Saturday, July 11, 2009

The First Entry...Saving the American Chestnut

One of the most intriguing things I learned in my Virginia Master Naturalist training is how abundant and significant the American_Chestnut used to be throughout in our area. The species was devasted by the chestnut blight (another post provides details to relate to the chestnut's glory days).

It was with great ceremony that an American Chestnut seedling was planted up at Philpott Lake's overlook near the Visitor Assistance Center.

Danny Martin, Park Ranger, USACE, addressed attendees, "Its very fiber is resistant to decay.. It has withstood foreign attack and continued to endure. It is now undergoing change to enable it to again become 'The Mighty Giant'. This tree has truly earned the right to be called the AMERICAN Chestnut."

The Martinsville Bulletin did a newstory on it. I attended the ceremony, added some dirt to the tub for the tree, and walked down to photograph it after it had been placed in the ground. A few weeks later, I revisited the tree, and was pleased to find it had been protected with railing and fencing. Getting mowed or eaten by deer would've been a sad ending for such an investment of research.

Newly planted American Chestnut overlooking Philpott Dam

A few weeks later, new leaves greening the sapling.

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