nuts. Last year, volunteers planted about 20 trees as a test orchard, which proved successful. Eventually, they may sow 400 to 500 of the blight-resistant nuts in the area...Nuts from one of the trees the American Chestnut Foundation used in the breeding process come from a hybrid that a Yale professor, Arthur Graves, established in Hamden in the 1930s, Pinchot said. "Connecticut actually has a really long history with chestnut restoration," she said. "It's better to have Connecticut genes in our trees." Full Story Back to Top
03-24-08 More Information on Newly Revealed Ohio Chestnut Tree (Coshocton Tribune - Coshocton, OH) For about seven years, the state's natural resources leaders have harbored a secret. They still won't reveal the exact location of it or allow outsiders to see it. This Ohio treasure's existence was closely guarded until last week when the director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources revealed that a full-sized American Chestnut tree still stands in a marsh near Lake Erie. For tree experts, it's a big deal...In Ohio, most American chestnut trees were found in the eastern half of the state. The state's largest existing chestnut tree — known only to a few until last week — is in Sheldon Marsh, a 465-acre state nature preserve about midway between Toledo and Cleveland. The tree stands 89 feet tall and has a 5-foot circumference. "To our knowledge, we don't have any that come close to this size," Obermiller said...Steve Maurer, the new chief of Natural Areas and Preserves, decided the public should be told about the tree, Obermiller said. "He realized this was a very special tree," Obermiller said. Maurer has asked the American Chestnut Foundation if it wants samples of the tree to determine if the tree is resistant to the chestnut blight, Obermiller said. The tree produces fruit, but the seeds aren't viable because there isn't another tree to pollinate it, he said. Full Story Back to Top
03-22-08 Ohio Reveals Full-Sized American Chestnut Tree Survivor (Sandusky Register - OH) Erie County harbors a rare treasure: A full-sized American Chestnut tree that somehow survived an epidemic that wiped out untold numbers of other chestnut trees. The tree stands 89 feet tall and measures 64 inches around the trunk. Its crown spreads 41 feet. It's a shocking anomaly at a time when most surviving chestnut trees are dwarfs sprouting from the roots of trees killed by the chestnut blight. It's the largest known chestnut in Ohio..."We found the tree probably seven years ago," Obermiller said. "We didn't spread the word about the tree a whole lot."...Maurer has contacted the American Chestnut Foundation to see if the group wants samples of the tree to determine if it is resistant to the chestnut blight, Obermiller. Erie County's chestnut tree produces fruit, but the seeds aren't viable because there isn't another tree to pollinate it, Obermiller said. Full Story Back to Top
03-22-08 Glen Rea Champions American Chestnut in Maine (Bangor Daily News - Bangor, ME) Glen Rea has a passion for trees. As a boy of 10, he planted acorns and walnuts. Today he is president of the Maine Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation, a group with a mission to "restore American chestnuts to a place of ecological and economic importance and self-sustainability throughout their original forest range in Maine."...Rea explained that the program in Maine is now only two generations away from producing trees with high levels of blight resistance...Rea finished his presentation with a story that he calls "Ten Acres in Maine." The hero of this story is Sam Andrews, a logging contractor from Atkinson. In September 1993, as he was logging land just a few miles from his home, Sam was about to end the day by cutting down one last tree, had his chain saw out and running, and then noticed the unusual burs on the ground. It was an American chestnut. Atkinson is 40 miles north of Bangor. Even though the northern limit of the American chestnut’s natural range was thought to be about 20 miles south of the city, there it was, an American chestnut, along with two other nut-producing trees. Last summer an intensive survey of the 10 acres revealed two additional chestnut trees producing viable nuts, bringing the total to five nut-producing trees. Sam’s original tree is now 34 inches in diameter and about 80 feet tall. The survey also found more than 200 chestnut trees in the 10 acres, some grown to a height of 20 to 30 feet. They are outgrowing the competition and should soon start producing nuts. Some of the Atkinson trees have been incorporated into the Maine breeding program. Full Story Back to Top
03-21-08 Ancient British Sweet Chestnut May be 1200 Years Old (Gloucestershire Gazette - Dursley, England, UK) The Ancient Tree Hunt was launched six months ago by the Woodland Trust. The Trust believes the UK has more Ancient Trees than any other country in Northern Europe, but their locations are unknown, so it is calling on members of the public to join the Ancient Tree Hunt, recording trees as they find them. The Tortworth Court Estate is the home to one such tree, a Sweet Chestnut. The tree is famous for its huge twisted main trunk, which has re-rooted several times in the ground becoming trees in their own right. Legend has it the Tortworth Sweet Chestnut, which has a girth of 11 metres, sprang from a nut planted in 800 AD and written records mentioning the tree go back to the 12th century during the reign of King John. The tree itself has already been recognised by the Tree Council, when in 2002 as part of the Queen's Golden Jubilee it was classified as one of 50 Great British trees. Full Story Back to Top
03-16-08 Two Organizations Strive with Different Methods to Save the American Chestnut (Charlotte Observer - Charlotte, NC) In 1983, a group of plant scientists formed the American Chestnut Foundation with a goal to restore the chestnut as a wild forest tree. Beginning in 1989, under the direction of Dr. Fred Hebard, staff pathologist, the foundation began a long-term breeding program at its Meadowview Research Farms in southwestern Virginia. The program relies on the Chinese chestnut, which is resistant to the blight. The farms now have nearly 34,000 trees of various parentages and ages in orchards. The trees carry blight-resistance genes from Chinese trees and genes from more than 500 American trees...The resulting sixth-generation trees consist of 94 percent American and 6 percent Chinese genes, which should make them highly resistant to the blight...A separate group, the American Chestnut Cooperators' Foundation in Newport, Va., uses only American chestnuts to develop a blight-resistant tree. Cooperators have planted 117,792 seedlings. Though the pandemic swept through..., live trees still exist...Isolation often lets wild trees avoid the blight. Discovering a large surviving blighted tree, however, is akin to finding a gold coin. "We're most excited about that tree that's diseased but still hanging on," he said, because it exhibits resistance. Full Story Back to Top
03-15-08 Five Hundred American Chestnuts Planted to Test Planting Methods (Knoxville News Sentinel - Knoxville, TN) Daniel A. Roling, CEO of National Coal Corp., led a diverse group of volunteers Friday in a day of planting American chestnut seeds on an active coal mine site in Campbell County. More than 60 volunteers braved rain and cold winds to help plant 500 of the brown, thickish seeds in mounds of sandstone rock spoil from National Coal's mining operations on Zeb Mountain...Foresters said it is doubtful any of the American chestnut seeds will survive, because they will likely succumb to the Chinese chestnut blight...But tree scientists, biologists and foresters are trying to discover the best methods of planting the American chestnut for the day when an American hybrid becomes impervious to the chestnut blight...The seeds were planted in measured plots using 10 different methods, employing various soil combinations and other criteria that will allow scientists to understand the best planting methods for the future. Full Story Back to Top
03-10-08 Reforesting Old Mines with American Chestnuts (Knoxville News Sentinel - Knoxville, TN) This is just the first step in the process of trying to turn ruined mountaintops into lush, hardwood forests once again, says Davis. Planting trees, he said, is far better than planting grass, which has been past mine land reclamation practice since 1977...The Coal Creek Watershed Foundation has joined the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative and the American Chestnut Foundation in restoring forests on coal mine sites and thousands of acres of abandoned mine lands in the eastern United States. ARRI was established in 2004 with a coalition of groups, concerned citizens, coal industry representatives and governmental officials to change the method of reclaiming mine lands..."If you want trees to grow, don't plant grass," he said, adding that over time, grasses leach most of the nutrients from the soil, leaving trees stunted. Not everyone is convinced that trees will hold the stripped mountains together. Full Story Back to Top
03-10-08 Edgar Huffman Recalls Chestnuts in 1981 Article (Mother Earth News - Topeka, KS) In his younger days Edgar would often sneak a summer afternoon nap under a chestnut tree in the grove on his father's farm in the Shenandoah Valley ...and he recollects gathering bushels of roasting nuts from the shade-producers every autumn. At that time, tanneries in the valley would buy literally tons of bark from owners of chestnut trees, because such material was the best source of tannin that was available then. Farmers and craftsfolk used the wood, too—for rail fences, siding, tool handles, fine furniture, and hundreds of other items—since the timber was rot-resistant, knot-free, exceedingly strong, and faster-growing than any equivalent wood. And, naturally, the chestnut was a major source of heat in the early part of the century, not only because of its abundance and rapid growth, but also because the logs—when burned as fuel-produced little smoke and had a BTU-per-pound rating comparable to that of black oak. The nuts were also valuable, of course. For one thing, they provided superior forage for pigs. It used to be common knowledge that one tree could fatten three hogs per year ...and an old Appalachian tale recounts how it took three people to gather chestnuts for human consumption: one to shake the tree, one to distract the porkers with corn, and one to gather the nuts in a hurry before the hogs wised up! Furthermore, the trees' leaves made excellent bedding for livestock, because their high tannin content repelled insects. And when the animals' stalls were cleaned out, the combined leaves and manure made good compost for the garden (particularly in areas with alkaline soil, since the foliage is rather acidic ). Full Story Back to Top
03-08-08 American Chestnuts to be Planted on Tennessee Coal Mined Land (Knoxville News Sentinel - Knoxville, TN) Environmentally conscious ratepayers who recognize that coal mining is essential for generating electricity should get involved with returning mined land to productive use. An example is Operation Springboard, the plan for restoring the American chestnut to mined land in the Appalachian Mountains. The first major planting of American chestnuts on mined land in Tennessee will be on Friday, March 14, at the Zeb Mountain surface mine of National Coal Corp. Full Story Back to Top
02-26-08 Ijams Nature Center Partners with American Chestnut Foundation (Knoxville News Sentinel - Knoxville, TN) The American Chestnut Foundation has a new partner in its effort to restore the mighty chestnut as king of the forest. On Saturday, Ijams Nature Center unveiled a demonstration site to educate the public about American chestnuts, a species that once comprised 20 percent of the Appalachian forests from Maine to Georgia. The demonstration site also includes a handful of chestnut saplings bred for blight resistance. Ijams Nature Center, a 265-acre nature preserve in South Knoxville, also will be the site of a small chestnut orchard as researchers work toward developing a Tennessee strain that won't succumb to the lethal fungus that destroyed the species in the first half of the 20th century. Full Story Back to Top
02-19-08 Stolen Van Gogh "Blossoming Chestnut Branch" is Found ( - United Kingdom) Police said the paintings - Monet's "Poppies near Vétheuil" and van Gogh's "Blooming Chestnut Branches" - were recovered from the back seat of a white sedan parked at a psychiatric hospital. They were in good condition and still under the glass behind which they were displayed in the museum, Philipp Hotzenkoecherle, commandant of the Zurich city police, said..."Blossoming Chestnut Branch", painted in by Van Gogh in 1890 at Auvers-sur-Oise, shows spring chestnut blossom and rhododendron bursting forth on a bluish-green, vibrantly structured background. Full Story Back to Top
02-07-08 American Chestnut Foundation Receives Million Dollar Donation (Asheville Citizen-Times - NC) The American Chestnut Foundation has received a $1 million donation from the Stanback family of North Carolina. The gift is the largest contribution the foundation has ever received. The money will go toward expanding the group's national science program and planting trees. Full Story Back to Top
02-02-08 Anne Franks' Chestnut Saved from Destruction (Independent - London, England) Everyone agrees the 150-year-old tree is dying, eaten away from the inside by two rapacious forms of fungus and attacked from the outside by a leaf-curling moth. Many people, including its private owner, wanted to put it out of its misery, but those lobbying for a stay of execution have won the day. Yesterday the Support Anne Frank Tree foundation (Saft) formally took custody of the tree and is now racing to erect a form of flora life support...The foundation's plan is to build a steel frame, which Professor Heertje likens to a corset, designed to prevent the 30-tonne, 22ft tree crashing to the ground or, more worryingly, into the Secret Annex. The construction, which consists of two metal rings attached to a firmly anchored tripod, is expected to cost around 70,000 Euros (£53,000) to build and set up and then 10,000 Euros to maintain every year after that..."The tree in its old form, if it could have been kept alive, would have been fantastic," said Hans Westra, the director of the Anne Frank House, who has seen the tree almost every day for the 30 years he has worked for the museum. "But that's not possible. What we will have in a couple of years is a tree that has been cut so much that it's unrecognisable as her tree." And it's not as if the alternative to extending the life of the tree is simply to leave a gaping hole. Six genetically identical specimens, grown from grafts from the mother tree, are being nurtured in northern Holland and are already 7ft high, ready to replace the original if it should ever be felled. Full Story Back to Top
01-23-08 Anne Frank Chestnut Saved Again (Radio Netherlands Worldwide) The tree which Anne Frank could see from her secret WWII hideout in Amsterdam has been saved from the axe. The decision means the horse chestnut will likely remain in place for as long as 15 years...The deal, whereby a supporting structure is to be built around the tree - reportedly before the end of May this year, at the latest - to give it additional support, was concluded by and between parties which included the Anne Frank Foundation, the Support Anne Frank Tree foundation and the local Amsterdam Centre district council. The Support Anne Frank Tree foundation will take on responsibility for the horse chestnut tree and its new support structure. Full Story Back to Top
12-23-07 New Genetic Approach to American Chestnuts (Boston Globe - United States) Ardent fans have struggled to pull the chestnut back from the brink. Most of their efforts have relied on old-fashioned breeding techniques - investing the tree with blight-resistance genes from other species of chestnut through the laborious and lengthy process of hand-fertilizing flowers, planting the resulting seeds, cultivating trees, and culling inferior specimens. And then doing it all over again. But a pair of forestry scientists at the State University of New York in Syracuse are now exploring a different idea: that genes from other plants, and even from animals, might provide the chestnut with completely new weapons to thrive again in the Eastern forests. The technology they are using is the genetic engineering that has transformed medicine and agriculture - and triggered intense controversies - over the last three decades...But modifying the genes of trees also poses special threats. The concerns environmentalists have raised about traditional agriculture - that genes will "leak" into the wild, with unknown and irreversible consequences - are magnified with trees. Unlike engineered corn or soybeans, a genetically altered tree could live for decades, if not centuries...Some proponents hope that the chestnut will be the first transgenic forest tree to confront federal regulators. (Forest trees, unlike the bioengineered plum and papaya, pose special issues because they have relatives in the wild.) They see it as a good test case because the chestnut is a tree that the public genuinely desires, and the environmental risks are lower since few chestnuts still exist in the forests...The debate now revving up over transgenic trees in general has been simmering among devotees of the American chestnut. Some members of the leading restoration group, the American Chestnut Foundation, strongly support Maynard and Powell's work. But others insist classical breeding methods are all that's needed to develop a blight-resistant chestnut tree - and without courting controversy or the risk of unknown consequences. Full Story Back to Top
12-11-07 Anne Frank Chestnut May Get Steel Support Frame (Reuters UK - UK) Conservationists want to build a steel frame to support the tree that Jewish teenager Anne Frank took comfort from during her time in hiding, after a court reprieved the diseased chestnut last month. Edwin Koot of the Tree Foundation told Reuters on Tuesday architects had designed an eight-metre high frame that would cost about 50,000 euros (35,822 pounds)...The Anne Frank museum is worried the tree poses a threat to the secret annex and the 1 million people who visit it every year. They would prefer the fungus-infested chestnut is cut down and replaced with a young sapling. Full Story Back to Top
11-29-07 Chestnut Restoration Feast Gains Attention for American Chestnuts (Business Gazette - Gaithersburg, MD) Attendees from across the metropolitan area came to The Comus Inn at Sugarloaf Mountain recently to support and celebrate area efforts to restore the American Chestnut, a once-giant tree found throughout the Appalachians. The location fit the purpose of the Chestnut Restoration Feast, because the American Chestnut restoration efforts on Sugarloaf Mountain date back to 1969, and the core of The Comus Inn is an historic two-story log home built in 1862 of squared, hand-hewn Chestnut logs. The menu featured five chestnut-flavored courses paired with wine selections. Full Story Back to Top
11-28-07 Jimmy Carter Applauds American Chestnut Foundation (Central Maine Morning Sentinel - Augusta, ME) The American Chestnut Foundation oversees a tree-breeding program with chapters in 15 Eastern states and is closing in on blight-resistant American chestnuts trees it hopes could revive the species. Unless a new biological invader intervenes, the Bennington, Vt.-based group hopes to begin mass replantings in about a decade in the chestnut's original range from Maine to Mississippi...In the past decade, the nonprofit group's chapters have grown from three to 15, boosting its membership to nearly 6,000, including former President Jimmy Carter. His recollection of the three chestnut trees that grew on his parents' farm in Plains, Ga., is included in "Mighty Giants," an anthology of several writers' chestnut stories the foundation recently published. Carter recalls his family's sadness when their trees succumbed to the blight, and calls the foundation's breeding project "one of the most interesting and important scientific projects of our time." Full Story Back to Top
11-21-07 Anne Frank Foundation Favors Tree Removal (AFP) The Anne Frank Foundation weighed in Wednesday on a row over the fate of a diseased tree that the child writer gazed on as she hid from Nazi occupation, saying the chestnut was a security risk...The 150-year-old tree stands in the garden of a canal house on Amsterdam's Keizersgracht and is overlooked by the annex the Frank family hid in during World War II, which is now a museum run by the foundation...There are fears that the trunk could snap, leaving the 25-tonne-tree to fall on the Anne Frank house. Campaigners believe the tree is not as badly affected as the city says and want to shore it up..."Security is the most important thing for us," Westra said. The Anne Frank House is the most popular museum in Amsterdam and will host over a million visitors this year." Full Story Back to Top
11-21-07 Chestnut Sells on eBay for $10,240 (Guardian Unlimited - UK) Last night one chestnut from an old tree in Amsterdam was sold for $10,240. The slightly distasteful heading went some way to explain the bidding frenzy: "Grow your own Anne Frank Tree with a chestnut." The impulse of the tree's next-door neighbour, to save a nut which fell on his side of the wall, looks canny indeed. Full Story Back to Top
11-20-07 Anne Frank Chestnut Saved Again (Bridgewater Courier News - NJ) The chestnut tree that gave Anne Frank a link to the outside world while she hid from the Nazis won a reprieve Tuesday when a judge ordered the city to reconsider whether the diseased tree can be saved. Judge Jurjen Bade adjourned a hearing and took witnesses and court officials with him to inspect the tree, watching as experts tapped its trunk to point out the rotten wood afflicted by fungus. He listened to experts from both sides, and looked to see what might be crushed if the tree fell, including the nearby Anne Frank House museum, which includes the apartment where the Jewish teenager and her family hid from the Nazis for 25 months during World War II...Bade ruled that the city had given insufficient consideration to alternative plans, such as anchoring the tree with cables. He said the city had failed to prove the tree was an imminent threat...The Anne Frank House, which had remained neutral until Tuesday, told the judge it favored cutting the tree, out of concern for the safety of the building and the hundreds of thousands of people who visit it each year. Full Story Back to Top
11-18-07 Delaware Has 16-Acre American Chestnut Grove (Philadelphia Inquirer - Philadelphia, PA) This is what beating the odds looks like, or maybe the end of the rainbow, though that's pushing it - a 16-acre grove of chestnut trees as shaded inside as a temple, and similarly contemplative as the fall harvest wraps up here at the edge of the Blackbird State Forest. Almost 15 years ago, Gary and Nancy Petitt took the plunge, a nest egg from their software careers giving them the waiting time: It can be seven years before the chestnut gives back, a long time to hand-water, at first, and then mow, and keep deer at bay...You cannot help but be sobered - once you are reminded of the grandeur of America's sweeping chestnut forests, trunks soaring 80 feet, miles of flooring and molding on the hoof, untold tons of wild nuts - that a 16-acre orchard on a sandy-soiled peninsula halfway between Wilmington and Dover is what passes in 2007 for a major U.S. chestnut preserve...Each one of the 1,600 trees was planted by Nancy on her hands and knees. Gary - whose father, Russell, dreamed of repopulating Pennsylvania's woodlands with chestnuts - drilled each hole with an auger. Nancy dropped in the seedling, filled in the dirt, slipped on a tree tube to shield it from deer, and watered it. And watered it, by hand, week after week. But that was then. This is now, 15 years later. There is an automatic-pilot aspect to the grove these days. Gary's main chore is keeping the grass mowed, the better to ease the path of the pecan-picker during the harvest season. Full Story Back to Top
11-15-07 Anne Frank Chestnut Loses Battle for Preservation ( - United Kingdom) Amsterdam city council has given the order for the "Anne Frank Tree" to be felled next Wednesday after tests two months ago showed that it was in such a bad condition that the felling could not be put off any longer. "The original postponement was to give objectors the time to present a plan to preserve the famous tree for longer," said Ton Boon, a council spokesman. "From the latest assessment, it appears that only 28 per cent of the trunk is still healthy. The risk of the trunk breaking - in which case the 27-ton tree will fall over - is now unacceptably high." The 150-year-old tree, which stands next to a "secret annex" where the Frank family hid, above an Amsterdam canal-side warehouse, has become familiar to the many millions of readers of The Diary of Anne Frank. Full Story Back to Top
11-11-07 School Renovation Features Chestnut Wood (The News Journal - Wilmington, DE) The stately brick P.S. du Pont Elementary School, with its towering cupola, was known as "The Palace" by the first students who went there when it opened as a high school in 1935, at the height of the Depression. Today, the northeast Wilmington building is undergoing one of the most expensive school renovations in state history...The school's ornate-looking library -- with chestnut woodwork and carved plaster ceilings and walls -- originally was designed to hold only 8,000 books, but an auxiliary library under construction will raise that capacity to 18,000...For instance, slate floors from the basement shower stalls will be used to repair broken windowsills, Read said. Chestnut shelving in some of the storage closets that are being expanded and turned into rooms will be sent out to be milled and become trim to surround blackboards. Chestnut in buildings is rare today because many of the trees were wiped out during a blight in the 1940s. Full Story Back to Top
10-30-07 Mighty Giants: An American Chestnut Anthology is Released (PR Newswire (press release) - New York, NY) The American Chestnut Foundation, in partnership with publisher Images from the Past, has released "Mighty Giants: An American Chestnut Anthology." It is the inspiring story of an American symbol and the struggle to save it from the brink of extinction. The book offers up a saga of a unique and exceptional tree that supported a way of life, that fed and sheltered our ancestors, and "touched almost every phase of our existence."...The book tells, in images and words, the story of the once mighty monarch of the eastern forests and the scientists who engaged in the struggle against "one of the greatest natural disasters in the history of forest biology" -- perhaps the deadliest plant blight ever encountered...Notable contributors to the book include former President Jimmy Carter. Full Story Back to Top
10-11-07 91-Year-Old Canadian Dedicated to Restoring American Chestnut (Orangeville Citizen - Orangeville, Canada) At 91, Dr. McKeen is still deeply involved in the preservation of the American chestnut tree, which has been suffering from the effects of chestnut blight fungus for over 100 years and - at one point in the 1950s - was on the endangered species list. Dr. McKeen hails from Strathroy, north of London, and graduated with a B.A. in botany from the University of Western Ontario. He then went on to receive a Ph.D. in plant pathology from the University of Toronto. He dedicated his career to researching and eradicating plant disease. In 1988, retired and into his 70s, Dr. McKeen became involved with the Canadian Chestnut Council (CCC), a charitable organization aimed at the preservation and development of the American chestnut. And he's still hard at work today. "I've never regretted what I've tried to do," he says. "When I was attending the collegiate institute in Strathroy, the chestnut trees would grow in the sandy soil of the area. "I chomped on those nuts in high school. I've been familiar with the tree for over 75 years." Full Story Back to Top
10-05-07 Chestnut Tree to be Planted Near Thomas Jefferson's Monticello (Charlottesville Daily Progress - Charlottesville, VA) Arborists and scientists have been fighting since to re-establish the tree before it faces extinction. That fight has come to Virginia within the last year, and the local chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation will celebrate the year and raise awareness for its cause Saturday at Piedmont Virginia Community College. Foundation representatives will plant a tree near Monticello, where chestnuts were once prevalent. Scholars know Thomas Jefferson, like many in his day, used chestnut trees for furniture and building...While chestnuts may have been a common sight in Jefferson’s day, state forestry officials said they know of only two remaining in Albemarle County. And there’s no telling when the blight will get to them. One is near Free Union on the side of the road and the other north of Skyline Drive, deep in the woods, though there are likely others that haven’t been spotted. Full Story Back to Top
10-05-07 New Hampshire Tree Produces Healthy Chestnuts (Foster's Daily Democrat - Dover, NH) The sight of healthy chestnuts bursting through spiky husks was a sign of hope for a small group of people who gathered in the woods off Chestnut Hill Road Thursday afternoon. In July, the American Chestnut Foundation pollinated a hardy American chestnut tree discovered on Bill and Nancy Yates' property as part of a project to repopulate the eastern seaboard with the variety. The 40-foot tree was cross pollinated with pollen from a Tennessee chestnut tree that is resistant to the Asian blight...The Farmington tree is one of five "mother trees" harvested by Pinchot this season, and the timing could not have been more fortuitous. The 30-year-old tree has been infected with the blight on some lower branches and on the trunk near its canopy, and Pinchot said it most likely would die in a few years. Full Story Back to Top
10-02-07 Anne Frank's Chestnut Not Defeated Yet (New York Times) The tree, in the backyard of the house where Anne hid, gained fame more than a decade ago when an oil spill in the yard prompted the municipal government to cleanse its roots and the soil surrounding them, to prevent the tree from dying. On May 13, 1944, only three months before her family was rounded up, Anne wrote in her diary: “Our chestnut tree is in full bloom. It is covered with leaves and is even more beautiful than last year.” In recent years, fresh ills have befallen the tree: fungi have turned almost half its trunk to white rot, and a moth infestation has attacked its crown. The German news magazine Der Spiegel reported last year that botanists had spent months running tests and observing the tree, but their efforts did not improve its condition significantly. So local officials said it had to be felled. But now, endless administrative procedures appear to have given the tree, which has stood for a century and a half, a fresh lease on life. “We prefer thoroughness to haste,” said Ton Boon, a spokesman for the borough council. “And we are quite aware that a lot of people are watching us.” Tree lovers and admirers of Anne Frank had combined to contest the municipality’s decree. Full Story Back to Top
09-09-07? Fungus Destroys American Chestnut Tree (Tribune Chronicle - Warren, OH) At one point, Miller said the American chestnut tree was the most common tree in the Appalachian region...But that all changed once the blight came to New York from trees transported from Japan. ‘‘In the 1800s, people moved all kinds of crop plants around the world. It was the thing to do,’’ Miller said. ‘‘They brought in some nursery stock from Japan and that’s probably how it got here. No one was even aware of the disease at that point.’’ But the fungus did its work. Trees affected by the disease show black creases in the bark as the fungus feeds. After a while, the fungus forms a chancre around the trunk which acts like a tourniquet, choking off all life above it. The roots generally survive, but more often than not the tree doesn’t get a chance to flower and produce nuts, Gargano said. The fungus then spews billions of tiny spores into the air and water which spread to other trees. Gargano said he first saw dead trees while he was hunting in Pennsylvania. The American chestnut, he said, was once valued for its timber because it is resistant against rot. So dead trees can remain standing for several decades. Full Story Back to Top
09-03-07 P.T. Barnum's Japanese Chestnut May Help American Chestnuts (Hartford Courant - United States) Twelve-year-old Tim Pelletier read that P. T. Barnum imported and planted exotic trees on his properties in Bridgeport. Living in one of those Barnum properties on Old Battery Road in Bridgeport, Pelletier was intrigued. What was that huge tree in the yard?...a scientist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven, found that the tree almost certainly dated to 1876, a "Parsons Japan chestnut." Not only is it a grand, spreading tree, it happens to be invaluable to scientists today...until the recent discovery of the Bridgeport tree, only two were known to survive in Connecticut - one in Old Lyme, the other in Cheshire. The Parsons chestnut is highly resistant to chestnut blight...Anagnostakis, a pre-eminent researcher, uses Parsons chestnuts to cross with American chestnuts in an effort to create an American chestnut resistant to blight. The idea is to someday repopulate Connecticut forests with American chestnuts. Full Story Back to Top
09-02-07 Maryland Helps Save the American Chestnut (Frederick News Post (subscription) - Frederick, MD) In a three-acre field at Fox Haven Farm are 850 tiny trees -- links to the past that may represent the future. They are hybrid chestnut trees. All were planted in the past three years, and they are 92 to 95 percent American chestnut. Some already have the classic look of the American chestnut -- a tall, straight trunk with jagged, oval leaves. Others have the craggy, gnarled look of a Chinese chestnut. Those trees will be eliminated...The Maryland chapter is focusing on 850 trees at Fox Haven, 350 trees at ThorpeWood and 450 at Sugarloaf. There are also trees planted at the University of Maryland Agricultural Experimental Farm in Keedysville and at smaller orchards around the state. Full Story Back to Top
08-30-07 Ohio Chestnuts Contribute to Gene Pool (The Plain Dealer - - Cleveland, OH) Within one square mile there are four large flowering chestnut trees and hundreds of smaller ones that have not begun to flower..."The main significance is they are kind of usable for the breeding program," he said of the trees at the quarry. "We're basically trying to capture their genes."...Of the chestnut trees at the quarry in Trumbull County, one stands nearly 75 feet tall, a specimen perhaps 20 years old with branches loaded with white flowers. "We scratch our heads and wonder why these trees are here," Miller said. Full Story Back to Top
08-29-07 Ohio Has Natural Stand of American Chestnuts (WDTN - Dayton, OH) A stand of rare American chestnut trees is growing in and around a sandstone quarry near Braceville Ridge in northeast Ohio. For naturalists seeking to restore and spread the chestnut, it is a gold mine. Within one square mile there are four large flowering chestnut trees and hundreds of smaller ones that have not begun to flower. Full Story Back to Top
08-22-07? Obstacles Face Re-entry of American Chestnuts (Science Daily (press release) - USA) "We are on the verge of overcoming chestnut blight, but there is a whole new set of obstacles to get past yet," said Douglass Jacobs, an associate professor of forestry and natural resources who is helping develop the blight-resistant chestnut. To reintroduce the American chestnut, he said, researchers must get past several policy limitations, gather new data, educate the public about the species and address new threats posed by exotic pests. He details these and other challenges in a paper published in July's issue of the journal Biological Conservation...More existing trees also need to be included in breeding programs as soon as possible to produce a genetically diverse population, Jacobs said. Although few adult chestnuts remain throughout the tree's native territory, a significant number of sprouts persist from old tree roots, which grow for years before becoming reinfected. These sprouts comprise a level of genetic diversity that is vital for widespread reintroduction and need to be included before they die out altogether, Jacobs said. Full Story Back to Top
08-18-07 Fate of Anne Frank Chestnut Still Undetermined (Malaysia Star - Malaysia) A chestnut tree that gave solace to Anne Frank as she hid from the Nazis in an Amsterdam attic has been given a lease of life by a bureaucratic logjam. In November, Amsterdam city council said the giant tree had to be felled because it was so diseased. Nine months later, the council cannot say when the order will be carried out because of delaying tactics by those upset by its decision. "If it was a normal tree, it would have been cut down by Christmas last year," said Amsterdam inner city council spokesman Tom Boon. "But this has somewhat mythical status." Full Story Back to Top
08-07-07 American Chestnuts Almost Ready to Plant in Large Numbers (Christian Science Monitor - Boston, MA) Hidden on a country road that winds through rural Meadowview, Va., is a 93-acre plot of ground that holds the future of the American chestnut: about 120 hybrid saplings. The trees – going on two years old and four feet tall – are considered "fully blight resistant" and are thriving. At this rate, by 2010 there should be enough "holy grail" nuts to begin planting in selected test sites in national forests. By 2015, production from such plots is expected to grow exponentially – yielding enough nuts to allow for full-blown replanting – if everything goes well. Cross-breeding American chestnut trees is a challenge because they do not produce fruit until their sixth year...Restoring the species to its former glory has been the life's work of Fred Hebard, whom some regard as the American chestnut tree's Johnny Appleseed. What he's growing on his research farm in Meadowview is a tree now 15/16ths American chestnut that will grow tall and true, with 1/16 Chinese chestnut resistance. "We're starting to produce the critical generation of fully resistant chestnut, the one we intend to release into the woods," he says. "Within three to five years we hope to begin putting out large numbers of trees, maybe 10,000 of them." Full Story Back to Top
07-26-07 U.S. Interior Secretary Plants American Chestnut Tree (Reuters AlertNet - London, England, UK) U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne planted a blight-resistant chestnut tree outside the department's headquarters in Washington on Thursday, pledging to help restore the tree to the American landscape it once covered..."In planting this tree, we are planting the hope and making a commitment that this noble hardwood will be restored to the American landscape and its vital ecological role in our nation's forests," Kempthorne said. Kempthorne said the government would work with the coal mining industry to plant the trees on reclaimed mine sites in the Appalachian Mountains, where the loosely packed soils allow them to take root quickly. The hope is that nearby wildlife will then spread the trees to neighboring forests. Because the chestnut grows rapidly, scientists say the tree would help mitigate the effects of global warming by storing carbon dioxide emissions that would normally heat the atmosphere. Full Story Back to Top
07-17-07 New Hampshire Landowner Discovers a Chestnut Tree (Foster's Daily Democrat - Dover, NH) Bill Yates can remember 60 years ago, when Chestnut Hill Road had broad American chestnuts lining the roadway and homes were built using the rot-free wood. As the years progressed, he witnessed the Asian blight nearly wipe out the species near his home and along the Eastern seaboard. Yates recently made an exciting discovery. He has located a healthy chestnut on he and wife Nancy's 125-acre property. American Chestnut Foundation officials hope to use the Farmington tree as a means to blanket the state again with the species valued for its wood and nuts...Pinchot said the foundation also has been working with New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands to one day plant the blight-resistant trees in state forests. The foundation has just recently started a chapter in New Hampshire and Vermont. Yates said he saw an advertisement in "New Hampshire Magazine" about the chapter, and the certified tree farmer contacted the foundation soon thereafter about his healthy chestnut tree. Full Story Back to Top
07-17-07 Healthy American Chestnut Tree Discovered in Dover, New Hampshire (WCAX - Burlington, VT) A healthy American chestnut tree discovered on a farm in Dover (New Hampshire) may serve as the "mother tree" to bring back a species nearly wiped out by Asian blight. The American Chestnut Foundation hopes to use that tree as a way to bring chestnuts back to New Hampshire. Leila Pinchot, the foundation's New England science coordinator, pollinated the 40-foot tree yesterday using pollen from a Tennessee chestnut that has developed resistance to the blight. Full Story Back to Top
07-11-07 The American Chestnut Foundation Receives $50,000 Grant (Bennington Banner - Bennington, VT) The National Forest Foundation recently awarded The American Chestnut Foundation a $50,000 matching grant to further TACF's work in restoring the American chestnut tree. With a total grant of $100,000, TACF will plant new trees, pollinate some of the few surviving American chestnuts and breed American and blight-resistant Chinese chestnuts to produce a hybrid tree. This tree is expected to have all of the physical characteristics of the American chestnut while retaining the blight resistance of the Chinese tree. Full Story Back to Top
07-11-07 Connecticut Is Saving the American Chestnut (Hartford Courant - United States) This was painstaking, time-consuming work, low-tech but high-promise. Leila Pinchot, a graduate student with a forestry pedigree few can match, stood atop a stepladder beside an American chestnut tree near the green in Tolland, snipping a leaf here, a leaf there, removing catkins. The idea was to cover and protect this tree's still immature flowers for a week or two, until they could be hand-fertilized with pollen from hybrid chestnut trees resistant to a blight that all but eliminated the American chestnut from forests in the Eastern United States during the first half of the 20th century. For hours she worked, covering dozens of chestnut blooms with paper bags. The tree she worked on is one of a handful of Connecticut chestnuts identified so far that survived the blight and still produces some flowers. It is a sickly tree, hardly a noble specimen, but it has enormous value as a repository of genetic information. Full Story Back to Top
07-04-07 Wild Turkey Federation Plants American Chestnuts in Ontario (The Huron Expositor - Ontario) Larry Dolmage, a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), says he’s asked two Seaforth-area landowners to plant four chestnut trees each, all from different nurseries, in hopes of creating a hardy breed that will survive in Ontario. The joint project of the NWTF, the Canadian Chestnut Council and the Ministry of Natural Resources is sharing chestnut seedlings from mature trees in Ontario that have not succumbed to the blight. “This is a brand new project. We’re very excited. We think it’s a great idea,” says Dolmage, adding that GPS readings are being taken of the eight Seaforth-area chestnut trees to allow organizers to collect the chestnuts and continue to cross-pollinate trees. American chestnuts have also been planted by the local chapter of the NWTF from Ailsa Craig to Mitchell. The reason the turkey federation has become involved is that chestnuts are traditionally food for wild turkeys. Full Story Back to Top
06-17-07 American Chestnut Activists Tour 65 Foot Tree (Asbury Park Press - Asbury Park, NJ) A stone's throw from the public library and along the concrete path that leads into Tindall Park, there is a tree. It's leafy, tall and unremarkable to the untrained eye. But to about a dozen or so tree mavens who toured that section of the park Saturday, it is practically a living fossil — harkening back a couple of centuries to a time when billions of its relatives dominated eastern forests...The tree tour was part of the chestnut foundation's Pennsylvania/New Jersey chapter meeting, and included talks about the foundation's efforts to bolster the American chestnut population...Ed Pfeiffer, 59, of Yardville traveled from Mercer County for Saturday's lectures and to get an up-close look at the 65-foot chestnut. Pfeiffer said he's been interested in the story of the American chestnut. "They were the greats of the eastern forest, and now they're all but gone," Pfeiffer said. "I didn't know my state had a decent specimen." Full Story Back to Top
06-08-07 Utility Company Donates $10,000 to Plant American Chestnut Trees (Akron Beacon Journal - Akron, OH) A natural gas transportation company agreed to donate $10,000 to help replace about 70 state forest trees cut without authorization while the company cleared space around its equipment. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources plans to use the money from Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. to plant a nursery of American chestnut trees in Mohican-Memorial State Forest, according to an agreement announced Thursday. In March, a company contractor mistakenly clear-cut a 50-foot-wide swath of trees of different varieties within the forest in Ashland County in north-central Ohio. Tree cutters believed they were on private property, but the trees were on state land. Full Story Back to Top
06-01-07 David Bingham Dedicated to Care of Ancient Chestnut Tree (TheDay - New London, CT) David Bingham checks on the thin tendrils of a struggling American chestnut tree, one felled but not quite killed off by the 100-year blight that has eliminated most all of these majestic trees once known as the King of the Forest. Bingham found this particular tree, sprouting new growth from its old root system, about 20 years ago, and he has been nurturing it ever since, taping mud packs to it when necessary, to help fight the fungus of the disease. “It is old and badly diseased, but it's still producing flowers,” says Bingham, reaching out to pull down a branch and demonstrate a fertile blossom on the end. Indeed, Bingham's prized chestnut is now one of the mother trees in a broad program by the American Chestnut Foundation that is working to create a new, blight-resistant strain of the species. Full Story Back to Top
05-30-07 American Chestnuts Planted in Connecticut (Waterbury Republican American - Waterbury, CT) Chestnut tree breeders were in the Northwest Corner Tuesday, aiming to return chestnut trees to their natural habitat. The odds are against them. Most of the 118 chestnuts planted seven feet apart in a field of a little more than an acre at Great Mountain Forest in Falls Village Tuesday will sprout and leaf out into trees this year. At best, one out of eight will become saplings. Maybe, just maybe, a handful will survive drought, foraging animals, and the deadly chestnut blight to flower and produce nuts in seven or eight years. The hope is that some of the resulting offspring will produce just the right combination of genes to create a more virulent fourth-generation tree -- a tree able to withstand the deadly chestnut blight that killed 4 billion trees in the first half of the 20th century...Tuesday's effort was the collaborative work of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation, and Great Mountain Forest, a demonstration research forest. Full Story Back to Top
05-18-07 Volunteers Save Chestnut Panels from Destruction (Press & Sun-Bulletin - Binghamton, NY) Earlier this week, PAST member Rick Pescatore and city planner Laurie Kimball tore through a house on the city's East Side, pulling chestnut panels from a 90-year-old staircase. "You just can't buy chestnut anymore," said John Lewis, executive director of PAST. "The craftspeople are anonymous, but their legacy is still there. And if we can preserve some of that legacy, it's like preserving the painting of a famous painter." Full Story Back to Top
05-13-07 Gary Griffin Works to Restore American Chestnut (New River Valley Current - Christiansburg, VA) Imagine for a moment the perfect tree. It would be broad and fast-growing, with a massive trunk. It would have a dense, straight-grain, rot-resistant, durable wood, ideal for furniture, construction, split-rail fences, roofing shingles, railroad ties and telephone poles. It would produce prodigious, reliable quantities of mast, the seed, nut or fruit consumed by wildlife. The American chestnut is this and more. Before the chestnut blight swept through our area in the 1930s and destroyed 3.5 billion trees, one of every four trees in the Appalachian region was a chestnut. For families throughout our region a century ago, it was the wood of their crib, their schoolroom desk, their log home and their casket; a true cradle-to-grave resource. The loss of these trees is a story of heartbreak and sorrow. The potential restoration is one of hopefulness and optimism. Gary Griffin, professor emeritus of plant pathology at Virginia Tech, has devoted his career to the teaching, research and experimentation in making it happen. Full Story Back to Top
05-08-07 New Stand of American Chestnuts Planted (Greenwich Time - Greenwich, CT) The American chestnut tree, once near extinction, will soon starting growing in a field off Stanwich Road as part of an initiative to restore the species destroyed across the nation more than 100 years ago by a fungal disease. Yesterday, a group from the Greenwich Land Trust unveiled a row of 21 chestnuts they planted three weeks ago as part of the only chestnut breeding orchard in Fairfield County. "If this is successful, a year from now we will plant more than 200 on this site. This is a long-term project," Full Story Back to Top
05-08-07 Martin County Plants American Chestnuts on Reclaimed Minesite (WYMT - Hazard, KY) Reclamation of a surface mine site in Martin County is creating another foothold in a determined campaign to re-establish the once mighty American chestnut tree. Students from two Martin County middle schools - Warfield and Inez - today planted chestnut seedlings, along with oak seedlings, at a mine site being reclaimed by Lexington Coal Co...Researchers have found that hardwood seedlings thrive in loosely compacted ground on reclaimed mine land. That technique now figures prominently in a multi-state effort - the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative (ARRI) - to re-establish the American chestnut and to generally promote the planting of high-value hardwoods on reclaimed mine lands. Full Story Back to Top
05-05-07 American Chestnut Damaged in Shotgun Practice (Republican & Herald - Pottsville, PA) While doing habitat work with the Little Schuylkill Conservation Club on the state game lands north of Tamaqua, I planted many chestnut trees. It was only by luck that one of these trees had the exceptional qualities that are needed to produce a blight resistant American chestnut. For 20 years, this tree grew tall, straight and blight-free. It reached a height of 35 feet. Over the last few years, it had started producing abundant crops of chestnuts. This week, I took the regional coordinator of the American Chestnut Foundation to see this tree that could be used to help create a blight-resistant strain of the American chestnut. To my disgust, we discovered that someone chose this tree to staple a target to and fire repeatedly at with a shotgun. A two-foot section of its trunk is gone on one side. How long can it live?...I will never understand such a thoughtless and ignorant act. Some trees are worth far more than you might suspect. When this tree is gone, will there be another to take its place? Full Story Back to Top
05-03-07 Chestnut Survivors in Georgia (Union Sentinel - Blairsville, GA) The Chestnut is a survivor. There are full bred American chestnut trees in our forest. Brasstown Bald has quite a few of them and some of them are fully mature trees bearing burrs and nuts. One is on the road up to the Bald by mile marker 8. It is a "mother tree" and is being used by the GA chapter to harvest nuts to grow seedlings...Other "survivors" can be found on the Arkaquah trail about 12 mile down from Brasstown Bald. Two of them were marked with orange tape. Full Story Back to Top
04-26-07 Australian Chestnut Growers Experience Worst Season (ABC Online - Australia) Australia's chestnut growers are experiencing their worst season on record. The Chestnuts Australia Board estimates the harvest will be down by 40 to 60 per cent because of drought and frost damage. Tasmanian grower Colleen Dibley says chestnut lovers can expect a pause in production for the next couple of years. Full Story Back to Top
04-19-07 Old German Chestnut Gets Its Own Mailing Address (EUX.TV - Maastricht, Netherlands) On the occasion of "Tree Day" in Germany on April 25 the chestnut will get its own postal address. It is the second tree in Germany which people can write to - but the first one that will "write" back...The 200-year-old tree stands alone in a field alongside the Rhine River where it has survived two world wars. Generations of people met in its shade, held picnics or even a secret rendezvous. In 1998 the tree was declared a natural monument. However, when in early 2006 an expert noticed fungal decay and the danger that the tree, with its circumference of almost four metres, could topple over, there were plans afoot to cut it down. But a citizen's initiative collected signatures and prevented the old chestnut from being chopped into kindling. A new expert opinion was obtained which certified that the tree was in the best of health. Full Story Back to Top
04-14-07 Maryland High School Volunteers Plant Chestnut Trees (Carroll County Times (subscription) - Westminster, MD) Two ecology classes from Francis Scott Key High School went to Hashawha Environmental Center Wednesday to plant hybrid chestnut seeds, bred to be resistant to the fungus that has nearly wiped the American chestnut out of existence, in a fenced-in acre on a hilltop viewable from John Owings Road...The majority of the seeds planted Wednesday were F4s, or fourth-generation hybrids that are now more or less 95 percent American chestnut and 5 percent Chinese chestnut, said Robert Strasser, the science chair of the Maryland chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation. These seedlings came from two different mother trees that were surviving, blight-resistant American chestnuts found in Maryland. Full Story Back to Top
04-09-07 American Chestnut Presentation and Planting Announced (Glasgow Daily Times - Glasgow, KY) Thanks to ongoing efforts to cross-pollinate the surviving native trees with disease-resistant varieties, the chestnut is poised to make a comeback. Michael French of the American Chestnut Foundation will discuss the decline of the American chestnut and offer hope for the future during the brown bag lunch series at the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Salato Wildlife Education Center in Frankfort. French will speak from noon to 1 p.m. April 11. After the presentation, join us for a planting of offspring from the Kentucky State Champion American chestnut tree on the Salato grounds. Admission to this program is free - just bring your lunch and enjoy. Full Story Back to Top
04-05-07 Volunteers Choose Ideal Land for Planting Chestnut Trees (The Athens News - Athens, OH) About 20 undergraduate and graduate students volunteered last Saturday by planting 1,200 American chestnut seedlings on a reclaimed strip mine in Muskingum County. "The seedlings that we planted are only about 1-2 feet tall right now," said Brian McCarthy, an environmental and plant biology professor. "We are hoping that within about 10 years... you get the beginnings of what looks like a return to a forest ecosystem." The mine land was reclaimed about 30 years ago, but since then, poor soil conditions have only allowed grass to grow. Competitive grasses and highly compacted, nutrient poor soils have prevented a natural revival of trees to the area, McCarthy explained. Prior to the planting of the seedlings, the area in Muskingum County, which is public land, looked like a "rolling pastureland," he added. The planters used a blight-resistant hybrid of American chestnuts because it is one of the few trees that can grow in the soil conditions of the mines. Also, spreading the trees on new land increases the number of American chestnuts, which have gone nearly extinct in the wild since the 1930s, McCarthy said. By boosting the number of American chestnuts in this area, the volunteers hope that the tree will then start to naturally reproduce. Full Story Back to Top
03-31-07 Ohio University Students and Researchers Do Largest Planting of Chestnut Trees in Ohio (Dayton Daily News (subscription) - Dayton, OH) Today, north of Zanesville in Muskingum County, Ohio University students and researchers will engage in the largest single planting of American chestnut trees on public land in the state. The sowing of the 1,200 seedlings on three acres of the 16,200-acre Tri-Valley Wildlife Area is part of a new phase by experts to restore the nearly vanished American chestnut in Ohio. They're calling their efforts reforestation, an important change in terms as small-scale plantings of test trees give way to reclaiming strip-mined lands where thousands of trees could be planted this year. Ohio has 35,000 acres of abandoned strip-mine lands in need of reclamation where chestnuts could be planted, said John Husted, a natural resource administrator with the Division of Mineral Resources Management. The acreage is viewed as prime for the reintroduction of chestnuts...Another big project in the works this year is the establishment of an American chestnut nursery to cultivate a new generation derived from Ohio's surviving trees. Some surviving trees were identified in the wild by the foundation's chapter during a search in 2005. Full Story Back to Top
03-28-07 American Chestnuts Planted in Bankhead National Forest (The Decatur Daily - Decatur, AL) Researchers have planted hybrids at the Bankhead National Forest in an effort to restore the majestic American chestnut that once dominated the Southeast...Researchers at the American Chestnut Foundation are cross breeding the American chestnut with Asian and European varieties resistant to the blight. Some of the hybrids produced are about 94 percent American, said Clark. The hybrids look much like American chestnuts even though they often have DNA from four different species, she said. "That's the final product, but there's not any available right now for reforestation," she said. "We're hoping that in five years they'll have some ready for wide distribution." That's where the forest service comes in, said Clark. She and a team of researchers are planting mixtures of hybrids across the Southeast to determine where they should be planted and what the trees need for survival. Due to a limited supply of the 94 percent hybrids, the foresters are planting chestnuts with varying genetic makeup. Her team, based at Alabama A&M in Huntsville, planted two groups of hybrids in Bankhead National Forest this month...Finding a healthy place for even the blight-resistant tree to live is difficult, said Clark. Another danger lurks, threatening to kill the American chestnut — Phytophthora, a pest that lives in the soil and kills the roots and stems. It's found mostly in the South where temperatures are warm and the soil is moist. Full Story Back to Top
03-20-07 Virginia Chapter Holds Workshop on American Chestnut (Fauquier Times-Democrat - Fauquier, VA) The recently founded Virginia Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation will be holding a workshop on the American Chestnut from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 24, in the John Barton Payne Building, Courthouse Square, Warrenton. There will be presentations on how to locate and identify trees, the pollination process and planting of nuts, all in the effort to restore the American chestnut. Full Story Back to Top
03-16-07 American Chestnut's Bill Banks Dies at 82 (Asheville Citizen-Times - NC) William A. “Bill” Banks, who developed Mountain Air Country Club and battled to bring back the American chestnut to his native mountains, died Wednesday after a long battle with cancer. He was 82...Staffers at the Asheville office of the American Chestnut Foundation remembered Banks as an ardent supporter. Banks had grown up with the native trees, which were the mainstay of his family’s lumber business. Banks went to work at age 13 at his father’s sawmill, hauling sawdust by the wheelbarrow for 10 cents a day. Later, he would found his own lumber company, BankCo. After the blight had claimed the trees by the 1940s, Banks would later reclaim the wormy chestnut wood from felled trees on the mountains, turning his company into one of the top three producers for the prized wood...Banks’ memories will be preserved in a display about the American chestnut at the Interstate 26 visitor’s center in Polk County and at the Cradle of Forestry. Full Story Back to Top
03-11-07 License Granted to Take Down Anne Frank's Chestnut (Chicago Sun-Times - Chicago, IL) Amsterdam's city council gave the owner of the chestnut tree that comforted Anne Frank while she was in hiding a license to cut it down. Opponents have six weeks to object, but that is unlikely. The 150-year-old tree has been attacked by a fungus and is in danger of falling down. The tree is familiar to the millions of readers of The Diary of Anne Frank. It stands in the courtyard of the ''secret annex,'' the canal-side warehouse where her family hid during the Nazi occupation. Full Story Back to Top
03-08-07 Anne Frank's Chestnut to be Cut Down ( - Amsterdam, Netherlands) The famous chestnut tree mentioned in Anne Frank’s diary is to be cut down. Amsterdam council said on Thursday it has no option but to agree to the felling of the 27 tonne tree which is diseased and could be dangerous if it falls. The tree, which is officially listed, is situated in the enclosed courtyard between Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht. Full Story Back to Top
03-07-07 American Chestnut Grower to Speak (Cleveland Plain Dealer - Cleveland, OH) Bob Stehli, who grows fresh, sweet chestnuts on his Mantua farm, speaks at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Meyer Center of Big Creek Park, 9160 Robinson Road, Chardon. More than just a farmer, Stehli is part of a nationwide movement to develop a disease-resistant strain of edible chestnuts that disappeared from our landscape more than 80 years ago. The talk is free. Full Story Back to Top
02-18-07 Chestnuts Planted in Rome, Georgia (Rome News-Tribune - Rome, GA) A group of nearly 20 volunteers and GATACF members spent the chilly morning planting nearly two dozen seedlings of four different types of chestnuts in an enclosed acre and a half..."We planted pure Americans chestnut trees, a breed called Chinkopins which are resistant to the blight, and two hybrids, a Tennessee American and Chinese hybrid and a Georgia American and Chinese hybrid. Both hybrids are 75 percent American and 25 percent Chinese," he said...After the plants are exposed to blight, the group will test them for root rot, a disease unique to the South because of its warmer, damp climate. Cipollini said plants not showing signs of either disease will then be crossbred. Full Story Back to Top
01-24-07 Historic John Milton Chestnut Tree Falls in Storm (Slough Observer - Slough, England, UK) Farmer Colin Rayner has promised to replace a 370-year-old tree fell down at Berkyn Manor Farm in Horton on Thursday last week during storms which hit 80mph. The 100ft chestnut tree was planted by poet John Milton in 1636 when he lived on the farm with his young wife and it is on the grounds where his mother is buried. Workers from the farm cleared the debris and Mr Rayner has ordered two chestnut trees to replace them. Full Story Back to Top
01-15-07 Anne Frank's Dying Chestnut to be Replaced by Identical DNA Sampling (Ynetnews - Israel) For the last half century, Anne Frank and her incredible diary, has served as a symbol of how even in the worst and inhumane conditions, we can find light, joy and hope...In her diary...she makes reoccurring references to an old chestnut tree that she could see through the only window that was not blacked out...She writes: Feb. 23, 1944: "Nearly every morning I go to the attic to blow the stuffy air out of my lungs, from my favorite spot on the floor I look up at the blue sky and the bare chestnut tree, on whose branches little raindrops shine, appearing like silver…"As long as this exists, I thought, and I may live to see it, this sunshine, the cloudless skies, while this lasts I cannot be unhappy." The tree, estimated to be about 150 years of age has been dying from a deadly fungus that attacked it recently...In his place, a sampling taken from the old tree will be planted...The sampling has the precise same DNA...He will be planted at the same place. Full Story Back to Top
01-14-07 Italian Chestnuts in Danger (BBC News - UK) Alarm is growing in Tuscany, one of Italy's top tourist destinations, after the arrival of a possibly devastating threat to the region's chestnut trees. A Chinese now attacking some of the country's finest chestnut forests...Experts say they can eat as much as 80% of a large chestnut tree's fruit. The bug is also difficult to eradicate. The BBC's Mark Duff in Milan says the chestnut has almost totemic significance in the rural and culinary history of Italy. Full Story Back to Top
01-11-07 John Mirick Helps Restore American Chestnut (The Landmark - Holden, MA) The American Chestnut Foundation, along with people like John Mirick of Princeton have set a goal to restore the American chestnut to its native forests through a scientific breeding program developed by the founders of the TACF. A blight-resistant American chestnut is expected to be ready for forest tree-planting any day, and for wider distribution within the next decade. The TACF has been working for about 21 years to breed the tree. About 300 little trees, surrounded by blue tubes and mulched with hay, aren't the beginnings of an apple orchard as one might expect -- instead they are hybrid chestnut trees...Mirick's trees are about 94 percent American and six and a quarter percent Chinese. Each further cycle of back-crossing reduces the Chinese fraction by a factor of one-half. The idea is to dilute out all the Chinese characteristics except for blight resistance...When the hybrid trees in Mirick's experimental orchard are about three inches in circumference, or about six or seven years old, they will be intentionally infected with the blight..."If we lose 80 percent of them I'll be remembering all the work I did here...The surviving trees will produce nuts when they are about seven to eight years old. Full Story Back to Top
12-17-06 Derek Pritts Works to Save Pure American Chestnuts (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Pittsburgh, PA) K. Derek Pritts found his future on a steep ravine in Fayette County. At the time 40 years ago, he didn't know the effect his find would have on his life. While out on a sixth-grade school project, Pritts found a leaf of an American chestnut tree. He read about the trees and discovered they almost were extinct after a 1904 blight swept across the United States, taking away a favorite wood of furniture makers. Pritts, 53, who grew up in Normalville, now dedicates his life to restoring the tree...Pritts and others are growing American chestnuts in Lancaster County, where Pritts lives. They hope eventually to grow an American chestnut that is resistant to the Cryphonectria parasitica fungus. Pritts, who received a degree in agriculture from Penn State and works for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, has two groves of American chestnuts started from a few rare seedlings and seed nuts taken from special stock left in the United States. They include 15 seedlings from what Pritts describes as "the mother tree" in Adair County, Ky. Full Story Back to Top
12-08-06 National Wild Turkey Federation Partners with American Chestnut Foundation (New Bern Sun Journal - New Bern, NC) The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) to benefit American chestnut trees and wild turkeys. Through the agreement, the NWTF will work with the TACF to plant blight-resistant chestnut trees in orchards with the ultimate goal being to provide a future source of American chestnut trees. Together, the two groups hope to improve forest health by eventually planting American chestnut trees throughout the eastern U.S. Full Story Back to Top
12-02-06 Volunteers Try to Save Ozark Chinquapin (Kansas City Star - MO) Two painstaking campaigns are under way in southwest Missouri to revive the Ozark chinquapin, a once-common tree treasured in bygone times for the nutritious, pecan-like nut tucked inside its prickly bur. A member of the chestnut family, the Ozark chinquapin was all but obliterated by the 1960s after chestnut blight that hit the eastern United States early in the last century reached western Missouri. Reminders of the tree remain, in the form of rot-resistant hulks of mature trees from which new shoots sometimes appear. But the shoots rarely get old enough to produce seeds before they're hit by blight..."Every time I walk through the woods and look at all these trees that are struggling, it tears at my heart strings," Mourglia said. Now, she's among the volunteer participants in the Ozark Chinquapin Initiative, which held a ceremonial planting Saturday of two saplings at the Springfield Nature Center. The eventual goal is to produce an adequate number of thriving Ozark chinquapins to crossbreed them with blight-resistant Chinese chestnuts. A parallel project is being conducted by the Ozark Chinquapin Foundation, founded several years ago by Steve Bost with the goal of growing trees that are naturally blight-resistant. The two groups have different methods, but they agree on the value of the effort. Full Story Back to Top
11-16-06 Anne Frank's Chestnut Cannot be Saved (Spiegel Online - Berlin, Germany) After a long battle with illness and infection, the famous chestnut tree which provided Anne Frank inspiration and support during her years of hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam will now have to be cut down. For the last two years, the 150-year-old tree has been the victim of an aggressive fungus, as well as the dangerous horse chestnut leaf miner moth, for the last two years. It's now at risk of falling over. The decision was announced on Tuesday by the Amsterdam city council. The news comes after a long battle to keep the tree alive. Last year, the tree's crown was cut back for stability. A number of botanists have also been performing tests and observing the chestnut in the past six months to do what they can to save it. Full Story Back to Top
11-15-06 Cryphonectria Parasitica Destroys American Chestnut (Smoky Mountain Sentinel - Hayesville, NC) What happened to the American Chestnut tree? It was wiped out by blight from a fungus, Cryphonectria parasitica. The fungus was first discovered in Bronx Zoological Park, Bronx, NY in 1904 and spread throughout the entire range of the American chestnut reaching our mountains and destroying most mature tress by 1930s and just about all by the 1950s. The fungus was introduced by Japanese Chestnut trees imported into the United States in the late 1800's. Full Story Back to Top
11-15-06 Anne Frank's Chestnut to be Cut Down (The Age - Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) A giant chestnut tree which Anne Frank gazed upon from her attic hideaway is so diseased that it must be felled, Amsterdam council says. The chestnut stands in a garden backing on to the secret annexe where the Jewish teenager and her family hid from the Nazis between 1942 and 1944. Almost half of the 150- to 170-year-old tree, frequently mentioned in Anne Frank's diary, has rotted, the council said. Full Story Back to Top
11-12-06 Delaware Farm Sells American Chestnuts (The News Journal - Wilmington, DE) Delmarvelous Chestnuts, a farm located outside Townsend, ranks as one of the top five commercial chestnut growers in the U.S., even though only 16 acres of trees are harvested there each year. The farm is operated by Gary and Nancy Petitt, who purchased the property and began establishing the orchard in 1993. "Chestnuts were abundant on the East Coast during the time of the Pilgrims and right on through the 19th century," says Gordon Johnson, Kent County Cooperative Extension agent. "There weren't commercial orchards, just plenty of wild trees. When autumn arrived, people would go into the woods and collect chestnuts. In Delaware, farmers didn't start planting chestnut trees until the early 1900s." Which proved to be impeccably bad timing. In 1904, diseased Asian chestnut trees that were planted on Long Island carried a virulent fungus that practically wiped out the American chestnut. Full Story Back to Top
11-05-06 What Was It Like to See the Chestnut Forests? (Williamsport Sun-Gazette - Williamsport, PA) The American chestnut (Castanea dentata) was once the most important hardwood tree in our Eastern forests. It thrived from Maine to Georgia, often making up 33 percent of the forest. In the Appalachian Mountains, the ridges were nearly pure chestnut...In the virgin forest, American chestnut trees typically were 4 to 5 feet in diameter, 80 to 130 feet in height and upward of 600 years old. Many specimens were 8 to 10 feet in diameter, and legendary accounts persist of trees bigger. As a forester, I cannot fathom what the earliest settlers came across in Lycoming County. It had to be absolutely remarkable. Still today, I occasionally come across stumps of American chestnut that probably met their fate around World War II, which was near the end of the epidemic. Full Story Back to Top
11-02-06 Robert Strasser Labors to Bring Back American Chestnut (Business Gazette - Gaithersburg, MD) Strasser learned about the American Chestnut Foundation’s American Chestnut Project after earning a master’s degree in environmental science from Hood College in 1998. He visited pre-existing research plots in Virginia and decided to get involved with the effort to save the dying trees. In cooperation with Hood College, Strasser has served as a research associate and orchard manager for the first American Chestnut Project research plot in Maryland for the last 1 1/2 years. Strasser works on a 3/4-acre fenced plot on the grounds of ThorpeWood, an environmental education center in Thurmont...‘‘Our goal is to have 500 disease-resistant trees that are as close to the original American Chestnut as possible,” Strasser said. Strasser has a rhyme to discern between the trees. ‘‘The American leaves are shaped like a canoe, and the Chinese leaves are shaped like a shoe,” he said. The bred trees will be planted all over the area in hopes that they will be able to survive on their own, producing more disease resistant trees. Full Story Back to Top
10-27-06 American Chestnut Tree Produces 588 Chestnuts (Cape Codder - Orleans, MA) Forester Rufin Van Bossuyt can barely contain his excitement when he talks about efforts to bring back the American chestnut tree and one tree in particular in Orleans that has surpassed expectations. The rare chestnut, located on private property on Namequoit Road, was pollinated last July with the help of a bucket truck from NStar and tree warden Daniel Connolly, and 588 chestnuts were recently harvested. "Best I have ever done," said Bossuyt, adding that the average is usually about 100 to 150 chestnuts...Once a sizable number of seedlings has been cultivated, Bossuyt said federal and state agencies, including universities and local conservation departments, will assist in repopulating the trees. Full Story Back to Top
8-22-06 Two 88-Foot American Chestnuts Inspire Memorial Engraving (PR Web (press release) - Ferndale, WA) A unique and precedent setting memorial bench was dedicated on July 1, 2006 at Mills & Mills Memorial Park in Tumwater (Olympia), WA, recognizing the relationship of a gay couple. Gary Perkins died on June 11, 2005, and his partner, Hal Stockbridge, created a black granite bench to honor his beloved partner. It is rare to find monuments or grave markers that give recognition to gay and lesbian partners...The memorial has a number of inscriptions on both front and back...On the back is an engraving of two trees growing together, side by side, their branches intermingled...The engraving of the two trees growing together was inspired in part by two 88-foot-tall American chestnuts on the cemetery grounds. These chestnuts, called “the king of trees,” were featured in the May 2004 edition of Discover Magazine. They are documented to be the largest healthy American chestnuts in the United States, planted in 1845 by pioneers from Missouri. Full Story Back to Top
8-8-06 Discoveries of Surviving American Chestnuts Will Assist in Forest Comeback ( - Portland, ME) Ivan Booker was 8 years old during those crisp, autumn days, and the path to school through the Gifford Farm in North Fairfield was full of towering chestnut trees. "My brother and I would fill our pockets with sweet chestnuts and munch on them all day," Booker recalled. It was 1918. Fourteen years later, the trees had disappeared from Gifford Farm. "They were all dead," said Booker, now 96...Then, in 1981, a Minnesota plant geneticist named Charles Burnham proposed that the Chinese chestnut tree that brought the demise of the American chestnuts could be used to resurrect them... Volunteers from the Maine chapter recently found a grove of eight native trees in Embden, which they'll add to the breeding program. And in May, a stand of trees was found along a hiking trail in Albany, Ga. Full Story Back to Top
7-14-06 Cape Cod American Chestnut Adds Genetic Material for Survival (Cape Codder - Orleans, MA) Forester Rufin Van Bossuyt maneuvered the bucket of the NStar truck around the top of the American chestnut tree July 7, looking for the "male" and "female" flowers on the branches. He picked off and discarded the males, but covered the females with a small bag - the better to keep undesirables near John and Dora Stix’s summer home on Namequoit Road from spreading their pollen to the females. In a few days, Van Bossuyt will be back with pollen of his own... "We feel very honored," John Stix said...John spent summers as a child in the house, but neither he nor Dora thought the tree was anything special. Carpenter Mike Ciampa, who had come to work on their decks, recognized it as an American chestnut. "He was so excited," John said. "He called us and wrote us letters." Full Story Back to Top
7-4-06 Pollinating Chestnut Trees for Survival (Centre Daily Times - Centre County, PA) They're known as "chestnut chastity belts,"...The belts -- really bags -- are one step in the American Chestnut Foundation's ongoing breeding effort. The goal is to create trees that have the American chestnut's height and beauty and the Chinese chestnut's ability to resist the blight that decimated American chestnuts in the first part of the 20th century and continues to prove fatal to them...The next step will be to pollinate the female flowers in mid-July with an advanced hybrid pollen. Fitzsimmons said the yellow, powdery stuff is developed by crossing three to four generations of trees...The crew won't know if it has worked until they open the burs in early October to see if there are healthy nuts inside. After that, they'll store the nuts for the winter and plant them in the spring. Full Story Back to Top
7-1-06 Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree, the Village Smithy Stands (Bangor Daily News - Bangor, ME) Everybody knows at least the first line of Longfellow's poem about the village blacksmith: "Under the spreading chestnut tree, the village smithy stands." But many may not be aware that the chestnut tree has gone the way of the elm, wiped out by Maine, Glen Rae, a forester turned stockbroker, heads a chapter of the foundation. It operates 10 orchards in the Camden-Augusta area, where 2,000 trees are in the fourth generation of cross breeding, as well as a forest in Veazie. It takes six generations to achieve successful resistance. The University of Maine and the U.S. Forest Service have just permitted the foundation to grow chestnut trees on a plot in the Penobscot Experimental Forest at Bradley. Authorities agree that it will be 10 to 15 years before enough blight resistant chestnut trees are produced to permit widespread replanting. When that happy time arrives, cities, towns and individuals can start bringing back the beautiful towering trees that Longfellow made so famous in an earlier day. Full Story Back to Top
6-20-06 85-Foot American Chestnut Found in Alabama (Birmingham News - Birmingham, AL) Alabama's largest known living American chestnut tree, found last year in the Talladega National Forest, is 85 feet tall, 14 inches in diameter and healthy, and has somehow avoided the effects of the blight that virtually killed off what was once a dominant tree of the Appalachian Mountains. This month, the Alabama chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation led an expedition to the tree, which is flowering now, to gather pollen and to pollinate it in hopes of producing offspring from the rare specimen. The tree's pollen will be useful in the national effort to breed a blight-resistant chestnut and may be particularly important in producing a seedling adapted to the Deep South...The Talladega tree was discovered last year by timber scouts employed by the Forest Service, who were surveying the area for a timber sale. They noticed some strange-looking burs on the ground, looked up and were amazed...No one is quite sure why the Talladega tree has avoided falling prey to the blight, which is caused by an easily spread fungus. Other chestnuts on the ridge have succumbed or are suffering from it. A DNA analysis of the Talladega tree found that, generations ago, one of the tree's maternal ancestors was a Chinquapin tree, a relative of the chestnut. Full Story Back to Top
6-18-06 Two Healthy American Chestnut Trees Discovered in New Hampshire (FOX News - US) The Lee trees are two adult American chestnuts between 50 to 60 feet tall, Eaton said. They've produced flowers and nuts and appear to be unaffected by the fungus. The trees are located on land that the town voted to conserve in 2002. Eaton would not disclose the trees' exact location, saying no one should seek them out to touch, climb or otherwise disturb them. Eaton said other American chestnut trees have been sighted in the Wakefield-Middleton area, North Andover and in Brookfield. Maine has about 200 naturally growing, nut-producing American chestnut trees. Some of these are up to 100 years old, having been spared from the fungus. Full Story Back to Top
6-16-06 Delaware Scientists Work Toward American Chestnut Comeback (The News Journal - Wilmington, DE) Sara Fitzsimmons proves even trees need a little high-tech matchmaking help. Fitzsimmons spent Thursday playing horticultural cupid in an orchard of chestnut trees down a windy gravel road at the Red Clay Reservation near Hockessin...In two weeks, researchers will "mate" the two trees at the Hockessin orchard by rubbing the catkins from one across the flowers of the other. In September, the chestnuts produced will be collected and sent to Penn State, where they will join part of the fifth generation of chestnut trees to be grown at the university's arboretum. The foundation expects to be ready to widely distribute blight-resistant trees within five to 10 years, Fitzsimmons said, but the trees likely won't have a strong presence in American forests again for perhaps 200 years...Records show Delaware had chestnut trees 2 to 3 feet in diameter and 80 feet tall a century ago, Short said. Today, the few chestnut trees scattered through the state's woodlands are less than half the size and often succumb to blight and die prematurely. Full Story Back to Top
6-14-06 Special Presentation Features Famous Chestnut Trees of West Salem (West Salem Coulee News - West Salem, WI) The grove of American chestnut trees, just north of West Salem, is the largest grove of chestnut trees in the United States, said Errol Kindschy, president of the West Salem Historical Society. The trees used to be found from Maine to Florida, but in the early 1900s the trees were devastated by severe blight, an Asian fungus to which native chestnuts had very little resistance, according to The American Chestnut Foundation...The stand in West Salem, however, became known nationally, because it was not initially affected by the blight, but it has since been hit and efforts have been under way to save the stand, Kindschy said. The seeds were planted by Martin Hicks in West Salem. Through the years, several property owners controlled the land. The chestnuts are spreading into neighboring properties, Kindschy said. Full Story Back to Top
6-11-06 Ohio Aids Efforts to Restore American Chestnut (Canton Repository (subscription) - Canton, OH) Wildlife biologists have restored populations of coyotes, buffalo, bald eagles, osprey and other animals. Can botanists do the same for the American chestnut?...seedlings planted by the Friends of Fort Laurens at the Revolutionary War site near Bolivar may help. The blight stopped at the Rocky Mountains, so Fort Laurens got its 25 pure American chestnut seedlings from Montana, said Scott Fisher, a trustee for the Friends of Fort Laurens. Bringing them East could expose them to the virus in five to seven years, he said, but an American-Chinese chestnut hybrid that is supposed to be blight resistant is expected to be in circulation within two years...The president of the Ohio chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation is Greg Miller of Carroll County, who has built a business around the tree. He’s growing several thousand pure American chestnut seedlings as stock for the Ohio American Chestnut Foundation research program...Predicting how long the pure species can live before the blight gets to it is more art than science, he said. “Some of the trees can live up to 40 or 50 years before they get the blight,” he said. “It usually starts when the trees reach the stage where the bark starts to split. That provides a point of entry for the fungus.” Full Story Back to Top
5-23-06 Red Wolf Run Foundation Aids Attempt to Restore American Chestnuts (Yahoo! News (press release) - USA) The fight to develop a blight resistant American chestnut tree gained a new ally this week with the announcement that the Red Wolf Run Foundation has agreed to donate funds and property to The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF). Red Wolf Run, a premier mountain property development, just minutes from Asheville, was named the official Western North Carolina residential community sponsor of TACF. Approximately 50 new American chestnuts were planted in a reserve area located on the grounds at Red Wolf Run. The land enables TACF to conduct research. Full Story Back to Top
5-22-06 Newly Discovered Rare American Chestnut Tree Named For Discoverer Nathan Klaus (Macon Telegraph - Macon, GA) It rises 45 feet...The American chestnut tree is now so rare that when Culloden resident Nathan Klaus found a mature specimen near Dowdell's Knob in FDR State Park, it excited scientists up and down the East Coast...The Pine Mountain tree, now named after Klaus, is even more usual: It's believed to be the southernmost mature, naturally-occurring American chestnut to resist the blight. David Keehn, breeding coordinator for the Georgia chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation, guessed the tree could be anywhere from 25 to 50 years old. The large tree is surrounded by other younger, but still unusually long-surviving, chestnuts. While walking around the area Friday, Klaus spotted even more...Although hundreds or possibly 1,000 mature American chestnuts are believed to have survived the blight - an estimated two or three per county in the tree's former range - "Trees large enough to flower and produce nuts are very rare," Keehn said. "Especially to find two of this size is spectacular." Full Story Back to Top
5-20-06? Rare American Chestnut Trees Found in Georgia (WTVM - Columbus, GA) Down a narrow, winding trail, past tree after tree, until finally, a group of nature lovers arrive at what could be compared to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. "When I heard there was an American Chestnut, I was just thrilled because very few people ever get to see one that's as big as this and in bloom," said Kathy Stege, a member of the group. They might just be trees to some, but for Stege, the American Chestnut is culture. "It's part of the reason people were able to settle this area," Stege said. "It was such a source of food and timber and if the tree hadn't been there, our whole history would be different." A biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources made the surprising discovery during a hike. The trees are believed to be 25-50 years old...These are the only American Chestnut trees known to be this far south in the United States...We're told they're healthy. Full Story Back to Top
5-19-06 American Chestnut Foundation Plans to Produce Offspring from Newly Found Chestnut Trees (The Chattanoogan - Chattanooga, TN) The Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife Resources Division (WRD), Georgia Botanical Society, and the Georgia Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation announce a recent discovery of a small stand of American Chestnut trees on F.D. Roosevelt (FDR) State Park in Harris County, Georgia...until the discovery of the FDR trees, only one other tree was known from outside the Blue Ridge in Georgia. The FDR trees represent the southernmost known American chestnut trees in the United States..."It is a rare opportunity to see an entire stand, albeit a small one, of American chestnut trees, many of which are in the forest canopy," said Nathan Klaus, WRD Sr. Wildlife Biologist and discoverer of the Harris County stand. "None of these trees show injury from blight."..."This is a terrific find," said David Keehn, president of the Georgia Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation. "The large tree that we plan to pollinate at the FDR site is a beautiful and very rare specimen. We're very excited about capturing the genes of this specimen and perhaps others around Pine Mountain. Hopefully a few years down the road we'll have many progeny from this tree that we can reintroduce back into the forest." Full Story Back to Top
5-18-06 Stand of Surviving American Chestnuts Discovered in Georgia (Seattle Post Intelligencer - USA) A stand of American chestnut trees that somehow escaped a blight that killed off nearly all their kind in the early 1900s has been discovered along a hiking trail not far from President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Little White House at Warm Springs. The find has stirred excitement among those working to restore the American chestnut, and raised hopes that scientists might be able to use the pollen to breed hardier chestnut trees. "There's something about this place that has allowed them to endure the blight," said Nathan Klaus, a biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources who spotted the trees. "It's either that these trees are able to resist the blight, which is unlikely, or Pine Mountain has something unique that is giving these trees resistance." Experts say it could be that the chestnuts have less competition from other trees along the dry, rocky ridge. The fungus that causes the blight thrives in a moist environment. The largest of the half-dozen or so trees is about 40 feet tall and 20 to 30 years old, and is believed to be the southernmost American chestnut discovered so far that is capable of flowering and producing nuts. Full Story Back to Top
5-06-06 Pennsylvania Farmer-Environmentalist Includes Chestnut Restoration Among Environmental Projects (Centre Daily Times - Centre County, PA) The Walizers' property is home to chestnut tree research and conservation efforts, including stream cleanup, reforestation projects and tree tube protectors that Jim Walizer designed. "Usually farmers do a great job farming their fields, but they let their forests go," he said. Not Walizer. He has four chestnut orchards with a total of about 1,000 trees, part of a larger initiative to reintroduce a blight-resistant tree to American forests. Full Story Back to Top
5-2-06 Kashtan Tree Celebrates 180 Years in Kyiv, Ukraine ( - Kyiv, Ukraine) This year, the chestnut tree is celebrating 180 years since first arriving in the capital city of Kyiv. The chestnut was first introduced to Ukraine as a decorative tree from the Balkans in the 19th century. The foliage and flower of the Kashtan tree, as it is called in Ukrainian, was adopted as the official city symbol of Kyiv in 1969. The nuts from the trees are for the horses, botanists say, and should not be eaten. Full Story Back to Top
4-30-06 America Gets Chestnut Beer (Michigan Farm News - Lansing, MI) Members of the Chestnut Growers, Inc., cooperative, a group of 36 Michigan growers who produce and sell nuts, continue to look for new ways to market their crop. After tasting a chestnut beer produced by an amateur home brewer from Laingsburg, growers realized that many possibilities exist for marketing the popular nut...After hearing about the beer, Ron Jeffries of Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales in Dexter became interested in the concept and set forth to produce a beer using chestnuts. Jeffries named his product Fuego del Otono ("autumn fire"). "I thought it might be fun to brew a traditional modern beer made from chestnuts," Jeffries said. "Chestnut beer is sure something we don't see very often." Though chestnut beer has been brewed in Europe for many years, until recently there was no record of any being produced and distributed in the United States. Jeffries produces the only bottled chestnut beer commercially available here. Full Story Back to Top
4-29-06 American Chestnut Success Gives Hope to Endangered Ash Trees (Toledo Blade - Toledo, OH) The real stars were two young trees off to the side that were about to be planted on the nuns' campus: Blight-resistant chestnut trees that scientists developed after years of research. The American chestnut was once the most dominant and valuable hardwood in this part of the country, called the "redwood of the East," said Mr. Rey, the USDA's undersecretary for natural resources and environment. Four billion of them were killed by an exotic fungal disease known as chestnut blight in the first half of the 20th century, one of the biggest forest catastrophies in North America's history. Officials fear the carnage could someday be surpassed by ash trees' destruction. Ten billion of them are east of the Rocky Mountains...Yesterday, two of them were planted in Sylvania and two were planted in Columbus. "What those trees symbolize is that you should never give up hope," Mr. Rey said. Full Story Back to Top
4-27-06 Derek Pritts Plants American Chestnuts in Pennsylvania (Lititz Record Express - Lititz, PA) in 1904, a fungus known as Cryphonectria parasitica, more commonly referred to as “chestnut blight,” was introduced into the United States on imported Japanese Chestnut trees that were placed in New York City. The blight spread through the eastern forests of New York City, then raged on throughout the country, virtually decimating the defenseless American species of chestnut by 1950. Of an estimated 3.5 billion American Chestnut trees, only a few dozen survived the pandemic blight infestation. This tragic event led to the enactment of Plant Quarantine laws in the United States...“I became a member of ACCF in October 2005 and purchased 50 seedlings and 15 seed nuts for planting at Speedwell Forge Lake,” he explained, “thus, in effect, creating a LSA (Large Surviving American) grove where the progeny of a few survivors can cross-pollinate naturally and, I believe, pass on more resistance to each generation.”...Many of the trees were planted last Saturday, as an Earth Day project. They were selectively bred by the American Chestnut Cooperator’s Foundation (ACCF), using 100 percent pure American Chestnut trees. The ACCF is the driving force to save pure American chestnut trees; no other organization is working to preserve the native tree. Full Story Back to Top
4-26-06 American Chestnut Trees Re-introduced to Connecticut (Amity Observer - Shelton, CT) More than 100 years ago, American chestnut trees were attacked by a blight brought into the United States on chestnut trees from Japan. The Chinese and Japanese chestnuts are resistant to cryphonectria parasitica from the Orient. The blight was first identified on trees at the Bronx Zoo in 1904 and spread rapidly throughout the East. Now, members of the Woodbridge Land Trust and concerned residents are working together to bring the chestnut tree back to Connecticut with an ambitious project that began last year...Calistro has an American chestnut tree in his yard and Fries, who owns a tree service, has a bucket truck...using a paintbrush, a couple of brave volunteers hand-pollinated the catkins with select pollen from Pennsylvania trees...Arnold said that in four years, when the trees are about four to six feet tall, they will be infected with the blight and the surviving trees would be saved for breeding purposes. Full Story Back to Top
4-08-06 Pennsylvania Man Establishes New Grove from LSA Chestnuts (Lancaster Newspapers - Lancaster, PA) They are establishing two groves of trees with seedlings and seed nuts gleaned through The American Chestnut Foundation and the American Chestnut Cooperators Foundation in 12 states. Penn State helped Pritts assemble the stock from Maine, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Carolina, Alabama, Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky. One of the research plots will measure the adaptability of ordinary American chestnuts not yet exposed to blight. The other is devoted to the progeny of “Large Surviving American” (LSA) trees that have prevailed against the killer fungus for at least 10 years. “As far as I know,” Pritts said, “our LSA grove will be one of a kind.” His thinking: These uber-trees might produce vastly superior genetic offspring. And then, who knows? “We’re on the cutting edge” of chestnut research, Pritts mused. “The end of the rainbow could be right in Lancaster County.”...That grove contains 15 seed nuts from Virginia, 50 seedlings from West Virginia and 15 seedlings from what Pritts dubs the “mother tree” in Adair County, Ky. The Adair County chestnut is a green beacon of hope for tree rehabilitators. “It’s been hit by bulldozers, struck by lightning,” Pritts remarked with a note of awe. Canker sores line its bark. On it blooms, in apparent defiance. Nobody knows why. Sara Fitzsimmons, the Penn State tree breeding expert who made it possible for Pritts to obtain Adair seedlings, said the tree is one of only about 25 nationwide that seem to have survived the original fungus pandemic. Full Story Back to Top
4-3-06 Sydneysiders Continue Annual Chestnut Tradition (Sydney Morning Herald - Sydney, New South Wales, Australia) The Portuguese prefer a slow roasting, the Italians turn up the heat and Koreans just like getting steamy. For many Sydneysiders the first signs of cooler weather mean one thing: chestnut season. For four weekends each year, the chestnut farms of Mount Irvine in the Blue Mountains receive a pilgrimage of families, after the biggest, freshest chestnuts..."It is good to take our kids here, for them to have the same memories of picking the chestnuts from the tree and not just buying them at the market," Mr Youm said. Full Story Back to Top
3-23-06? The Burnham Hypothesis May Save the American Chestnut (Natural Resources Defense Council - New York, NY) A retired plant geneticist named Charles Burnham became interested in the chestnut's plight two decades after the USDA program ended. He concluded that the breeders had made a basic mistake in crossing Chinese-American hybrids with Chinese trees in order to boost resistance. Any geneticist could have told them the trees would end up looking Chinese. Burnham proposed an alternative method called backcross breeding, which is used when breeders want to tinker with only a single trait, like susceptibility to disease. A backcross breeding program would start by mating Chinese and American trees. But then, instead of mating those hybrids with Chinese trees, they would be crossed with American chestnuts in order to beef up the quotient of American genes while diluting the concentration of Chinese traits. Ideally, after several generations, the only Chinese genes that remained would be those conferring blight resistance. The result, Burnham dared to hope, would be a tree that looks and grows like an American chestnut but fights blight like a Chinese. Full Story Back to Top
3-03-06 Largest Dunstan Chestnut Orchard in Florida For Sale (Web (press release) - Ferndale, WA) Suwannee County, FL...There are fewer than 500 acres of Chestnut Orchards in the U.S. and the largest Dunstan Chestnut Orchard in the State of Florida will be on the auction block March 18, 2006. The Chestnut industry is a $20 million a year business and the demand is high for fresh produce grown right here in the U.S. Chestnuts that arrive here in the states are typically of low quality and so demand is high for these home grown nuts. 1350 trees on 20 acres of beautiful rolling North Florida property will produce fruitage in approximately 3 years and yields are typically large according to experts. These trees are blight resistant due to the research and development of Dr. Richard T. Dunstan for whom the trees are named and have there own U.S. plant patent. These trees are healthy, grow vigorously and when they come of age in most cases produce heavily each year. Full Story Back to Top
2-23-06 Kurds Value Chestnut Trees (KurdishMedia - UK) I asked about respect for trees, and I was told that for years Saddam Hussein would order burning the trees in that region, and now the people of the region are trying to replace those burned trees by not cutting any more. Even chestnuts that had fallen from trees were left alone. There is a strong bond between chestnuts and the Kurds (specially the pesmarge) because the pesmerge had nothing to eat except chestnuts every time they were driven to the mountains by Saddam's army. Full Story Back to Top
2-19-06 Several Species of Oaks Fill Gap Left by Once-Dominant American Chestnut (Pocono Record - Stroudsburg, PA) The first example of a Pocono natural community is the "mixed oak forest." Formerly called the "oak-chestnut forest," this community was once dominated by American chestnut and several species of oaks until the early 1900s, when an Asian fungus - the famous chestnut blight - infected and eventually killed almost every chestnut tree throughout its range. Today, there are no big, mature chestnut trees left, and sprouts arising from old, living root systems are all that remain of this once dominant, majestic, valuable tree. Several species of oaks have combined to fill in the gaps left by the vanished chestnuts. Full Story Back to Top
2-09-06 Michigan Farmers Promote More Chestnuts in American Diet (The Jackson Citizen-Patriot - Jackson, MI) Only about 15 percent of Americans have eaten chestnuts, a staple in places like Italy. Fulbright and some 100 Michigan farmers are attempting to change that by slowly working low-fat chestnuts into our diets in salads, soup, entrees, desserts and even beer. At the center of the fledgling industry is the Rogers Reserve, 114 acres bequeathed to Michigan State University by Ernie and Mable Rogers for research and development of new farm products. Fulbright started planting American chestnuts at the S. Jackson Road property in the early 1990s. The reserve now features a large pole barn with processing and storage facilities, a 10-acre enclosure of European and Asian chestnuts, plus pawpaw, heartnut, butternut and Douglas fir trees. Chestnuts are the focus. Full Story Back to Top
1-27-06 Italian Chestnuts Seek EU Seal of Approval (ANSA - Rome, Italy) Chestnuts from Viterbo north of Rome are applying for a seal of approval from the European Union certifying their quality and provenance. The chestnuts will follow another local favourite, hazelnuts. The nuts will stretch Italy's lead in the speciality food stakes over the next best EU member, France. Italy has been steadily pulling away from France over the last few months. In November the classic 'Ascoli olive' - a scrunchy olive au gratin from the Marche city - and crisp apples from the northern Alto Adige region attained European Union recognition...The EU seals of approval are aimed at protecting genuine products from inferior clones. Full Story Back to Top
1-13-06? Test Plantings of American Chestnut in Ohio Due This Spring (Dayton Daily News (subscription) - Dayton, OH) The great American chestnut die-off and the Dust Bowl had much in common in the lexicon of misery. Both occurred in the 1930s during the Great Depression, a decade like few others in mingling economic cruelty with natural disaster. The death of a tree species from a pitiless foreign blight would not ordinarily be lumped in with the collapse of banks, stock prices and a catastrophic loss of topsoil, but the American chestnut is no ordinary tree...Wind breaks and modern agricultural practices ended the Dust Bowl. Today the virtually extinct chestnut remains a hole in the forest that has never been filled. That could change if a plan to restore the chestnut is successful. Advances in plant biology and breeding have given the chestnut another chance at life, and test plantings of highly fungus-resistant trees are planned for Ohio this spring...After pockets of trees are planted throughout Ohio, it will take 100 years for the American chestnut to again have the impact of a forest giant. Full Story Back to Top
1-04-06 U.S. Forest Service Teams Up with American Chestnut Foundation to Bring Back American Chestnut (Macon Telegraph - Macon, GA) In an effort to bring the American chestnut tree back into the U.S. landscape, the U.S. Forest Service has teamed up with a group called the American Chestnut Foundation to develop a disease-resistant tree. Researchers with the foundation have been crossbreeding the American variety with a resistant Asian variety since the 1970s in hopes of developing a specimen that can survive the blight and flourish in the United States. If all goes well, foresters should have resistant seeds in hand, ready to plant, as early as next spring. Full Story Back to Top
1-02-06 Chestnuts -- Not Just for Christmas Anymore (Columbia Missourian - Columbia, MO) A group of agricultural researchers at MU have a holiday message of their own for those who would confine them to the open fire roast: Chestnuts aren’t just for Christmas anymore. “I don’t think there’s an image problem or a misperception,” said Mike Gold, associate director of the university’s Center for Agroforestry, where tree scientists are experimenting with more than 50 varieties of chestnuts at a Howard County research farm. “I think there’s just a flat-out unfamiliarity.” A century ago — before an Asian blight devastated most of the country’s millions of chestnut trees — no slogans were necessary. Chestnuts were a staple of American diets, particularly for recent immigrants. Full Story Back to Top
12-30-05 It Will Take Generations to Bring Back the Once-Dominant American Chestnut (Trenton Times - Trenton, NJ) Bob Summersgill knows it will take generations and painstaking work to bring the once-dominant American chestnut tree back from the brink of extinction. That hasn't stopped the 70-year-old Warren resident from spending his retirement engaged in the fledgling bid to replenish forests in eastern North America with American chestnut trees. "It used to be the largest tree (variety) in the East," said Summersgill, a volunteer for the American Chestnut Foundation and former president of its Pennsylvania chapter. "In North America, only the redwoods and the sequoias are larger," he said...Today, only six mature pure American chestnut trees are known to survive in New Jersey, Summersgill said. Full Story Back to Top
12-29-05 American Chestnut Story Will Draw Attention at Farm Show (Milton Daily Standard - Milton, PA) The Pennsylvania chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation will feature the history, blight and recovery of the American chestnut tree at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, Jan. 7-14 in Harrisburg. Volunteers will staff the foundation’s booth in the Farm and Family Area, showcasing the chapter’s crossbreeding efforts to create a blight-resistant chestnut tree. Full Story Back to Top
12-29-05 President Bush Plants 16-foot Chestnut Tree at Whitehouse (Washington Post - United States) "The American Chestnut Foundation has worked very closely with the Agriculture Department to come up with a disease-resistant strain of the American chestnut," President Bush said when he planted a 16-foot chestnut tree on the White House grounds to mark the 133rd annual celebration of Arbor Day on April 29. "One day the American chestnut . . . will be coming back. And this is our little part to help it come back." Full Story Back to Top
12-29-05 Conservationists Work to Revive American Chestnut through Backbreeding (National Geographic - Washington, D.C) The American chestnut tree once dominated forests in Appalachia, until an Asian blight virtually killed off the species a century ago. Now conservationists say they can restore the region's chestnut forests if scientists succeed in their efforts to breed new, blight-resistant strains of the tree...Chinese chestnut trees imported into the New York Botanical Gardens and Bronx Zoo carried the blight to the United States. The blight was first identified in 1904. Within 50 years the blight fungus had infected and killed about 99.9 percent of the American chestnuts from Georgia to Maine and west to the Ohio Valley. "It moved fast, about 50 miles a year," Case added...So far the effort has produced a couple dozen trees on an experimental farm that are highly resistant to the blight fungus. But the project still has several years to go before it has parent trees with the desired genetic composition and hardiness to withstand the blight when planted out in the forest. Full Story Back to Top
12-25-05 Chestnuts from Italy, Spain, and Michigan (Chicago Tribune - United States) If you buy any this holiday--for roasting on an open fire or otherwise--they will likely be imported from Italy or Spain. A small cooperative of orchardists in central and western Michigan is trying to change that, reviving a crop that vanished from the United States decades ago. For the 36 farmers who make up Chestnut Growers Inc., 2005 was a bumper year. Full Story Back to Top
12-21-05 Christmas is a Good Time for Chataignier (Asheville Citizen-Times - NC) Ah, chestnuts roasting over an open fire. The very smell conjures up a feeling of cozy family rooms tight against cold wind outside. Chestnuts have had an almost mythical place in mountain folklore. For centuries, the rot-resistant lumber from the tall, straight-grained trees was a prized building component. The fruit - technically, not a nut -was bagged, stacked and stored throughout the winter to add to the diets of mountain residents and their livestock...A foreign fungus imported in 1904 devastated the American chestnut. By 1950, the chestnut was nearly destroyed by the blight. The American Chestnut Foundation is involved in creating blight-resistant trees. Now, most of the chestnuts Americans eat come from Europe. The French call them "chataignier," Germans call them "Edelkastanie". Full Story Back to Top
10-16-05 Island of Dominica Hosts 500-Year-Old Chatagnier Tree (Chicago Sun-Times) For the hiker or biker, botanist or naturalist, Dominica is the real treasure island. Even a leisurely stroll along the easy trail of the Syndicate Estate reveals such wonders as the 500-year-old Chatagnier Ti Feuille tree "the grandfather of the forest," giant gommiers and ferns, which dinosaurs once dined on. Full Story Back to Top
9-14-2005 President Jimmy Carter Dedicates American Chestnut Demonstration Site at Carter Center (Carter Center Release) The Carter Center is the home of an American chestnut tree demonstration site to be dedicated by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter on Sept. 21. The demonstration site donated by the American Chestnut Foundation features a backcross breeding program for strengthening the American chestnut against disease. The Foundation includes Carter Center co-founder Jimmy Carter and Center agriculture expert Dr. Norman Borlaug as honorary board members. “The Carter Center is a wonderful place for us to be represented,” said Philip Pritchard, director of development for the American Chestnut Foundation. “So much of what the Center is doing revolves around creating a healthier planet. This project fits right in.” Full Story Back to Top

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