TACF Participates in the McCullough Fellowship Program
By Samantha Bowers, TACF Grants Manager and Jared Westbrook, Director of Science
The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) was invited to participate in McCullough Fellows program at the University of North Carolina-Asheville (UNCA). The McCullough Fellowship Program offers intensive mentoring to undergraduate students at UNCA engaged in sustainability projects and research in the Asheville area over the summer and fall. Applicants are invited to propose faculty‑advised, applied research projects addressing one or more of the following areas: land use and conservation; urban planning; sustainable agriculture; resilience and environmental sustainability.
In the summer of 2017, Sam Stanley a senior from UNCA, worked with TACF through the McCullough Fellowship Program. The focus of Sam’s project was to locate flowering American chestnuts for future use in TACF’s germplasm conservation efforts. Sam found 10 new sources of American chestnut seed and pollen in forests throughout Western North Carolina and Georgia. Sam also worked with TACF staff and volunteers on small stem assays for blight resistance, collecting leaf tissue for genomic selection, and bagging trees for controlled pollinations. In December 2017, Sam presented his results at a McCullough Fellowship colloquium along with five other fellows working with organizations in Asheville. TACF is grateful to the McCullough Fellowship Program for connecting the next generation with the mission to restore the American chestnut.