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In the late nineteenth century, a fungal blight was brought to the United States on a boat from Asia. This fungal blight was deadly to the American Chestnut population. For over a century, researchers have been working on a way to restore the American Chestnut. Researchers with The American Chestnut Research and Restoration Project at ESF, were able developed a blight resistant American Chestnut. See the details of this project on their website and in their video: www.esf.edu/chestnut/
Chenango County 4-H has joined the project by planting American Chestnut “mother trees.” Chenango County 4-H Educator, Richard Turrell, picked up the seeds from Allen Nichols, the president of the New York chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation. The project plans to place blight resistant saplings nearby these mother trees, so that the species will cross pollinate creating genetic diversity and a stronger American Chestnut population.
Nine Chenango County 4-H families received germinated American Chestnut seeds and have planted them across Chenango County. The 4-H’ers received directions, soil, containers, and seeds, all they have to do now is start the seeds and plant them outside when they are ready! While ESF is waiting on government approval to plant these blight resistance seedlings, we are facing a future that suddenly could include a healthy American Chestnut population.
Find out more about the project with these links: