Young Volunteer Connects with PA/NJ Chapter Members for a Meaningful Experience

Current Board member, Mary Ayres acted as the mentor for a young man from her daughter’s high school this past growing season — introducing him to TACF and our mission. Among other things, he helped with planting days here at the Penn State orchard and traveled with members of the PA/NJ Chapter to visit the American Chestnut Research and Restoration Project at SUNY.

We published his description of this experience in our latest newsletter. See the article below:

PA/NJ Chapter Members at ESF-SUNY

Left to right: Mary Ayres, Thomas Trimbur, David Charlton, John Wenderoth, Suzanne Martin, Patrick Burke, William Powell, Jim Searing, and Tim Eck

 My experience as a volunteer of TACF — by Tom Trimbur

Tom Trimbur and Dr. C. Maynard

Tom Trimbur and Dr. C. Maynard, Professor of Forest and Resource Management, ESF – SUNY

Hello, my name is Thomas Trimbur. I just graduated from Harriton High School (located in suburban Philadelphia). Over the past two months, I had the chance to work with The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) for my senior project, which required 70 hours of experiential learning. With the help of my TACF mentors, Mary Ayres and John Wenderoth, I learned a lot about the current efforts to bring back America’s beloved Chestnut tree.


Among other activities, I got to visit Dr. William Powell’s laboratory in Syracuse, NY;  plant chestnut seedlings at the Arboretum at Penn State; work in the chestnut orchard at Tyler Arboretum, and visit chestnut specimens in SE Pennsylvania, including the Restoration Chestnut planted at Independence Hall.


My time with my mentors was incredibly eye-opening, as I was never one for nature and went

Tom Trimbur and Dr. William Powell

Tom and Dr. William Powell, Professor and Director, Council on Biotechnology in Forestry, ESF – SUNY

into the project knowing almost nothing about the chestnut blight, or any of the other stresses affecting our forests today. Everywhere I went I felt welcomed, and by the end of my project, I started to understand why everybody cared about the revival of the American Chestnut. It was an amazing experience, one that I’ll always remember. I hope to volunteer with the Chestnut Foundation again, and invite my friends to help too. Many thanks to all of the people I met for being so extremely helpful and kind.