Fall Meeting 2006

August 26, 2006

The meeting was held at the Visitor and Education Center of the North Carolina Arboretum and concluded with a trip to the nearby Bent Creek Experimental Forest to learn about field performance of chestnut trees growing under different tree canopy conditions.

Meeting Agenda:

  • Julie Vidotto of the NC Arboretum welcomed the Carolinas Chapter members and gave an overview of the current facility and planned expansions. A future garden area near the planned Baker Exhibit Center will include a small planting of pure American chestnut trees that will demonstrate the effects of the blight. A larger planting of different stages of hybrid chestnut trees will illustrate the breeding program used by the American Chestnut Foundation to develop blight resistant chestnut trees.
  • Jennifer Viets Catalano presented Chapter President K.O. Summerville with a plaque which recognizes the establishment of a Research Endowment for the Carolinas Chapter. The NC Forestry Foundation at NC State University manages and administers the fund.
  • Meghan Jordan, Communications Director for the American Chestnut Foundation, reviewed her activities which include developing educational materials about the American chestnut tree for the NC Arboretum. Meghan also has worked with Dr. Paul Sisco to develop an exhibit for the I-26 Welcome Center about the American chestnut tree. She has assisted the Red Wolf Run Foundation in its efforts to donate funds and property to the American Chestnut Foundation and with Duke Energy Corporation regarding its Project Wild.
  • Dr. Paul Sisco reported on the current breeding program. Paul called on Chapter members that are chestnut growers to give the status of their efforts. Those reporting included Board Members Steve Motsinger, Scott Pryor, Don Surrette, and Dr. Brian Joyce, and Chapter members Susan Wilson and Don Myers.
  • Dr. Joe James discussed his work on development of American chestnut trees with resistance to root rot, or Phytophthora, disease.
  • Laura Georgi of Clemson University provided information on the work she is doing on the DNA of resistance with the purpose of identifying the precise gene for resistance to the chestnut bark fungus.
  • David Loftis of the US Forestry Service described tests being conducted at the Bent Creek Experimental Forest to determine growth characteristics of American chestnuts under different tree canopy conditions.