The American Chestnut Foundation 34th Annual Meeting: South Portland, Maine

Thank you to our speakers and all attendees for your part in making this a fantastic event.

__________  2017 KEYNOTE SPEAKER  __________


Thomas Woltz is the owner of Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects. He was named the Design Innovator of the Year by the Wall Street Journal Magazine in 2013. In 2011, he was invested into the American Society of Landscape Architects Council of Fellows, among the highest honors achieved in the profession.

Over the past two decades, Woltz has forged a body of work that integrates the beauty and function of built forms with an understanding of complex biological systems and restoration ecology. The firm has worked in 25 U.S. states and 9 foreign countries.

Presentation not made public


Friday, October 6 and Saturday, October 7, 2017
12:30 pm – 9:00 pm

DoubleTree by Hilton Portland Hotel
363 Maine Mall Road, South Portland, ME  04106

This educational event provides a wonderful opportunity for scientists, conservationists, researchers, students, private landowners, citizen scientists, and industry professionals to share information and perspectives about American chestnut restoration.

__________ SCHEDULE OF EVENTS AT A GLANCE  __________

Friday, October 6th

12:30 – 1:45 PM  Lunch featuring speaker Dr. George L. Jacobson, Professor Emeritus, University of Maine. Post-glacial Distribution of the American Chestnut in Relation to Other Tree Taxa (and Climate). Presentation not made public

Dr. George L. Jacobson is Professor Emeritus of Biology, Ecology, and Climate Change at the University of Maine.  Since his arrival in Maine in 1979, Dr. Jacobson has been a member of the Climate Change Institute, and he was Director of the Institute for nearly a decade.  His scientific research has focused on long-term climate variability and specifically on forest responses to climate changes during the past 60,000 years.  Prof. Jacobson’s projects have included sites in North America, South America, and Europe.   Among other things, he has served as an outside advisor on climate to the European Science Foundation, and to the Finnish Academy of Sciences.  From 2008 to 2014, he had the honorary designation of Maine State Climatologist.

Professor Jacobson joined the faculty of the University of Maine in 1979 after three years working in the United States Senate in Washington, D.C., first as a AAAS Congressional Science Fellow and then as a staff scientist for the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.  He was born and raised in Rapid City, South Dakota, and earned a B.A. in 1968 from Carleton College, and a Ph.D. in 1975 from the University of Minnesota.  From 1968-1970 he served as a medical specialist in the United States Army.

2:00 – 4:55 PM  Concurrent Educational Sessions (35-minute sessions including 5-minute Q&A):

Orchard Best Management Practices   Moderator:  Kendra Collins

Ron Lemin is a Vegetation Management Sales Consultant for Crop Production Services – Timberland Division. Ron holds a BS in Forestry from Penn State University and a MS in Forest Biometrics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

Ron worked as an Assistant Scientist for the Cooperative Forestry Research Unit at the University of Maine from 1982 to 1996. He then joined Crop Production Services as a Vegetation management Sales Consultant. Ron covers the forestry, industrial vegetation, invasive and aquatic markets in NY and the other New England States. Ron is a licensed pesticide applicator and also a licensed professional forester.

Kendra Collins joined TACF in 2008 as Regional Science Coordinator for the New England region, which includes the ME, VT/NH, RI/MA, and CT state chapters of TACF. Kendra received a BS in Environmental Conservation Science from University of New Hampshire and an MS in Natural Resources- Forestry from University of Vermont. Kendra worked previously with citizen scientists through New Hampshire’s Volunteer Lake Assessment Program.


  • 3:20 – 3:35 PM  BREAK / REFRESHMENTS


Dr. Martin Cipollini is a Dana Professor of Biology at Berry College, GA. Martin holds a BS and MS from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD from Rutgers University.

At Berry College since 1995, his current research revolves around the college’s Longleaf Pine and America Chestnut projects.  He has lead the GA-TACF breeding program since 2005 and has helped establish numerous orchards across the state.  Among those is the backcross orchard at Berry College – the first such orchard to be established GA.

  • 4:20 – 4:55 PM  Cultivating Chestnut Partnerships by Lois A. Breault-Melican

Lois A. Breault-Melican  is a retired Regional Interpretive Coordinator with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Sate Parks. Lois holds an AAS in Applied Horticulture from Becker College and attended The New England School of Gardening at Tower Hill Botanic Garden and at Clark University.

She also attended the Arnold Arboretum’s Institute for Cultural and Historic Landscape Studies and is a long time American Rhododendron Society member. A Certified Interpretive Guide, Lois helped plan and coordinate educational programs statewide. In 2003 Lois helped plant the 1st chestnut breeding orchard on state land in Massachusetts and is currently is serving as President of the MA/RI Chapter. Lois also likes cook with chestnuts.

Chestnut Ecology   Moderator:  Sara Fitzsimmons

  • 2:00 – 2:35 PM  Effects on Early Survival by Jason Payne

Jason Payne is the Vice President at Woodlands Management Services, Inc. Jason holds an AAS in Forest Management Technology from Southeastern Community College, a BS in Forest Management and MS in Forestry both from North Carolina State University.

Jason is lead forester on a team managing nearly 45,000 acres of privately held conservation land in North Carolina. Jason’s professional interests center on integrating silvicultural systems into forest community restoration. He has over 20-years of experience in Natural Resources Management and is one of only four individuals dually licensed as a Registered Forester and Licensed Soil Scientist in the state of North Carolina.

  • 2:40 – 3:15 PM  Restoration Trials in Maine by Dr. Brian Roth

Dr. Brian Roth is Acting Director of Cooperative Forestry Research Unit at University of Maine. Brian holds a BS in Forest Management from University of Alberta, a MS in Forest Regeneration from Oregon State University, and a PhD in Forest Production Ecology from University of Florida. Brian serves on TACF’s Restoration Committee and is the Chair of the Science and Data Committee, Maine Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation.

His work with the CFRU supports applied forest research for 36 member organizations on over 8.2 million acres of managed forests in Maine.  Brian has called Maine home for seven years and proudly owns and manages almost 500 acres of working forests in Maine with a few friends.

  • 3:20 – 3:35 PM  BREAK / REFRESHMENTS


  • 3:40 – 4:15 PM  Silviculture & Genetics Research on Green Mtn by Dr. Paul Schaberg and Gary Hawley

Dr. Paul Schaberg is a Research Plant Physiologist with USFS Biological and Environmental Influences on Forest Health and Productivity and an Adjunct Associate Professor with Rubenstein School of Environment and natural Resources with University of Vermont, Burlington. Paul holds a BS in Forestry, an MS in Forestry, and a PhD in Botany all from University of Vermont, Burlington.

His research focuses on understanding and preventing real world decline of forest tree species. He currently coordinates a diverse collaborative group of scientists that evaluate the influence of human-associated stress on forest health and productivity.

Gary Hawley is a Research Associate with Rubenstein School of Environment and natural Resources with University of Vermont, Burlington. Gary holds a BS in Forestry and an MS in Forest Genetics both from University of Vermont, Burlington.

His research focuses on human impacts on tree health.  This includes work on acid rain and climate change as well as genetic diversity of forest trees.  In addition, he is interested in the Design, development and demonstration of high performance green buildings.

  • 4:20 – 4:55 PM  Climate Change by Dr. Douglass Jacobs

Dr. Douglass Jacobs is a Fred M. van Eck Professor of Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue University. Douglass holds a BA in Ecology from Emory University, an MS in Forest Resources from University of Georgia, and a PhD in Forest Science from Oregon State.

His research focuses on development of young forest trees to facilitate reforestation and ecological restoration. Through his affiliation with the Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center at Purdue, he collaborates with US Forest Service and Purdue scientists specializing in tree improvement and molecular genetics to develop restoration strategies for threatened tree species.  He has been especially interested in American chestnut restoration and has served on the TACF scientific oversight committee for the past 15 years.

Genomics & Breeding   Moderator:  Ben Jarrett

Thomas Saielli joined TACF in 2012 and is based in the Virginia Department of Forestry’s Central Office in Charlottesville, Virginia. Tom oversees the organization’s Mid-Atlantic region which includes the TACF state chapters of MD, VA, and WV. He holds a BS in Biology and Environmental Science from University of Colorado and an MS in Forest Sciences from University of Vermont, Burlington.

Tom also served as the Southern Regional Science Coordinator for four and a half years and before that, worked as a research technician with New England Regional Science Coordinator Kendra Collins. Prior to joining TACF, Tom served as a Crew Leader with Wildlands Restoration Volunteers in Colorado and spent nine years as a medic with the Nederland Fire protection District.

  • 2:40 – 3:15 PM  Phytphthora Screening Trials by Dr. Paul Sisco, PRESENTATION LINK

Dr. Paul Sisco is TACF’s former Staff Geneticist and Southern Regional Science Coordinator. Paul holds an AB from Princeton University, an MA from Columbia University, and a PhD in Plant Breeding and Genetics from Cornell University.  He is now helping with the Carolinas’ Chapter Clapper Seed Orchard and with research to discover the genetics of resistance to Phytophthora cinnamomi in Asian Castanea species.

Paul is a native of Memphis, Tennessee. Following postdoctoral research at NC State University he was hired as a USDA-ARS Research Geneticist in the Dept of Crop Science, focusing on the genetics of agronomic traits in corn.  His interest in chestnut came from Dr. Charles Burnham, who signed him up with TACF at a Maize Genetics Conference in 1986.  More recently he has worked with Dr. Tatyana Zhebentyayeva on the genetics of resistance to the root rot pathogen.

  • 3:20 – 3:35 PM  BREAK / REFRESHMENTS


  • 3:40 – 4:15 PM  Genomic Selection Explained by Dr. Jared Westbrook, PRESENTATION LINK

Dr. Jared Westbrook joined TACF in January 2015 as the organization’s new quantitative geneticist. Jared holds a BS in Environmental Science from the University of Michigan, an MS in Botany and a PhD in Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Florida. He works extensively with the Meadowview Research Laboratory and commutes from Asheville to take TACF’s breeding program to the next level.

His dissertation research studied the genetic enhancement of resin production in loblolly pine stems for use in liquid biofuels. Jared’s experience in genomics as it is applied to candidate gene discovery and breeding are tremendous assets to TACF’s restoration effort. He also possesses competency with R and ASReml, familiarity with mating designs and quantitative genetic analyses, and managing large-scale phenotyping screens.

  • 4:20 – 4:55 PM  treeSnap Database by Dr. Dana Nelson

Dr. C. Dana Nelson is a Project Leader with the USFS Southern Research Station and the Southern Institute of Forest Genetics. Dana holds a BS in Forestry at Iowa State Universitya, an MS in Forest Genetics from Oklahoma State University, and a PhD in Forest Genetics from University of Minnesota. Nelson currently serves as Chair for the Southern Forest Tree Improvement Committee.

His current research includes: host-pathogen genetics, in particular the genetics of fusiform rust disease on slash and loblolly pines, population and quantitative genetics of the southern pines, DNA marker development and genome mapping, and comparative genomics of the southern pines and related conifers.

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM  Poster Presentations/Social Hour (with cash bar)

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM  Dinner & Awards Program (with cash bar) featuring speaker Thomas L. Woltz, FASLA, CLARB, Principal, Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects

Over the past two decades of practice, Thomas Woltz has forged a body of work that integrates the beauty and function of built forms with an understanding of complex biological systems and restoration ecology. In 2011, Thomas was the second youngest designer to be invested into the American Society of Landscape Architects Council of Fellows, and in 2013 he was named Design Innovator of the Year by the Wall Street Journal magazine.

At present, Thomas is leading Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects in the design of major public parks across the United States, Canada, England, Australia, and New Zealand including the Aga Khan Garden, (Alberta, Canada), Cornwall Park (New Zealand) Mount Cuba Center (Delaware), Memorial Park (Houston, Texas), and Centennial Park (Nashville, Tennessee).

__________ ADDITIONAL EVENT __________

Saturday, October 7th
Chestnut Restoration Tour.  Download the Chestnut Tour Book 2017 10 07.