American chestnut tree ~ A family next to an ancient American chestnut in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Western North Carolina, before the blight decimated this species. A rapidly growing, deciduous hardwood tree, the chestnut reached up to 100-150 feet tall and 10 feet in diameter. Photo credit: Great Smoky Mountains National Park Library and The American Chestnut Foundation.
Working with the American Chestnut Foundation, students help with controlled pollination to produce a blight-resistant chestnut strain at the Reineman Sanctuary plantation. Before blight struck in the early 1900s, chestnut was the dominant forest tree species through much of Pennsylvania, and its loss has affected the entire forest ecosystem.
Located eight miles north of the Dickinson campus, the Florence Jones Reineman Wildlife Sanctuary is a little-known but valuable resource for Dickinson’s sustainability curriculum. Due to a clause in Reineman’s daughter’s will that allows Dickinson students access to the sanctuary for educational purposes, many classes take trips to this 3,400 acre field laboratory to perform...
A New Generation of American Chestnut Trees May Redefine America's Forests - Before an exotic fungus nearly wiped them out in the late 1800s, abundant chestnut trees shaped the forest ecosystem, providing food and shelter for numerous other species. In coming decades Chestnut trees engineered to battle the fungus could restore these lost relationships.