Hopefully, within the next couple of years our truly blight-tolerant (i.e. resistant) American chestnut trees will be approved for distribution (pending decisions by federal regulators). At that time, we will be allowed to distribute seedlings, pollen, or scions for grafting.
Many of our members have “mother” trees that are flowering and ready to produce blight-tolerant offspring. All they need is the blight-tolerant material to cross with their mother trees. Anyone who does not have a mother tree and is interested in receiving one can contact me. I will do my best to supply you with nuts for planting.
As soon as blight-tolerant trees are available, we would like them to be crossed with a variety of wild type trees. This will increase the genetic diversity of the trees we restore back into the forest. Your mother trees will help us achieve this goal. We are also looking for wild American chestnut trees to incorporate into our New York breeding program. If you know of one, please contact us. Additionally, you can input data for the tree in an app called TreeSnap.
I would like to acknowledge and thank the families of former TACF-NY members who have passed on and did not get to see “a truly blight resistant American chestnut”. Their loyalty and support have helped make this dream come true for us and our descendants.
Finally, I want to thank everyone who has helped get us to our current milestone: all the past and present staff at SUNY-ESF, the New York State members of TACF who have planted trees and collected nuts, and everyone who has contributed to the SUNY-ESF American Chestnut Research and Restoration Project. They are all to be commended.
The next year or two will be a great adventure going through the regulatory review process. We are hopeful that the outcome will allow our members to begin producing blight-tolerant American chestnuts for restoration. You can help the regulatory process by contributing during the open comment periods; we will let you know where and when to make these comments. There is still a great deal of work to be done but I have great confidence that we have the expertise and dedication to achieve our ultimate goal: The reintroduction of a blight resistant American chestnut tree back into the forest.