Monday, January 28, 2008

More on the return of the American chestnut

Thank you for your excellent article, “Chestnut optimism survives deadly blight,” which appeared in the Sunday, January 20, 2008 issue of The Charlotte Observer. Thanks for the review of Susan Freinkel’s new book, "American Chestnut: The Life, Death and Rebirth of a Perfect Tree." I purchased a copy a few days ago, will read it, and add it to my collection of books about the American chestnut tree.
Another recently published book in my collection is "Mighty Giants: An American Chestnut Anthology," published by The American Chestnut Foundation. Chris Bolgiano is the Editor, and Glenn Novak, the Contributing Editor. Information about the book can be found on the American Chestnut Foundation’s Web site, www.acf.org, and once there, by clicking on the image of the book that appears in the banner.
It is inspiring to read about efforts to restore the American chestnut and even more rewarding to help directly with that effort. Members of the Carolinas Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation, under the direction of the Foundation’s Regional Science Coordinator, Dr. Paul Sisco, help pollinate American chestnut trees to produce hybrid nuts and later help harvest the nuts, store them over winter, and plant them in Chapter orchards in the spring. Members help test the trees for resistance to the chestnut blight to identify those displaying good American chestnut characteristics and good resistance to the chestnut blight so those trees can be backcross pollinated again.
Photo albums on the Carolinas Chapter Web site at http://www.carolinas-tacf.org/photographs.php explain many of the processes used in restoring the American chestnut tree. Scroll through the albums to see pictures of members helping pollinate trees, harvesting and planting nuts, and helping test trees for blight resistance. Information about how to join the Carolinas Chapter is found at http://www.carolinas-tacf.org/join.html.
Thanks for describing how you reclaimed wormy chestnut planks from an 80-year old barn to make a mantel to place over the wood stove in the cabin you are building. Your account reminded me of the poem by Trumbell Stickney, from “Chestnuts in November,” which appears in the book, Mighty Giants: An American Chestnut Anthology.
“The sweetness of all things are promises
That sings our souls a little further on
Toward that which may be found in what is lost
Which may come back again of what is gone.”
I, and many others, look forward to future articles in the Charlotte Observer about the American chestnut.
Doug Gillis, Vice President
Carolinas Chapter—The American Chestnut Foundation

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