Chestnut group continues research during pandemic
Former chestnut range map. Source:

The American Chestnut Foundation is continuing their research, field work, and outreach goals in a time that has many organizations struggling.

TCAF staff, volunteers, and members instituted new safety standards, developed a continuation of operations plan, held regular meetings and ensured staff and volunteers can stay motivated and productive while adjusting to life during a pandemic.

During this time of social distancing TACF recognized the importance of continuing to engage, and is offering a live online series called Chestnut Chat.

The most recent, in November, looked at the challenges in cloning American, hybrid and transgenic chestnuts. In October, the online series covered how the Genome Wide Association Study works.

Other Chestnut Chats covered grafting chestnut trees by Stephen Hoy and Hill Craddock. Alex Young, regional research manager for Dropcopter, a company that uses drones to pollinate crops, combating the effects of pollinator decline, shared his experiences working with a variety of fruit trees.

This summer, the Connecticut-TACF Chapter held a chestnut hike with the Wyndham Land Trust and the Meshomasic Hiking Club to search for flowering American chestnut trees. Berry College interns assisted Martin Cipollini, professor and Georgia-TACF chapter science coordinator, in conducting a field assay intended to assess blight resistance in relatively young trees.

Due to the uncertainty of Covid-19, TACF earlier made the decision to cancel the 2020 American Chestnut Symposium in Asheville, North Carolina. They were able to reschedule with the same hotel venue in Asheville for their fall meeting to be held October 30, 2021.

TCAF is also conducting a year-end appeal to support its efforts. Go to ttps:// for more information.

“Not just surviving, but thriving” was the theme of their spring appeal in this unusual year.

You can also see for more information. Your interest and contribution will help in the effort to bring about a recovery to the chestnut.


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Karl Forth

Karl D. Forth is online editor for CCI Media. He also writes news and feature stories in FDMC Magazine, in addition to newsletters and custom publishing projects. He is also involved in event organization, and compiles the annual FDM 300 list of industry leaders. He can be reached at [email protected].