PVCC program to highlight American chestnut tree restoration

PVCC will host the presentation, “Restoring the American Chestnut: Considerations on the Reintroduction of a Species Effectively Removed for Over a Century,” Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Main Building Auditorium (M229). This program is presented by the Ballyshannon Fund Forum, an occasional series of lectures at PVCC. The public is invited at no charge and a dessert reception will follow with the presenter.

The speaker, Sara Fern Fitzsimmons, has worked at Penn State University with the American Chestnut Foundation since 2003, assisting chestnut growers and researchers throughout the Appalachian Mountains. Born and raised in Hinton, West Virginia, Fitzsimmons studied Biology at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. She received her Master’s degree forest ecology and resource management from Duke University’s Nicholas School. She hopes her research and professional work will facilitate long-term conservation and restoration of native tree species at risk from exotic pests and diseases.

The mission of the American Chestnut Foundation is to return the iconic American chestnut to its native range after being rendered functionally extinct by a fungal blight introduced in 1904. As a keystone species, the loss of the American chestnut was an ecological and economic disaster.

Since 1983, the American Chestnut Foundation has supported multiple avenues of research that will ensure reintroduction populations of blight tolerant American chestnut trees that adapted to the diverse climates of this tree's native range.

For more information about the Ballyshannon Fund Forum, please call 434.961.5204 or email sdowell@pvcc.edu.