Tin Mountain’s monthly Eco-Forum lunchtime lecture series at noon on Thursday, February 11th at the Nature Learning Center in Albany will feature Kendra Gurney of The American Chestnut Foundation, who will discuss the ongoing efforts to re-establish the American chestnut over its former natural range. Kendra’s presentation is jointly sponsored by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) with whom Tin Mountain Conservation Center and many local landowners cooperate on a variety of land conservation measures.


The goal of The American Chestnut Foundation is to develop a blight-resistant American chestnut tree via scientific research and breeding, and restore the tree to its native forests along the eastern United States. It was founded in 1983 by prominent plant scientists who recognized the severe adverse effect of the loss of the chestnut on economies of rural communities and the ecology of eastern hardwood forests. The American chestnut dominated over 200 million acres of eastern woodlands from Maine to Florida, and from the Piedmont west to the Ohio Valley, until succumbing to an introduced lethal fungus infestation, known as the chestnut blight, during the first half of the 20th century.


Kendra Gurney is the New England Science Coordinator for The American Chestnut Foundation and works within the VT/NH Chapter that has plans to restore American chestnut to Vermont and New Hampshire. The Chapter, which is less than three years old with over 250 members, concentrates on three goals: identifying wild trees in our state that are suitable for pollination with backcross pollen, planting and maintaining orchards for resistant nuts, and spreading the word about our chapter and its aims.


Kendra’s talk will cover general background on the American chestnut, the devastation caused by chestnut-blight and early restoration attempts. She will also discuss The America Chestnut Foundation’s role in the chestnut restoration and where the effort stands locally with the VT/NH chapter.


Are you a forester in need of Continuing Education Credits? February’s EcoForum has been approved for 1 ceu by the State of New Hampshire.