The Southwest Virginia Restoration Branch of The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) is pleased to host a talk by TACF Forester Michael French on American chestnut restoration and surface mine reclamation on Friday February 22, at 7:00 pm in the conference room of the Abingdon Branch of the Washington County Public Library. The presentation is free and open to the public.
Attendees of the evening talk will learn about the history of the American chestnut and an update on the current status of TACF’s breeding program from TACF Chief Scientist, Dr. Fred Hebard, as well as the history of mine reclamation and the role that reclamation may play in chestnut restoration from keynote speaker and TACF Forester, Michael French.
“The talk will cover the history of mine reclamation and the techniques for planting trees on mined lands,” said Michael French. “Additionally, we will discuss several opportunities for volunteers to assist in planting on a former surface mine in Dickenson County, Virginia on March 2.”
In 2002, Michael French was hired as an intern of the Kentucky Chapter of TACF while studying Biology at the University of Kentucky. He has continued to serve the Kentucky Chapter, first as vice president and currently as secretary of the Board of Directors. He is currently pursuing a Master's in Forestry through the University of Kentucky. As forester for TACF, Michael manages the Conservation Innovation Grant awarded to TACF by the Nature Resources Conservation Service of the United States Department of Agriculture in the fall of 2011.
The Conservation Innovation Grant supports an effort to reforest 12 reclaimed surface mine sites in five states (PA, OH, WV, VA, and KY) with a total of 250,000 hardwood tree seedlings, including 14,000 American chestnuts from TACF’s breeding program. The first of these plantings was established last spring in Schuylkill County, PA. This year’s plantings include one on a site in Dickenson County that is planned for March 2.
Formerly a dominant tree in the forests of the eastern United States, the American chestnut was devastated throughout its native range by chestnut blight, caused by an exotic fungus inadvertently introduced over a century ago. The species struggles to survive in much reduced numbers, primarily as sprouts that succumb to blight before they are able to produce nuts.
For the last three decades, The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) has pursued a multi-generation breeding program to introduce blight resistance from Asian chestnut species into American chestnuts, making them capable of competing and reproducing in our forests. While breeding and selection continue, the latest generation of trees is expected to include a proportion of individuals with the blight resistance of the Asian chestnut and the vigor and growth habit of the American chestnut. For the last five years, TACF has been establishing plantings of these trees to test their ability to survive in nature.
Anyone interested in learning more about surface mine reclamation, the American chestnut, TACF’s breeding program, and volunteer opportunities with TACF is invited to attend the evening program on February 22. Persons wishing to assist with the surface mine reclamation planting in Dickenson County on March 2, or with subsequent monitoring of the planting, are encouraged to attend the February 22 talk. Prospective volunteers who cannot attend the talk can email Michael French at email@example.com or Doug Levin at firstname.lastname@example.org or call TACF’s Meadowview Research Farms at 276-944-4631 for more information. An additional training session for volunteers interested in monitoring the planting will be scheduled in the fall.
TACF is a 501 (c) 3 conservation organization headquartered in Asheville, NC, with nearly 6000 members and volunteers in 23 states. For more information on TACF and their work to restore the American chestnut tree, contact TACF Director of Communications, Paul Franklin at (828)713-9547, email: email@example.com or visit www.acf.org.
|Kingsport Christmas Tree Lighting|
|Held on Saturday, December 4, 2010. The Sevier Middle School orchestra played in the progress building at 6:00. The gingerbread house exhibit was held at the Regions bank. Music, reading of the Christmas Story, hot chocolate, hot apple cider and cookies, sing-a-long where held at Church Circle.|