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Guest Speaker

Restoring the American Chestnut by John Wenderoth


John Wenderoth, past president of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation, spoke to members and guests at Peggy Bancroft Hall about the organization’s ongoing efforts to develop a blight-resistent American chestnut tree through scientific research and breeding, and to restore the tree to its former Appalachian habitat.

More than a century ago nearly 4 billion American chestnut trees were growing here, and they were among the largest and tallest trees. Their wood was ideal as a building material, being rot-resistent and straight-grained, and the tree was heavily harvested in the 1800s. Then, more than a century ago, a blight killed virtually all of the remaining trees, drastically altering the native forest ecosystem. However, the chestnut is not extinct, and John explained the work that is being done by dedicated scientists, foresters, and volunteers, to save this “perfect” tree.

John explained how to identify the American chestnut in the event that we find a tree that is naturally disease- resistant and has survived the blight, and also how to get involved in the restoration project.

The program was sponsored by 2019 Business Partner, Eye Associates of Paupack.