Fox Haven’s American Chestnut Tree research orchard is a lively learning area on the farm. We have students young and old come out to learn the history of this awesome tree, its impact on the Appalachian region’s economy and cultural history, as well as the blight that all but wiped it out. Students in elementary school learn the basics of tree identification, nut production, and the history of the tree. Middle school and high school students, as well as adult students, are taught the complexities of genetic back crossing and about the research we are doing with blight inoculations of some of the trees and hand pollination, as well as more down to earth methods used to kill the blight fungus – like mud-packing trees.
The team is committed to reforesting the NE Coast with blight resistant American Chestnut trees. Scientists Sara Fitzimmons and Matt Brinkman work in the Fox Haven Chestnut Tree orchard alongside the scientists and volunteers of the Maryland Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation. Darryl Johnson is our orchard steward and is happy to meet with students and provide tours – he is also delighted to accept volunteer help. Scouting groups have been a huge help during orchard clean up days.
We had a wonderful group come to a workshop too; read about it in the Frederick News Post.