Tonight (1/22) Friends Of Upton State Forest Present ‘The Return of The American Chestnut Tree-Restoring the Mighty Giant’ – Free Event

american chestnut tree.jpgThe Friends of Upton State Forest will hold their Annual Meeting and Program on Friday, January 22, at 7:00 PM at the Upton VFW Hall at 15 Milford St in Upton. The event will start with a brief business meeting and election of officers. Following the business meeting, the group will hear a presentation by Lois Breault-Melican, president of the Massachusetts/Rhode Island Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation (TACF). She will do a slide presentation about The Return of The American Chestnut Tree-Restoring the Mighty Giant.

It has been 100 years since farmers and landowners in central and western Massachusetts started noticing that chestnut trees were dying. This was a result of an accidentally introduced pathogen known as chestnut blight. By 1950, America’s 4 billion chestnut trees were dead, and regarded as functionally extinct, in what can only be described as one of the worst environmental disasters of the 20th century. The wood of the American chestnut was highly prized for its ease to work with, its beautiful grain, and natural rot resistance. The fruit of the chestnut was delicious and highly nutritious sustaining wildlife, farm animals and people. At one time, the chestnut was a predominant tree in Upton State Forest. The presentation relates the amazing arc of the chestnut story from its historic importance and the devastation and anguish caused by the loss of the trees to blight, to today where there is hope for the recovery and return of a healthy, blight-resistant chestnut tree thanks to the 31-year long back crossing efforts of the American Chestnut Foundation.

Lois and Denis Melican are board members of the MA/RI Chapter of the TACF. Lois currently serves as the Chapter president. They planted a 233 tree experimental orchard at Moore State Park in 2003. Recently, they helped plant 2000 trees in a seed plantation at Smith College’s MacLeish Center in Whately, Mass and 1,600 trees at Springside Park in Pittsfield. This free program is open to the public. The Friends welcome new members. That night they are offering 10% off their usual membership dues and anyone is welcome to renew or join that night.The group will hold a raffle of three 2016 CCC Legacy calendars to benefit the work of their Historic Resources Committee, and their logo apparel will be available to purchase at the meeting. They are an all-volunteer 501c3 non-profit that works to “preserve, enhance, and protect the natural and historic resources of Upton State Forest”. You can get more information about the Friends on their website at http://www.friendsofuptonstateforest.org/, and you can follow their activities on their Facebook page. You can direct questions about the meeting to news@friendsofuptonstateforest.org or Bill at 508-529-6369.

This free program is open to the public. The Friends welcome new members. That night they are offering 10% off their usual membership dues and anyone is welcome to renew or join that night.The group will hold a raffle of three 2016 CCC Legacy calendars to benefit the work of their Historic Resources Committee, and their logo apparel will be available to purchase at the meeting. They are an all-volunteer 501c3 non-profit that works to “preserve, enhance, and protect the natural and historic resources of Upton State Forest”. You can get more information about the Friends on their website at http://www.friendsofuptonstateforest.org/, and you can follow their activities on their Facebook page. You can direct questions about the meeting to news@friendsofuptonstateforest.org or Bill at 508-529-6369.

About Jennifer Doyle

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