EKU and The American Chestnut Foundation Restoration Project 1.0

EKU and The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) are in the process of breeding hybrid chestnut trees for eventual release into the public domain. The hybrid chestnuts closely resemble pure American chestnut trees but are less susceptible than native American chestnuts to chestnut blight, a fungus-caused disease that has spread to North America from Asia, and have increased resistance to insect pests and other major pathogens. The method of plant breeding being used by TACF is commonly referred to as the “backcross method” wherein lines of American chestnut stock are outcrossed once to other species of chestnut carrying genetic resistance to chestnut blight (e.g., Chinese chestnut), and then successive generations of the resulting hybrids are repeatedly backcrossed to American chestnuts to recover the desirable characteristics of the American species while incorporating blight resistance from the Asian species.

For more information about restoring the American chestnut, www.acf.org and www.kychestnut.org are excellent starting points. You may also want to connect directly by using our Chestnut listserve. Please subscribe at http://listserve.eku.edu/mailman/listinfo/chestnuts Subscribing is a two-step process – once you submit your name on the webpage you will receive an e-mail asking you to confirm your desire to be on the list. Once you are added administratively, you will then receive a confirmation message that also gives you information about the list.

Tree Campus USA is a program of the Arbor Day Foundation that promotes tree growth and diversity on campuses nationwide (http://www.arborday.org/programs/treecampususa/). One aspect of the Tree Campus USA program is the requirement for recognized campuses to include service learning projects in their overall tree planting and maintenance program.

Individuals or groups wishing to host events on campus related to the American chestnut restoration project or the Tree Campus USA program should contact randy.wilson@eku.edu for planning and promoting your service learning hours with Facilities Services.