The Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation was founded in 1994 with incredible help and enthusiasm from its founding members. What has driven the Chapter from inception to its present state is the continued and almost unbound enthusiasm and work ethic of its volunteer members.
Without the tireless efforts of Ann and Bob Leffel, the Chapter‘s founders, the following milestone’s would not have been reached. When Dave Armstrong joined the effort, the Chapter reached new levels of outreach, fundraising, and success. Many others have contributed amazing amounts of energy, funding, land, and support. And to all of them, we owe a great debt of gratitude.
Spring 1988 – First TACF Backcross planting in Pennsylvania at Reineman Wildlife Sanctuary. Douglas Source BC1s were planted there, 1 of which still survives
Spring 1994 — Pennsylvania Society for the American Chestnut is formed by Rod Clapper. Organization later reorganizes into the PA Chapter of TACF
Spring 1994 –Ann and Bob Leffel plant first BC3 generation trees
Summer 1995 – First Chapter backcross pollinations, led by Ann and Bob Leffel
Success! 273 BC3 nuts from Ort x CL287 cross
March 1995 – Volume 1, Number 1 of PA Chapter newsletter printed
March 1995 — MEMBERSHIP = 170
April 20, 1996 – First Annual Meeting of PA—TACF in Roaring Spring, PA. Hosted by Barney and Charlotte Barnhart, founding members of both the PA Society and PA Chapter of TACF. The Barnharts were vital contributors, hosting several meetings, donating many resources, and, since its inception, printing each issue of the PA Chapter’s newsletter.
April 20, 1996 – License agreement signed with TACF
March 21, 1997 – With help of forestry professor Dr. Henry Gerhold, Penn State University partnership is established with planting at Gamelands 176
Summer/Fall 1998 – Dave Armstrong opens Chapter office in York, PA
October 17, 1998 – Chapter hosts TACF Annual Meeting at Longwood Gardens
Spring 1999 – PA—TACF includes Maryland with planting at Thorpewood in Thurmont
Spring 1999 – PA—TACF included Delaware with planting at Red Clay Reservation in Hockessin
March 1999 — MEMBERSHIP = 531
March 2000 — Dave Armstrong initiates Chapter presence on the web with www.pachaptertacf.org (We have since moved).
May 29, 2000 — First Chapter inoculations take place at the Leffel’s farm in Brogue, PA
Spring 2001 – Dr. Bob Leffel and the chapter initiate testing of two methods that could revolutionize chestnut breeding. (1) Utilization of the phenomenon of CMS (Cytoplasmic Male Sterility) can ease difficulties associated with controlled pollinations. (2) Inclusion of MSR (Multiple Sources of Resistance) can
May 2001 — With help of forestry professor Dr. Kim Steiner and research technology Tim Phelps, the largest backcross orchard in Chapter established on Penn State land in Rock Springs, PA. 1820 nuts planted.
Summer 2002 – With the continued support of Kim Steiner and Tim Phelps, the Chapter establishes first BC3F2 seed orchard in the Arboretum at Penn State
Spring 2004 – PA—TACF includes New Jersey with two CMS plantings in Morris County
Summer 2005 – First inoculations of BC3F2 material
Fall 2007 – First BC3F3 generation nuts are produced.
September 2006 — MEMBERSHIP = 946
October 2006 – Chapter opens the “Leffel Center” at Penn State, in honor of the Chapter’s founders, Ann and Bob Leffel.
September 2008 — MEMBERSHIP = 1040