TACF 2019 Annual Fall Meeting
Saturday, October 19, 2019
Gettysburg, PA

Wyndham Gettysburg
95 Presidential Circle, Gettysburg, PA 17325

From the sacred, hallowed grounds of the battlefield, to the unique shops and restaurants that line the square, Gettysburg is rich in history and hospitality.

To view presentations from please click Topic under each speaker

2019 Keynote Speaker

Saturday, October 19: Volunteer Service Awards Banquet
Jenny Rose Carey
Senior Director of the Gardens at PHS  Meadowbrook Farm, Jenkintown
Topic: Glorious Shade Gardens


Jenny Rose Carey is a long-time educator and author who shares her practical gardening information with lectures on both sides of the Atlantic. She worked at Temple University for over a decade as an adjunct Professor and then as Director of the Ambler Arboretum.

Jenny Rose is currently the Director at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s garden at Meadowbrook Farm. She co-authored a book about the history of the Pennsylvania School of Horticulture for Women in 2011 and is the author of ‘Glorious Shade’ published by Timber Press in 2017.

Jenny Rose relaxes by gardening in her home garden, ‘Northview’, a four and a half acre garden at her Victorian House in Ambler, Pennsylvania.



2019 Fall Meeting Schedule

Saturday, October 19

7:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Salon Hallway

7:00 AM – 8:45 AM
Salon D, E & F

8:15 – 8:45 AM
Topic: Welcome / Schatz Tree Genetics Colloquium Slideshow




9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Poster Viewing
Terrace Foyer

9:00 – 10:45 AM
Session 1: Chestnut Research
Salon C

Moderated by: Ben Jarrett, TACF Regional Science Coordinator, Southern Region

9:00 – 9:45 AM
Topic:  Genomics of Local Adaptation in Trees
by Jason Holliday, Associate Professor, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

Jason Holliday is a forest geneticist with an interest in the genomics of environmental adaptation of temperate tree species. His work has mainly focused on understanding the genes that underlie local adaptation to climate, and on the past and contemporary demographic factors that may impinge on these adaptation. These issues have been addressed  species such as Sitka spruce, black cottonwood, and more recently, American chestnut.

Recently, Jason has been working with TACF to use genomics to predict blight resistance in the back-cross breeding program, as a way to avoid progeny testing of the thousands of preliminary B3F2 selections. He is also collaborating with TACF in a USDA funded effort to characterize adaptive genetic variation in remnant wild American chestnuts. This information will be used to develop an ex situ strategy for conserving this germplasm, which will be used in crosses to enhance local adaptation in blight resistant deployment populations.


10:00 – 10:45 AM
Topic: Reintroducing American Chestnut to Working Forests

by Cornelia (Leila) Pinchot, Research Ecologist USFS Northern Research Station, Delaware, OH

Leila is a Research Ecologist for the USFS Northern Research Station, based in Delaware, OH.  Her current research focuses on the restoration and reintroduction of “iconic tree species”, including American chestnut and American elm.

Leila’s interest in chestnut began when she and her father found a large surviving American chestnut on their family property in eastern Pennsylvania.  Leila worked as the TACF New England Regional Science Coordinator from 2006 – 2008, and left to pursue a PhD at the University of Tennessee, where she studied silvicultural strategies for American chestnut establishment.



11:00 – 11:45 AM
Session 2: Students Present their Chestnut Research
Salon C

Moderated by Kendra Collins, TACF Regional Science Coordinator, New England Region

Topic: The Role of the CpSec66 gene in Cryphonectria parasitica pathogenicity in chestnut.
by Bruce Levine, PhD student in Plant Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Bruce Levine is a PhD student in Plant Science at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he studies the host-pathogen interaction between chestnut blight fungus and chestnut.  After 20+ years of membership and volunteer work with TACF, Bruce chose to retire from a 26-year diplomatic career in the U.S. Foreign Service and devote his efforts to chestnut restoration.




Topic: Nutrition, Composition and Dietary Safety of Transgenic Chestnuts
by Andrew Newhouse, MS, Senior Research Support Specialist, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY

Andrew has been working on projects that overlap the fields of conservation biology and molecular biology for more than 16 years.  During the past 11 years, he has worked with the American Chestnut Research & Restoration Project, at the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science & Forestry.  This project has developed transgenic American chestnut trees that tolerate chestnut blight, a disease that nearly extirpated mature trees from their native range in the eastern USA.   Andrew has worked on a variety of aspects of this project, from genetic transformation and molecular analyses to blight screening and ecological field tests.  Most recently, he has been preparing for the US federal regulatory review process, a set of rigorous evaluations required before the trees can be distributed or used for restoration.


Topic: The Potential of Biotechnology for Ozark Chinquapin Conservation
by Hannah Pilkey,  SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY

Hannah is a student SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY, where she is studying Plant Science and Biotechnology.  Hannah works with Ozark chinquapin trees in tissue culture. Her research includes initiating new shoot and embryo lines, maintaining previously established cultures, and conducting the first genetic transformations trials on established embryos.

12:00 – 1:00 PM
Salon D, E & F

1:15 – 3:00 PM
Session 3: Gettysburg History and Its Future
Salon C

Moderated by:  Tom Saielli, TACF Regional Science Coordinator, Mid-Atlantic Region

1:15 – 2:00 PM
Topic: Gettysburg’s Peach Orchard
by Britt C. Isenberg, Licensed Battlefield Guide, Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg, PA

Britt C. Isenberg is a graduate of Millersville University of Pennsylvania and became a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg National Military Park in 2014.  He has conducted several thousand tours across the Gettysburg battlefield, some of which have been featured on PCN-TV.

Britt is the author of the book, The Boys Fought Like Demons (2016) and co-author of the book, Gettysburg’s Peach Orchard (2019) with James A. Hessler. Britt has also been published in a number of other Civil War related periodicals including America’s Civil War, Hallowed Ground, Civil War Times, and Gettysburg Magazine, both in writing and photography. He resides with his wife and daughter near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.


2:15 – 3:00 PM
Topic: Heritage + Habitat = Sustainable Future
by Dru Anne Neil, President, Gettysburg Nature Alliance, Gettysburg, PA

Ms. Neil is a marketing, communications, fundraising and museum professional in Gettysburg, Pa., site of the famous Civil War battle and only 90 minutes north of Washington, D.C. Throughout her career, she has helped plan, open and operate three museums and has worked in development consulting, marketing, advertising, public relations and journalism. Her most high-profile work was as a management-team member and marketing and communications director for the Gettysburg Foundation, which raised $125 million to build and operate the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center.

Dru operates Neil Strategy Group, which specializes in work with nonprofits and small and new businesses, and she has clients from coast to coast, including as far away as Alaska, She has a passion for nature and the outdoors and​ enjoys hiking, climbing and skiing and is an advocate for mental health, environmental issues and for the museum industry.

A native of Pittsburgh, Dru earned a masters degree in corporate communication from Duquesne University and an undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh.


3:15 – 5:15 PM
Session 4 – Chestnut in Story and Song
Salon C

Moderated by:  Sara Fitzsimmons, TACF Director of Restoration and Regional Science Coordinator, North-Central Region

3:15 – 4:00 PM
Topic: The American Chestnut Sprouts in School Curricula
by Sally M. Walker, Author of Champion: The Comeback Tale of the American Chestnut Tree, DeKalb, IL

Sally Walker is the award-winning author of more than 60 nonfiction books for young readers,  She specialized in topics that connect history, mystery and science.

The American chestnut’s story has intrigued  her for many years. Reading about the many ongoing restoration projects, she knew it was a story that young people would find fascinating.

As part  of the research for the book Champion: the Comeback Tale of the American Chestnut Tree, Sally inoculated trees at TACF’s farm in Virginia.  The National Science Teachers Association included Champion on their 2019 Best STEM Books list and designated it as a 2019 Outstanding Science Trade Book.  The National Teachers of English awarded the book a 2019 Orbis Pictus Honor for excellence in nonfiction.


4:15 – 4:45 PM
Topic: There They Were With The Chestnut
by Bruce Wakeland, President of Wakeland Forestry Consultants, Inc, Culver IN; TACF Restoration Committee Chair

Bruce has been a consulting forester since his graduation from Purdue University in 1972, founding Wakeland Consulting Foresters in 1976. He became interested in American chestnut in 1975 when he found surviving trees in a client’s woodlands. He founded TACF’s Indiana Chapter in 1996 and Indiana’s breeding program in 1997.

Bruce  has served on TACF board of directors since 1997.




4:45 – 5:00 PM
Topic: A Song of Encouragement, Hoping for the Return of the American Chestnut Trees.
by Peter O. Lane, Retired School Teacher, Banjo Player, Kennett Square, PA; TACF Pennsylvania/New Jersey chapter member

Peter Lane, a member of TACF PA/NJ chapter is keen on helping the American chestnut tree thrive once more.

Peter was a graduate of Westtown School,Westchester, PA, class of 1957,  and went on to teach math and woodworking, coach, and be a dormitory parent from 1965 through 2004.

With the guidance and support of Sara Fitzsimmons, TACF Director of Restoration, Peter facilitated the planting of 15 pure American Chestnut trees on the Westtown School campus in 2004, and several more after that.  Today the Grove has about 60 trees, some of which stand proudly without blight alongside one really lovely and healthy pure American Chestnut.

4:00 – 5:00 PM
Poster Judging (closed to public)

5:30 – 6:30 PM
Poster Session Reception – Cash Only Bar
Terrace Foyer

6:30 – 9:30 PM
Volunteer Service Award Banquet
Salon D, E & F

Thank you to our 2019 Annual Meeting sponsors!