A NATIONAL RESTORATION EFFORT
In November 2014, 75 volunteers joined Greenwich Land Trust staff and American Chestnut Foundation representatives to establish the first American Chestnut orchard in Fairfield County at GLT’s Duck Pond Hill Preserve. American Chestnuts, once known as the “redwoods of the East”, comprised about 25 percent of all trees along the Eastern seaboard. But in the early 1900s, the vast majority of these magnificent trees were destroyed by an Asian blight.
Over several decades, the American Chestnut Foundation has been cross-breeding remaining American Chestnuts with their Asian “cousins” to develop a blight-resistant tree which is more than 95 percent American. Seedlings from this research were planted in GLT’s new orchard where they will remain for generations to come. Several additional chestnuts were planted at the Mueller Preserve so they can be easily viewed by visitors. GLT’s staff, interns and volunteers maintain the trees, record their growth patterns and health, and collect valuable data for further research.
Greenwich Land Trust is proud to partner with the American Chestnut Foundation on this scientific research project and to have the support of the Greenwich Tree Conservancy, Emerald Tree Care, and private donors.