Chestnut Educational Opportunities for Youth

The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) is committed to providing educational opportunities to our nation’s youth. Younger generations have heard stories about the chestnut tree from their parents and grandparents. Some even live on “Chestnut Street,” but if asked about the relevance of the American chestnut tree, the vast majority would have no concept of the impact the loss of the tree had on our social and economic lives.

Teacher Resources

Charlie Chestnut Curriculum (grades 6-8) — Pennsylvania State and New York State.

From the Woods American Chestnut — A 4-page, full-color publication that tells the history of American chestnut, the blight that wiped it out, and research on blight-resistant chestnut trees. It is part of an educational series for youth (2004).

US Forest Service — Compass Magazine, Issue 1 — A great resource for classroom use with good photos and basic information along with an introduction to some advanced scientific work.

The Legend of the American Chestnut Tree — Kirby and Nicole, students of Poolesville High School Class of 2013, in Poolesville, MD wrote this children’s book as part of their senior project for the Global Ecology Science Program. They hope to inform young readers on the importance of the environment, specifically the restoration of the American chestnut.

Project Learning Tree — Project Learning Tree is an award-winning environmental education program designed for teachers and other educators, parents, and community leaders working with youth from preschool through grade 12. Learning Tree materials are aligned with individual state and national education standards.

Teaching with i-Tree — Includes three hands-on activities that help grades 6-8 discover and analyze the many ecosystem services that trees provide. Students input data they collect into a free online tool that calculates the dollar value of the benefits provided by a tree, or a set of trees.

eePro Resources — Need a lesson plan for your classroom, a journal article for a writing assignment, or a how-to video for a project? Tap into the North American Association of Environmental Educators resource bank!

Tree Benefit Calculator — The calculator allows anyone to make a simple estimation of the benefits individual street-side trees provide. This tool is based on i-Tree’s street tree assessment tool called STREETS. With inputs of location, species and tree size, users will get an understanding of the environmental and economic value trees provide on an annual basis.

Prekinders Forest Theme Activities — Trees, leaves, and forest animals theme activities, lessons, and printables for pre-k, preschool, and kindergarten. Examples include: Parts of a Tree Picture Word Cards, Leaf Science, Oak Tree Life Cycle, and Nut Sorting

Virtual Learning Journey Georgia Forests — Take grades 3-5 on an interactive journey through the working forests of Georgia to learn about forest ecosystems, food webs, and life cycles, as well as forestry management processes, career opportunities, and much more. Key concepts are presented through text, images, videos, 360º tours, and interactive elements. Alignment to Georgia education standards.

Genome Educational Materials — These educational resources from National Human Genome Research Institute are intended to spark scientific curiosity, improve genomic literacy and foster engagement among learners. Example include: fact sheets, glossary of terms, and teaching tools

Books for Purchase Externally

Champion: The Comeback Tale of the American Chestnut Tree — Narrative nonfiction master Sally M. Walker tells a tale of loss, restoration, and the triumph of human ingenuity in this beautifully photographed grades 6-8 book.

American Chestnut: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Perfect Tree — Susan Freinkel tells the dramatic story of the stubborn optimists who refused to let this cultural icon go. In a compelling weave of history, science, and personal observation, she relates their quest to save the tree through methods that ranged from classical plant breeding to cutting-edge gene technology.

The American Chestnut Learning Box

learning-box-sm-croppedPlease note: The American Chestnut Learning Box program is currently being redeveloped.

Check back with us on the relaunch of the updated product. It is an educational tool developed by TACF volunteers that brings the story of the American chestnut to classrooms, nature centers, and civic groups in a tangible, thought-provoking way.

The American Chestnut Learning Box includes:

  • nuts, burs, and leaves from American and Chinese chestnut trees
  • a chestnut “tree cookie” (tree ring slice)
  • five different types of wood blocks
  • chestnut tree sections showing inoculation sites and chestnut blight
  • binder with explanatory fact sheets for each sample and learning materials