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High School Students in Virginia Help Clean Up Orchard

Students from Blue Ridge School in St. George, VA pose by the culled trees they helped clean up at TACF's Stony Brook breeding orchard in Hillsboro, VA.

A number of years ago, Cory Woods, a teacher at Blue Ridge School in Saint George, VA, reached out to TACF’s VA Chapter in an effort to get his students involved in TACF’s mission and work. Since then, he and his students have helped us in our breeding orchards by planting, measuring, and in this case cleaning up the Stony Brook breeding orchard in Hillsboro, VA.

Students carry tree brush out of the orchard.

This past January, Matt Brinckman, former TACF mid-Atlantic regional science coordinator, taught a chainsaw safety course at this orchard. VA-TACF members and volunteers (including myself) took the course. The Stony Brook orchard was a perfect spot for the training, as the weak trees from a prior inoculation needed to be culled. With chainsaws in-hand, we proceeded to cut down the unneeded trees. It was a long day, so we didn’t have an opportunity to perform the cleanup.

Enter Cory Woods and his students from Blue Ridge, an all-boys school. I have found that for big projects like a cleanup, a youth group is ideal. Most of the boys are in the 15-16 age range and have plenty of energy and drive. Cory briefly described our program to the students and I was able to point out large cankers on the cut trees and smaller cankers on the trees left standing. I mentioned to them that with any luck, by the time they were old enough to retire, they may see the chestnut trees restored!