The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) is initiating a range-wide search for surviving American chestnuts in the forest. The PA/NJ Chapter of TACF is seeking to identify and conserve 250 new and unique sources — beyond the 200 already conserved in our Chapter.
— To conserve unique sources of American chestnut genetics in our Germplasm Conservation Orchards (GCOs).
— To create locally adapted and genetically diverse populations of blight-resistant chestnut trees for restoration.
Join our hunt for the American chestnut
We don’t have the resources to visit all the reported sites to identify trees in person. We count on individuals to play the role of citizen scientist, collecting samples and data on the American chestnut.
How to report a tree:
Follow the link and download our Tree Location Form (TLF). If you are unable to download and print the form, contact our office and we will send you a paper copy. Got a smartphone? Check out the TreeSnap App. You can report information and share photos directly with us using this App. We will still require a sample. Be sure to include the TreeSnap id number when you mail it.
We will confirm the identity of your tree(s) and add them to our Dentatabase — a database of American chestnuts and related species. If the tree is a pure native, we may ask that you send us nuts for our breeding research. If it is not producing when you find it, don’t worry. We will send you a reminder, asking that you contribute nuts if you are able.
Collecting a sample:
If you think you have an American chestnut tree, send us a freshly-cut 4-6 inch twig with mature leaves attached. Leaves should be from a sunny exposure, if possible.
- > Press leaves between pieces of cardboard to flatten and prevent curling or crushing as they dry. Crushed or bent leaves are much harder to analyze, as are leaves that are not freshly collected.
- > To prevent mold, do not put the sample into a plastic bag.
- > Late Spring or summer is the best time to collect samples for identification purposes.
- > Photographs can help with identification. We are not likely to be able to ID solely from a picture, but it can add to the whole package of understanding your tree.
- > Please be sure to include the Tree Locator Form, so we can keep track of your sample and send you results. This form is vital for our inventory of wild trees.