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Establishment of a New Jersey Chapter

March 11, 2006 meeting to establish a TACF chapter in New Jersey. Believe it or not, New Jersey has a lot of chestnuts, and we're working to find them and use them in our breeding program.
March 11, 2006 meeting group photo

March 11, 2006 meeting group photo

Since about 2002, the PA Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation has been working to develop a group of interested members in and around New Jersey. Largely in thanks to past PA-TACF president Bob Summersgill, it looks as though a Chapter in the state may just be on the horizon.

In 2003, Bob and various other members of the PA Chapter met with representative from the New Jersey Forestry Service and the New Jersey Conservation Foundation. We met at Prallsville Mills in Stockton to discuss the potential for several orchards in the area. The relationships we developed continue today, as there are two orchards in Stockton, one a BC3 orchard and the other a testing orchard for the future, that are in the area.

Later in 2003, a cooperative between the PA-TACF Chapter and the Morris County Parks Dept. was developed and plantings were established in Mount Paul and at Schooleys Mountain.

In 2006, following an exciting article published by the Trenton Times around Christmas of 2005, Bob encouraged the PA Chapter to hold a meeting of interested parties in New Jersey. The Chapter complied and held what was an exciting day of chestnutter.

We had an interesting agenda for the day, including a presentation by TACF Staff Pathologist Dr. Fred Hebard. Dr. Hebard gave a great rundown and introduction into the ecology of the American chestnut and what TACF is doing to restore the species.

Following a short break with some fantasticly strong coffee provided by Bob's wife Lori, PA-TACF Breeding Program Coordinator Sara Fitzsimmons presented on the breeding program of Pennsylvania and how people in New Jersey can help the efforts of the PA.

After the presentations, the crew jumped in various vehicles and carpooled out to the orchard sites in the area, both of which are primarily maintained by the New Jersey Conservation Foundation (NJCF). Chapter and beyond.

Throughout April, the PA Chapter will be sponsoring at least four plantings in New Jersey. More information will follow as those events become better organized, but all should be taking place in mid-to late April. One will take place in Stokes State Forest (~1000 chestnuts), one will take place at Mount Paul (about 30 chestnuts), one will take place at Schooleys Mountain (about 10 chestnuts), and one will take place near Stockton with our newest cooperators in New Jersey, Louis and Ann Cyktor of Lark Nursery.

Keep an eye either on this website, the front page of the PA-TACF website (http://www.patacf.org) and join the PA-TACF mailing list to keep on top of the latest in volunteer activities around New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Within the next week, we should be announcing more information regarding the plantings listed above.