Report a Tree

We receive up to several calls a day from people who may have found an American chestnut tree. This is great! It means you are interested and paying attention, you know what you are looking for, and you know we are here.

Due to low staff numbers and high volumes of American chestnut sightings, we are unable to travel to your location to identify trees.

If you think you may have found an American chestnut, here is what we ask of you:

1. Fill out and send us a tree locator form and a sample (instructions below). It is not necessary that you call us, but you are always welcome to call if you have questions about the process. You will typically receive a response from us within one to two weeks of receiving the sample, however at very busy times of the year it may be longer.

2. If we are able to identify the tree, we ask that you send us nuts from the tree when it is producing. If it is not producing when you find it, don’t worry. We will send you a reminder, asking that you contribute nuts as you are able.

Nuts sent in from identified trees are used in our breeding program. We also keep record of tree location data to inform our research and restoration efforts. The data is useful even if you are unable to send us nuts, or even if the tree is not identified as pure American chestnut. So keep looking for trees and sending the forms! It is of great use to us and we appreciate your efforts.

If you are unable to download and print the form, contact our office at 814-863-7192 or and we can send you a paper copy.

If you would like more info on trying to identify a tree you have found, look here:


  1. 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 sunny exposure, if possible.
  2. Press leaves between pieces of cardboard to flatten and prevent curling or crushing as they dry.
  3. To prevent mold, do not put the sample into a plastic bag. Crushed or bent leaves are much harder to analyze, as are leaves that are not freshly collected.
  4. Spring or summer is the best time to collect samples for identification purposes.
  5. Please don’t send photos without mailing in a leaf sample as well.  The pictures can actually help in the identification.  We may not be able to ID solely from a picture, but it can add to the whole package of understanding your tree.
  6. 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.
  7. Mail your package to the address on the form nearest you (see form).