According to Article III, Section 5.A of the PA/NJ Chapter bylaws — The term for Board Members shall be two (2) years. The President, Vice-President, and Past-President will each have a term of two (2) years with the progression of positions – from Vice-President to President to Past-President, thus amounting to a six (6) year commitment. Board Members have no term limits.
New Candidates on the Ballot
David was born in 1958 in the UK he moved to West Chester PA in 1988 and has lived there since. He retired in 2020 from a career in engineering management. Since 2014 he has been active with Natural Lands, a regional land preservation and stewardship organization. I currently serve them as a “volunteer peer leader” coordinating volunteer activity on the 1,300-acre ChesLen preserve. Since my retirement, I have been volunteering at the Chestnut orchard at Penn State and at outreach events like Ag Progress days and the PA Farm Show. I am also learning a lot by rearing a handful of trees in my own backyard. I am motivated by the fear that within a generation we will have lost all memory of this keystone species but excited by the hope that there is a real chance for its rehabilitation. I make no claims to deep technical expertise but I am excited to serve the TACF in any capacity you find helpful.
Steve holds a BS degree in Biology from Penn State and spent his 41-year career working for both the private and public sectors in the field of Occupational Safety and Health. During this time Steve purchased a small farm near Pine Grove in Schuylkill County where he also operated a small retail Christmas tree business. Parts of his farm that were not dedicated to Christmas trees were soon enrolled in various conservation programs including CRP and CREP and he began re-foresting the unused portions of the farm with native trees and shrubs grown in pots from seeds collected in the wild. It was on a seed collecting hike in 2010 that he observed his first seed-bearing American Chestnuts and they have become part of his annual plantings. Steve has been volunteering with TACF since 2020.
Betsy Winch-Murtha has been invoked with PA/ NJ TACF for a number of years. She has planted, tended, inoculated, measured, harvested, hunted, and hugged many trees. Her interest in the chestnut started with her grandfather’s stories and her mother’s collection of 5 nuts she cherished like magic beans. Betsy was a nurse and a midwife and a naturalist and a gardener. She looks forward to serving on the board as a citizen scientist with a deep love of nature.
Incumbent Candidates on the Ballot
Dan O’Keefe was elected to the Board for the 21-22 term and is currently serving as interim Vice President in place of Rick Hartlieb. He is an active volunteer in the chestnut orchard at the Tyler Arboretum in Media, PA. He is a retired Senior Research Fellow from DuPont Central Research & Development, with expertise in plant biochemistry/biotechnology, xenobiotic metabolism, and protein engineering. He has a BS from SUNY Brockport, a Ph.D. in biological sciences from Purdue University, and was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania.