About Chestnut Chat
Chestnut Chat is a webinar hosted by The American Chestnut Foundation on the third Friday of every other month. Join the fun and learn about different aspects of TACF’s work to restore the iconic American chestnut to its native range. Visit the events calendar to find signup details for the next chat. We look forward to seeing you there!
Chestnut Chat Archives
Welcome to the Chestnut Chat Archives! Scroll down to browse a complete list of all previous Chestnut Chats or expand the directory below to jump directly to a chat.
Chestnut Chat Directory
41. Darling 58 Update 9/15/23
40. Documentary, Clear Day Thunder 6/19/23
39. Pollen Collection & Processing 5/19/23
38. DentataBase Training 4/21/23
37. Fall Symposium Student Poster Session 3/17/23
36. Town Hall – Welcome Back! 1/20/2023
35. Habitat Suitability 4/15/2022
34. How to Obtain & Grow American Chestnuts 3/18/22
33. Cold Tolerance 2/18/22
32. Evolution of the Genus Castanea 1/21/22
31. Phytopthora cinnamomi & the American Chestnut 12/17/21
30. Restoration of Pine Savannah Ecosystems 11/19/21
29. Genomic Selection 10/15/21
28. Wood Identification & Properties 9/17/21
27. Participatory Chestnut Breeding 8/20/21
26. Emerging Threats to Chestnut Health 7/16/21
25. Controlled Pollination 6/18/21
24. Site Selection & Planting American Chestnuts 5/21/21
23. Blight Cankers 4/16/21
22. Big Questions for Chestnut Restoration 3/19/21
21. Historic Importations & Cultivars 2/19/21
20. Biocontrol: Chestnut Blight & Hypovirulence 1/15/21
19. Town Hall – Chestnut Science 12/11/20
18. Cloning & Embryogenesis 11/13/20
17. Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) 10/30/20
16. Cooking with Chestnuts 10/16/20
15. Chestnuts Pests & Pathogens 10/2/20
14. Chestnut Harvest & Storage 9/18/20
13. Public Comment Period 9/4/20
12. Metabolomics 101 9/21/20
11. American Chestnut Restoration & Reintroduction 8/7/20
10. Plant Pathology for Non-Pathologists 7/24/20
9. Pollination Workshop at ESF 7/10/20
8. Drones 6/26/20
7. The Hunt for Wild American Chestnut Trees 6/12/20
6. Grafting Workshop 5/29/20
5. Meet Chestnut Enthusiast Chuck Leavell 5/15/20
4. Meadowview Research Farms 5/8/20
3. Transgenic American Chestnut Tree 5/1/20
2. Meet our Volunteers 4/24/20
1. TACF in the Age of COVID 4/17/20
Chestnut Chat 41: Sept 15, 2023 – Darling 58 Update
TACF’s Chief Conservation Officer Sara Fitzsimmons and SUNY-ESF’s American Chestnut Research and Restoration Project researcher Andy Newhouse, along with others, will share the latest updates about the current status of the Darling 58 transgenic American chestnut. There has been a lot of excitement around the potential release of this tree, and recent regulatory delays and additional restrictions for distribution may reduce the ability for everyone to get seed, seedlings, or pollen as swiftly as originally hoped. In this Chestnut Chat, we’ll go through some frequently asked questions, then give participants an opportunity to ask their own questions related to Darling 58.
Q and A
- TACF’s Darling 58 page
Chestnut Chat 40: June 16, 2023 – Documentary Film: Clear Day Thunder
TACF is thrilled to announce that its long-anticipated documentary film CLEAR DAY THUNDER: Rescuing the American Chestnut is a wrap! This 53-minute film highlights the story of the tree’s exceptional significance, the people determined to save it, and its promising future.
This will be the topic of our next LIVE Chestnut Chat on Friday, June 16 at 11:30AM (EST). We’ll be joined by TACF’s Director of Communications Jules Smith to discuss the making of and goals for the film and by filmmaker Rod Murphy of Collective Projects to answer questions related to creative development. We will also be joined by Mari Peterson of Marketing Outpost who, along with her team, has played an invaluable role in the success of this project and is coordinating screenings. She will share information about the film’s website, how to host a screening, promotional materials, special screenings for supporters, and future rollout plans at public and private venues and festivals.
Chestnut Chat 39: May 19, 2023 – Chestnut Pollen Collection, Processing & Storage
Topic: This Chestnut Chat focuses on the steps, methods, and processes of gathering and storing chestnut pollen. Join Hannah Pilkey of SUNY-ESF, and Cassie Stark and Eric Jenkins of TACF as they discuss the biology of male flowers, timing of catkin emergence and anthesis, and the techniques used to gather and store pollen for both the current season and for future use.
Chestnut Chat 38: April 21, 2023 – dentataBase Training
Topic: This month we take a departure from TACF’s usual format to bring you a dentataBase training session, led by Chief Conservation Officer (and Chestnut Chat host), Sara Fitzsimmons, and Regional Science Coordinator supervisor, Kendra Collins. With Darling 58 deregulation on the horizon, we will be using TACF’s online database, aptly named dentataBase, to track many aspects of our scientific program. But dentataBase isn’t just for TACF scientists – it has some great tools available to members too. Join us to learn how to enter small, backyard plantings, create crosses, and even how we track and follow wild tree reports. If you have small plantings to enter, or are just curious how you might interact with this system, please join us for this focused tutorial.
Chestnut Chat 37: March 17, 2023 – 2022 Fall Symposium Student Poster Session Participants
Topic: In this edition of Chestnut Chat, TACF invites poster contest winners and participants from the 2022 Annual Symposium to recap their work in front of a larger audience. We are excited to be joined by three young scientists from partnering academic institutions. We hope you will join us to welcome Trish Nguyen of UT-Chattanooga, Kaitlyn Harden of UT-Chattanooga, and Morgan Dupree Wingo of Berry College.
Chestnut Chat 36: January 20, 2023 – Town Hall – Welcome Back!
Topic: TACF Staff members Lisa Thomson, president & CEO; Sara Fitzsimmons, chief conservation officer; and Kendra Collins, regional science coordinator (RSC) manager & New England RSC, share a number of exciting updates during this month’s Chat. Topics include the launch of TACF’s documentary film on Earth Day 2023, the current USDA public comment period, and plans for in-person educational opportunities. In addition, Andy Newhouse and Adriana Del Grosso from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) share an update on the latest deregulation status of the Darling 58 transgenic American chestnut. They are also involved in the public comment period discussion.
Chestnut Chat 35: April 15, 2022 – Habitat Suitability
Topic: April’s Chestnut Chat covered Habitat Modeling for American chestnut. Jennifer Santoro, a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Geography and the Environment at Villanova University, and Alec Henderson, a senior at Villanova University with a major in Environmental Science and a minor in Computer Science led this discussion. Together they described their research for modeling and mapping suitable chestnut habitat in Pennsylvania and showed how analyses like this can be useful for chestnut restoration efforts. Jen and Alec also discussed research to model and map suitable chestnut habitat in Pennsylvania and show how analyses like this can be useful for chestnut restoration efforts.
Chestnut Chat 34: March 18, 2022 – How to Obtain, Grow, and Manage American Chestnuts
Topic: In March we covered a favorite topic for all of us – planting American chestnuts! TACF staff shared information about different seed and seedling programs, annual seed and seedling distribution, how to plant and care for this special tree, and much more.
- TACF Distribution Programs, Presented by Kendra Collins, New England Region RSC
- Wild Type Seedling Sale Stats, Presented by Shana Zimnoch, Donor Relations Manager
- Planting and Growing Chestnut Trees, Presented by Tom Saielli, Mid-Atlantic Region RSC
- Why Plant CADE, Presented by Sara Fitzsimmons, North Central region, RSC
Chestnut Chat 33: February 18, 2022 – Cold Tolerance
Topic: February’s Chestnut Chat covered cold tolerance and regional adaptability in American chestnut. Dr. Paul Schaberg, a research plant physiologist with the U.S. Forest Service, mentored two TACF Regional Science Coordinators: Kendra Collins and Tom Saielli. Under his tutelage at the University of Vermont, they helped to install, maintain, and conduct research on American chestnut provenance trails in Vermont’s Green Mountain Forest.
Chestnut Chat 32: January 21, 2022 – Evolution of the Genus Castanea
Topic: Evolution of the genus Castanea, presented by Taylor Perkins, research associate, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). Taylor shared a high-level view of evolution and migration of the genus Castanea across the world, starting in China and moving finally into the United States. Taylor has been studying the relationships and divergence of chinkapin and chestnuts in the eastern U.S. for over a decade. Working with Dr. Hill Craddock at UTC, he was recently awarded a TACF external grant to further delve into the mysteries of Ozark chinkapin origin.
- Bouchal – Evolutionary trends and ecological differentiation in early Cenozoic Fagaceae of Western North America
- Castenea fossill Eocene Clarno formation Oregon
- Castenea miomollissima fossill Eocene Renova formation Montana Yale
- Castenea stockeye fossill 2 Eocene from BC Can
- Castenea stockeye fossill 2 Eocene from BC Can – Burke Museum
- Crepet and Daghlian – Castaneoid Inflorescences from the Middle Eocene of Tennessee
- Crepet and Nixon – Earliest megafossill evidence of Fagaceae
- Gomez – Montsechia an ancient aquatic angiosperm
- Grimsson – Fagaceae pollen from early Cenozoic Georgia
- Heer – Contributions to the fossill flora of North Greenland
- Henerdeen – Fagaceous flowers fruite cupules Cretaceous Georgia
- Poinar – Micropetasos, a new genus of angiosperms from mid-cretaseous Burmese amber
- Mancherster – Biogeographical relationships of the North America tertiary floras
- Sun – A eudicot from the early Cretaceous of China
- Sun – Genomic basis of homoploid hybrid speciation withtin chestnut trees
- Wilf – Eocene Fagaceae from Patagonia and Gondwanan legacy in Asian rainforests
Chestnut Chat 31: December 17, 2021 – Phytophthora cinnamomi and the American chestnut
Topic: Phytophthora cinnamomi and American chestnut. Presenters Steve Jeffers, Professor of Plant Pathology & Extension Specialist, Ornamental Crops & Trees at Clemson University, and Katie McKeever, USDA Forest Service Bent Creek Resistance Screening Center Director, discuss their research and findings involving Phytophthora cinnamomi, also known as black ink disease, in American chestnut.
Screening hybrid seedlings for resistance to Phytophthora cinnamomi – USDA Forest Service RSC: Presented by Dr. Kathleen McKeever
Chestnut Chat 30: November 19, 2021 – Restoration of Pine Savannah Ecosystems
Topic: Don’t Let Perfection Be the Enemy of Good – Lessons from Longleaf Pine Savanna Restoration. Presenters Zach Prusak (Tall Timbers Research Station), Chris Matson (Florida Park Service), and Walt Thomson and Chaz Oliver (The Nature Conservancy) will look at the Longleaf Pine Savanna restoration process as an analogy for American chestnut restoration. While this is not an apples-to-apples comparison, the Chat will focus on how we can perceive this gigantic undertaking: Are there out-of-the-box perspectives that can be incorporated into the journey towards American chestnut restoration? What roadblocks and bottlenecks were encountered amidst Longleaf Pine Savanna restoration and how were those overcome?
Large Scale Ecosystem Restoration : Presented by Walt Thomson – Retired Guy
Chestnut Chat 29: October 15, 2021 – Genomic Selection
Topic: Genomic Sequencing 101 and the Genome of American Chestnut. People often ask, “Have you considered gene editing to enhance disease resistance in American chestnut?” For gene editing to become a possibility we need to know what to edit. TACF Director of Science Jared Westbrook discussed the foundational research being pursued to enable gene editing. Additionally, Nathan Cude, senior scientist at Novozymes North America and project leader in microbial discovery, covered the basics of DNA from its structure to its role in the cell to its sequencing and explains why genome sequences are so important to the modern biologist.
Chestnut Chat 27: August 20, 2021 – Participatory Chestnut Breeding
Topic: Ron Revord, assistant research professor, University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry, and Greg Miller, owner of Empire Chestnut Company, founder of Route 9 Cooperative, and prior board member of TACF, tackle what is involved in establishing a network to characterize genetic diversity and ancestry of on-farm germplasm.
Chestnut Chat 26: July 16, 2021 – Chestnut Chat, Emerging and Evolving Threats to Chestnut Health
Topic: Who has time to worry about blight? There are other issues impacting chestnut, including Gnomoniopsis and gall wasp. Emily Dobry, M.S. candidate in horticulture at Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, and Carol Mapes, a Biology Professor and former Chair of the Kutztown University Biology Department, will discuss these and other challenges we strive to tackle when working with chestnut.
Chestnut Chat 25: June 18, 2021 – Controlled Pollinations
Topic: Thomas Klak, ME-TACF Chapter Gene Conservation Committee Chair and Professor at University of New England, and Dakota Matthews, molecular lab manager with the American Chestnut Research and Restoration Project, present Controlled Pollinations: High Light and “Speed Breeding.”
- “Chestnuts and Light” article in TACF’s Journal from May-June 2021
- International Biochar Initiative: https://biochar-international.org
- Biochar shared documents: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1gjqi-scxabM0LZ9z9uVkkJgMyEzxDe5_
Chestnut Chat 24: May 21, 2021 – Site Selection and Planting American Chestnuts
Topic: TACF Director of Restoration Sara Fern Fitzsimmons will cover the basics of proper site selection, how to find the right spot for putting in a chestnut, as well as how to get them planted.
- Site Selection and Planting : Presented by Sara Fitzsimmons, Director of Restoration, TACF
- Fertilizing Woody Ornamentals, Kuhns 1987
- Chestnut Growers Website: https://ecosystems.psu.edu/research/chestnut
- Penn State Soil Analysis: https://agsci.psu.edu/aasl/soil-testing
- NRCS Web Soil Survey: http://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/app/HomePage.htm
- Official Soil Series Descriptions (OSD): https://soilseries.sc.egov.usda.gov/osdname.aspx
Chestnut Chat 23: April 16, 2021 – Cruddy Bark and the Complex World of Blight Cankers
Topic: Mark Double, WV-TACF chapter president and Laurel Rogers, honors program director and associate professor of biology at Shenandoah University discuss Cruddy Bark and the Complex World of Blight Cankers. Double discusses the blight fungus, how it spreads, canker formation, and spore production. Rogers focuses on identifying what beneficial fungi live under the healthy bark of different chestnut species prior to C. parasitica infection.
Chestnut Chat 22: March 19, 2021 – Exploring Big Questions for American Chestnut Restoration
Topic: Explore big questions, such as what makes a native plant native? Why is American chestnut restoration important? Who and what will benefit from the tree’s restoration? We will tackle all questions associated with American chestnut restoration, and other restoration projects. Staff, members, and volunteers often face these questions and, rather than a single answer, there is often a spectrum of possibilities.
Chestnut Chat 21: February 19, 2021 – Historic Importations and Chestnut Cultivars
Topic: Retired plant pathologist Sandra Anagnostakis covers the history of chestnut importation and cultivar development. Chestnut grower Michael Nave discusses the breeding and selection process of “big name” cultivars, which many people encounter when looking for commercially available chestnut varieties.
- Papers written for the public are posted on Sandy’s website, along with lists of CT plantings, a key for species identification, and pictures of the species for help in identification.
- Old and New Hybrids in CT Presented by: Sandy Anagnostakis
- 2020 Chestnut Cultivars Registry
- 2013 Chestnut Cultivars Registry
- Join Michael’s Facebook Group: Chestnuts as a tree crop – Castanea species nut trees
- Castanea Mollissima cultivar nuts photos : Presented by J. Michael Nave
- Castanea Sativa (and hybrids) nuts : Presented by J. Michael Nave
- Chestnut Cultivars Discussion: Presented by J. Michael Nave
Chestnut Chat 20: January 15, 2021 – Biocontrol: Chestnut Blight and Hypovirulence
Topic: Learn about the underlying biology of the blight fungus and what’s being done to make it sick using a virus. Amy Metheny of West Virginia University will give us a crash course on the causal organism of chestnut blight, Cryphonectria parasitica, as well as the phenomenon known as hypovirulence, wherein the fungus is infected by a virus.
Chestnut Chat 19: December 11, 2020 – Chestnut Science Town Hall
Topic: Our final Chestnut Chat of 2020 involves a town hall style panel of lead scientists from TACF and SUNY-ESF. Panelists includes TACF’s Jared Westbrook, Sara Fitzsimmons, Tom Saielli, Kendra Collins; and Andy Newhouse from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
- Harvesting, Handling and Storing Chestnuts fact sheet on TACF website: https://www.tacf.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/FactSheet_HARVEST_February2020_rev.pdf
- Harvesting and Storing Chestnuts, Chestnut, Fall 2018; pgs 29-30
- How Not To Kill a Chestnut, The Journal of The American Chestnut Foundation, March/April 2013; pgs 22-23
- Seed Stratification – Chestnut, Spring 2019; pgs 25-28
- Troubles with Weevils? The Journal of The American Chestnut Foundation, September 2010; pg 17
- How to deal with Ambrosia Beetles:
- Mud Packing:
- Links to papers addressing Propagating chestnut cuttings:
- Planting Manual:
- Northern Nut Growers Association:
Chestnut Chat 18: November 13, 2020 – Cloning and embryogenesis
Topic: Scott Merkle, Professor and Associate Dean for Research at the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, talks about the current status of research to develop scalable clonal propagation systems for American chestnut and hybrid chestnuts, including macro- and micropropagation systems.
Chestnut Chat 17: October 30, 2020 – Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) 101
Topic: Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) has become the go-to method for detecting genetic variation (heritability) that affects the variation we observe in traits within a species. David Kainer, staff scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, explains how GWAS works and how to make sense of the results.
Chestnut Chat 16: October 16, 2020 – Cooking with chestnuts
Topic: Cool autumn weather invites warm seasonal dishes. In this session about cooking with chestnuts, you’ll hear about everything from best roasting methods to making delicious savory and sweet recipes.
- Chestnut Recipes : Shared by GA-TACF Chapter President Kathy Patrick
- Chestnut Log Cake from TACF’s 2019 fall issue of Chestnut magazine
- Chestnut de Marrons (Chestnut Purée) from TACF’s 2020 fall issue of Chestnut magazine
PSA for HemlockFest 2020 (some proceeds benefit the GA-TACF Chapter)
- Harvesting, Handling and Storing Chestnuts fact sheet on TACF website
- Harvesting and Storing Chestnuts, Chestnut, Fall 2018; pgs 29-30
- How Not To Kill a Chestnut, The Journal of The American Chestnut Foundation, March/April 2013; pgs. 22-23
- Seed Stratification…, Chestnut, Spring 2019; pgs. 25-28
- Troubles with Weevils? The Journal of The American Chestnut Foundation, September 2010; pg 17
Chestnut Chat 8: June 26, 2020 – Drones
Topic: Using Drones to Benefit American Chestnut Restoration, featuring Alex Young of Dropcopter (a company that uses drones to pollinate crops), and TACF Chapter members Brian Clark and Clark Beebe who share their experiences using drones to locate and pollinate chestnut trees.
- Maine: https://mfst.acg.maine.edu/App/Dashboard?layout=1
- Click layer button in upper right-hand corner. Scroll down and check “American Chestnut Habitat Suitability”.
- For legend and data information, click “Data descriptions and legends” in upper left hand corner.
- PA, NJ, VA, WV, and OH: https://arcg.is/18Oemv
- Click blue button that says “Open in Map Viewer”
- Need to wait a good long while for it to load. It’s a really big file.
- If you get an orange button at the bottom (exclamation point in a triangle, refresh the page and see if it will load again).
- More to come in the future including the entire native range and Kentucky.