2021 PA/NJ Spring Growers Meeting (SGM)

You are invited to join the PA/NJ Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) for our 2021 Virtual Spring Growers Meeting. This meeting will be held online due to the requirements of COVID 19. This meeting is free and open to the public but registration is required. Scroll down for more information.

 Saturday, April 10th / 9:30 A.M. to 11:45 A.M.

Register here!

We hope to be together again soon!

Meeting Description

The meeting will include a short Chapter update from our new President, Jim Searing, followed by an update on the Science and Breeding Priorities for 2021 presented by Sara Fitzsimmons, Director of Restoration for TACF.

Our special guest speaker will be Robert Jetton, Associate Professor of Forest Health and Conservation, Dept. of Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University. He will be speaking about his work to restore a kindred spirit of the American chestnut —  Eastern Hemlock   Read more…

Meeting Schedule

9:30 — 9:45 AM

Chapter Update / Jim Searing President

9:45 — 10:15 AM

Chapter Science and Breeding
Priorities for 2021
Sara Fitzsimmons

Presentation and Q & A

10:15 — 11:15 AM

Restoration of Eastern Hemlock
with Robert Jetton

Presentation and Q & A

11:15 — 11:45 AM

Break Out Sessions:
Debrief & Catchup with Speakers & Attendees

What is a Break-out Session?

As we plan for our 3rd virtual Member meeting the thing that we miss the most is socializing. We can’t ship donuts and coffee to you,  yet we can provide this opportunity to meet in small groups and connect in a more personal way with other members. Each small group of 6 to 8 people will be guided by a staff or board member. It will be informal, but we will provide some questions to get the conversation going.

This is an experiment so we don’t exactly how it will go but we hope you will stick around and hang out with your fellow members. Hope to see you there!



2021 SGM Guest Speaker _ Robert Jetton

Hemlock Branch with cones

What are the similarities between the restoration of Eastern Hemlock and the American chestnut?  The state tree of Pennsylvania is threatened by an invasive insect species, the hemlock woolly adelgid. The efforts to save it run parallel to those of our efforts to restore the American chestnut. Understanding how the many threats to our forest is critical to our restoration mission. The American chestnut does not stand alone. 

Presentation Title: “Conservation and Restoration of Hemlock Species in the Southern Appalachian Mountains Threatened by the Invasive Hemlock Woolly Adelgid.”

Robert Jetton: Associate Professor of Forest Health and Conservation, Dept. of Forestry and Environmental Resources at N.C. State University.

Dr. Jetton studies the ecology and management of invasive species in forest ecosystems and the conservation genetics of threatened and endangered tree species. His presentation will introduce the audience to the invasive insect pest hemlock woolly adelgid, discuss its impact on native hemlock ecosystems; and review ongoing research efforts to conserve hemlock genetic resources, breed for adelgid resistance, and restore hemlocks to their native environments.

Register here!

 Return to the meeting schedule.


Intern Position _ Spring/Summer 2021

Intern with Penn State and
The American Chestnut Foundation
Spring/Summer 2021

Follow this link for the full description.

Help restore the American chestnut while getting paid $12-$15 per hour! Operate tractors, mowers, and chainsaws (equipment use and maintenance); learn inoculation techniques (plant pathology), seedling care (greenhouse management and horticulture), and silvicultural techniques (forestry); and perform data collection, entry, and analysis (research). Work will be 50/50 inside and outside.

Applications are due by Friday, March 5th! The work period will be from May 1st (flexible) through August, with the potential to continue working through the fall semester.

Introduction to the American chestnut (Castanea dentata) — Online Course Available

An online interactive course on the American chestnut (Castanea dentata) has been developed by Stacy Clark, Research Forester with the USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station.

The course is available for free to anyone through a simple registration process. The learner will be introduced to the basic ecology and silvics, historical significance, and the demise of the tree species that once occupied 200 million acres in the eastern United States. The course contains a glossary and links to dendrology tables, external webpages, and published scientific papers.

A certificate of completion available at the end of the course qualifies for 1 CFE credit with the Society of American Foresters.

Please visit this website (https://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/products/courses/#chestnut)



Chestnut Week at the 2021 PA Farm Show _ Recordings Available

The PA/NJ Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) hosted a series of Zoom webinars to highlight chestnuts at the 2021 Virtual PA Farm Show.  Our “Chestnut Week” webinars featured an array of experts on growing, restoring, finding, and farming chestnuts in our region. There was a great turnout with 530 folks attending the live webinars and more attending via the live-stream on our Facebook page.  Recordings of all these webinars are posted on our website.  

Recordings and More:

Bringing back the American chestnut presented by Mike Aucott, Ph.D.,  PA/NJ TACF board member and adjunct professor of chemistry, The College of New Jersey   

Cooperative solutions for Chestnut Processing —  a demonstration of processing equipment by Stephen Hoy, Orchard Manager at Penn State University

Chestnut Farming—A Growth Opportunity:  A Conversation with Amy Miller,  hosted byJim Searing, PA/NJ Chapter Board President

The American chestnut: how biotechnology can be applied to conservation  presented by William Powell, Ph.D.,  Director, American Chestnut Research & Restoration Project, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 

Silvicultural Aspects of American chestnut and Implications for Species Restoration, presented by Sara Fern Fitzsimmons, TACF Director of Restoration and Northern Appalachian Regional Science Coordinator

Commercial Chestnut Industry in Michigan: A Model for PA?A Conversation with Roger Blackwell, President of New Era Chestnuts in Milford Michigan hosted by Jim Searing, PA/NJ Chapter Board President

Finding American Chestnuts, presented by Lake Graboski, TACF Board Member and Volunteer, M.S. Ecology the Pennsylvania State University.