American Chestnut Foundation

HemlockFest and the Lumpkin Coalition will soon be supporting local efforts to bring back a mighty giant of the Appalachian forest – the American Chestnut tree!

A century ago, American Chestnuts were the dominate hardwood tree in eastern forests. chestnut2Chestnuts were the single most important food source for a wide variety of wildlife from bears to birds. Sadly, these magnificent trees were almost completely wiped out by an invasive fungal blight in the first half of the 20th century. In 1983, the American Chestnut Foundation was formed and began efforts to develop a blight-resistant tree. After 33 years of dedicated science, real progress has been made, and reintroduction of these trees to the forest is now beginning. This will be a decades-long task.

The Georgia Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation was founded in 2004 and has been working diligently to incorporate parent trees with Georgia-specific genetics into the breeding program. They anticipate having a blight-resistant tree based on Georgia-parent genetic material in the next 2-4 years. Planning for forest reintroduction in Georgia is underway.

chestnut1Beginning with HemlockFest 2016, as a compliment to our Hemlock preservation efforts, a portion of festival proceeds will be earmarked for projects to further the Georgia chapter’s efforts, as determined and approved by the Lumpkin Coalition Board of Directors.

For more information on the American Chestnut and restoration efforts, follow the links below.

American Chestnut Foundation National Organization – www.acf.org/

Georgia Chapter – www.georgiachestnut.org/

“Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
Anonymous Greek Proverb