NC Arbor Day Plants American Chestnuts at NC Zoo

Bryan Burhams, left, president and CEO of the
American Chestnut Foundation, looks on as Owen
George, right, of Trees NC and Robert McCrory,
Trees NC board member and aborist at the NC Zoo,
and students of Balfour Elementary School in Asheboro
plant an endangered American Chestnut seedling at the
zoo as part of the celebration of NC Arbor Day.
(photo provided by the NC Zoo)

NC Arbor Day was a big day for the NC Zoo, Trees NC, and the future of the American Chestnut in North Carolina.

As many of our readers are aware, the American Chestnut tree nearly dissapeared from the earth as the result of a blight that struck in the early part of the 20th century.

Following thirty years of research and plant breeding, the American Chestnut Foundation has developed a chestnut tree that it hopes will be resistant to the blight, while retaining 96% of the original American Chestnut genetic make-up.

Trees NC began working with the American Chestnut Foundation five years ago on a project to reintroduce the American Chestnut in North Carolina. Through collaboration with the NC Zoo, nearly fifty rare American Chestnut trees have been introduced to nature.

On March 19th, Trees NC was honored to celebrate NC Arbor Day at the NC Zoo with a visit from the President of the American Chestnut Foundation, Mr. Bryan Burham.

Hosted by NC Zoo Director Dr. Davis Jones, the event was a timely celebration of the rebirth of this legendary native tree. Burham shared stories of the American Chestnut, and looked on as students planted two of the chestnuts on the grounds of the NC Zoo. Long live the American Chestnut!