2022 Spring Growers Meeting

Tickets on Sale Now!

Join us for our 2022 Spring Growers meeting. There will be food, educational presentations, networking and more! Tickets are now on sale now, for this in-person event for just $20. This is a real bargain that  includes: coffee, light snacks in the morning, lunch, music, and three stimulating presentations. 

Where: Allen Theatre, 36 E Main St, Annville, PA 17003  — Google Map

When: April 2nd (8:30 AM to 2:00 PM)

Tickets: $20 

Buy tickets onlinePlease note:  When purchasing tickets you will see a couple of extra fees at checkout on the ticket platform we are using. The first is an optional  credit card processing fee. You can choose to cover those fees for the Chapter or not. The second is a donation to to the BetterWorld.org platform that is hosting our ticket sales and online auction. To opt out of this click on the ? for the drop down description and click on the here link. Both of these additional costs are optional to the ticket buyer.

Or order tickets over the phone or email, and pay by check. Contact Jean Najjar Monday through Thursday and she will help you place your order.   
814-933-7192 | mail@patacf.org

Tentative Schedule

8:30 am – 9:15 am Coffee Social (coffee/light snacks)
9:15 am — 9:30 am Opening Comments: Rick Hartlieb, Board President
9:30 am —10:20 am Speaker — Kimberly Bohn
10:20 am – 10:35 am Break
10:35 am – 11:35 am Speaker — Doug Tallamy
11:35 – 11 :50 am Book Signing
11:50 – 1:00 pm  Lunch
1:00 pm – 1:45 pm SpeakerSara Fitzsimmons

Featured Speakers:

Doug Tallamy, Ph. D.
TA Baker Professor of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology
University of Delaware

Douglas Tallamy is a nationally recognized author and sought-after speaker. He is a professor of Entomology at the University of Delaware and a major advocate for biodiversity and the role of plants in sustaining natural systems. He has established the non-profit, Home Grown National Park, a grassroots call-to-action to regenerate biodiversity and ecosystem function by planting native plants and creating new ecological networks.

Presentation: Nature’s Best Hope

Recent headlines about global insect declines and three billion fewer birds in North America are a bleak reality check about how ineffective our current landscape designs have been at sustaining the plants and animals that sustain us.  Such losses are not an option if we wish to continue our current standard of living on Planet Earth. The good news is that none of this is inevitable. Tallamy will discuss simple steps that each of us can- and must take to reverse declining biodiversity, how the American chestnut will be a valuable tool in this regard, why we must change our adversarial relationship with nature to a collaborative one, and why we, ourselves, are nature’s best hope.  

Kimberly Bohn, Ph.D.
Assistant Teaching Professor of Forestry
Penn State Mont Alto
Chair, PA Division of the Society of American Foresters

Presentation: Challenges of Artificial Regeneration of Hardwoods

Artificial hardwood regeneration has been utilized in the northeast for a variety of purposes including reforestation and restoration but can often be challenging because a number of external factors can hinder survival and growth. Some factors affecting artificial hardwood regeneration include long-term issues such as deer browsing and increasing competition from non-native plants. This presentation will cover a range of challenges to artificial hardwood regeneration as well as strategies for improving establishment in context to American chestnut restoration in a variety of landscapes.

Sara Fitzsimmons
Director of Restoration
The American Chestnut Foundation

Presentation: What Will it Take to Restore the American Chestnut?

The Appalachian forest ecosystem is vastly different now than it was over 100 years ago when American chestnut was often the dominant species of a stand. Invasive and exotic vegetation, introduced diseases and pests, ravenous and excessive deer herds, overdevelopment, and threats of climate change, add to the challenges facing a species made effectively dormant by introduced disease. 

Given all those hurdles, one might think working toward chestnut restoration is simply a setup for defeat. Luckily, current research suggests populations of the American chestnut could be self-sustainable, despite changing pressures, within the next 50 – 100 years. We will cover some of the strategies TACF will be implemented to overcome the many challenges which will appear during this audacious, species restoration process.

Please keep in mind that the in-person audience may be limited by social distancing requirements and masks may be required. We are monitoring the CDC and State recommendations for public health recommendations and all in-person meeting plans are subject to change.

Refund Policy: Please contact our office directly for refunds.
Contact Jean Najjar 814-863-7192 | mail@patacf.org

Refunds requested by Feb. 17th — 100% refund of ticket price minus fees
Refunds requested by March 10th — 75% refund of ticket price minus fees
Refunds requested by March 31st — 50% refund of ticket price minus fees 

Science Update

Testing Control-pollinated seeds for oxalic oxidase activity (OxO)

This past summer, staff, and colleagues at PSU made a goal to place 1,000 pollination bags on flowering trees at the PSU Arboretum seed orchard. Most of those B3F2 trees have been selected for high blight resistance, but some were selected for other interesting genetic components. Those 1,000 bags yielded 3,704 seeds, created with transgenic pollen from partners at the University of New England and SUNY-ESF.

Over the past few years, ESF and TACF collaborators have averaged 40% transmission of the OxO transgene from controlled pollinations, and our results hit that number right on the nose. On our best day, our team of 3 were able to test 1,031 seed across 12 hours. From several days of testing, we retrieved 1,487 OxO positive nuts, exactly 40% of our harvested numbers.

It was a lot of work and our hands were very tired and covered in paint by the end of the day, but it was worth it. These seeds, now part of TACFs “stacked resistance” program combining resistance from traditional breeding and biotech programs, will be tested for blight resistance this summer in greenhouse inoculation trials at three different locations.

Volunteer Opportunity @ PSU

Thursday, March 3, and Friday, March 4
206 Forest Resources Lab, University Park, PA
Contact Sara Fitzsimmons to volunteer
Email: sff3@psu.edu

Description: Volunteers will help staff with testing open-pollinated seeds for oxalic oxidase (OxO) activity.


If transgenic pollen is applied to a non-transgenic tree, that tree is now considered a “regulated organism” (the entire tree), and any “vegetative propagule” (in this case, chestnut seeds) obtained from it must either be “devitalized” (destroyed) or be proven to not be transgenic so that it can be planted outside of permitting. Our goal in early March will be to test as many open-pollinated seeds as possible so that they can be used for further out-planting and research. The tested and OxO negative seeds will be subsequently sent to nurseries for further propagation.

Don’t Forget the American chestnut!

As you contemplate end-of-year giving, please remember the PA/NJ Chapter of TACF.

The restoration the American chestnut is the work of generations and your annual contributions play an important role in moving that work forward.

Research and Outreach needs:

  • Help us build a shed to house a high light chamber to pursue pollen production
  • Herbicide Spray Trailer
  • Orchard iPad for tracking plantings
  • Branded pencils and other prizes for children attending events like the PA Farm Show, Ag Progress Days, etc.

Donations of all sizes are welcome!

Make checks payable to PA/NJ TACF:

Penn State University
108 Business Services
206 Forest Resources Lab
University Park, PA 16802

Or Donate Online Today!

Check out other Ways to Give!


Bridging the Distance Gap with Local Connections

Seeking Volunteers to Help Facilitate Communications with Local Districts of the PA/NJ Chapter

As we look forward with hope that 2022 will bring a renewal of in-person activities, the Board of Directors of PA/NJ TACF is putting out a call for District Liaisons (DL) — volunteers whose role will be to facilitate communications and cooperation with individuals and organizations within their district.

The PA/NJ Chapter covers almost 54,000 square miles, and this makes it difficult for our staff and board to have sufficient personal contact with our members.  DLs can help to bridge this gap as local representatives. The primary mission of the DL is to engage the membership.  An engaged membership is more likely to sustain interest in TACF’s mission, volunteer for local projects, and interest others in forest and chestnut conservation and restoration.

A Plan in Development

We’re still working out the details and flexibility will be the order of the day. It is understood that DLs will bring their own strengths and interests to the role and we welcome this diversity to what will continue to be a team effort. We look forward to working with DLs to help them get to know their district, make connections, and strengthen our effort to restore the American chestnut.

Learn more about the role of District Liaisons for the PA/NJ Chapter please contact the Chapter Administrator, Jean Najjar at 814-863-7192 | mail@patacf.org


2022 PA Farm Show is Back!

We’re hopefully optimistic that we will be back in person at the 2022 PA Farm Show (January 8th to 15th). Please consider volunteering for one or more 4-hour shifts and help share the story of the American chestnut with the public. Sign up with friends or family and make a day of it.

Sign up to volunteer here!

Check out photos below from PA Farm Shows past:

Learn more about the PA Farm Show!

We participated virtually at the 2021 Show. Check out our PA Farm Show Webinar Series here.