Reintroducing the American Chestnut

Friends and supporters help 400 seedlings take root

Reintroducing the American Chestnut

In 2012, Wildlands Conservancy planted the first ever American chestnut tree orchard in the Lehigh Valley. Volunteers, board members, staff and partners helped 400 seedlings take root at Trexler Nature Preserve (TNP) in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania.

This initiative aims to reverse the impact of the chestnut blight brought on by imported Asian chestnut trees around the turn of the last century. Historically, the American chestnut comprised 25% of eastern U.S. forest species and was a critical food source for a wide variety of native birds and mammals. The work underway will hopefully create blight-resistant hybrid trees that retain the main characteristics of the American species.

Project partners included the American Chestnut Foundation, Lehigh County, the Natural Resources’ Bureau of Forestry, Penn State Agricultural Extension and notably the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which awarded Wildlands funding to undertake this effort as part of a series of forestry best management practice projects/experiments at TNP.