The Pennsylvania Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation (PA-TACF) held their annual fall meeting at Tyler Arboretum on Saturday, November 2. If you have been following this blog, then you have seen my previous posts on the Chestnut Nursery program that Tyler participates in with The American Chestnut Foundation – all managed by the amazing volunteers that donate their time to Tyler!
The meeting began with some announcements by the chapter president, and then the morning continued with two talks on “A Sense of Place – Northern Research Station of the USDA Forest Service” and “Are Deer Facilitating Plant Invasions?” After some general membership announcements and lunch, the talks continued with “USDA-ARS Research Update on Renewable Fuels from Agricultural Feedstocks and Forestry Feedstocks…” and the final talk by… yours truly! I was asked to give a talk that served as an overview of Tyler Arboretum (what I titled “The Tyler Experience”). After my talk, the meeting adjourned to going over and visiting Tyler Chestnut Nursery and/or going on an exploration of Tyler’s sites and trails. The full agenda can be viewed online.
The meeting was held in The Barn and had over 50 people in attendance. I sat in the back row and saw an audience very engaged and passionate about not only their work restoring the American chestnut, but also very interested in learning about the related topics shared by the speakers.
As my academic training is mostly in the physical sciences and not as deep in the natural sciences, I learned quite a bit at this meeting! I’ve had an introduction to the chestnut work through my own reading and volunteering with Tyler, but this conference was very helpful in framing the “big picture” of the ecosystem and related fields. I was also interested to see the PA Chapter was selling Biltmore Sticks, a measurement tool I had read about but had never seen before (learn more online and in this video about this field tool).
There was also a mention during the General Membership Announcements section about the need to do even more outreach, and the chapter had this very nice display set up that was geared to teach younger kids about the American chestnut. I agree that each one of us has the opportunity to “get the word out,” whether it be through public talks or using social media (you can “like” the PA-TACF Facebook page) – or, by blogging (like I do!).
Overall, I was honored to be able to share the mission of Tyler with this group, as well as provide a peak in to the history, nature, and education mission of the Arboretum. And I even learned some new items along the way – the USDA Forest Service is doing science to keep “forests in forestry,” deer population management will help in managing plant invasions, and there is much research being done (and that continues to be worked on) relating to biofuels.
This is one of many, many events I know where Tyler serves as a host for outside organizations to have meetings, receptions, etc. For the PA Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation, I can’t think of a more perfect setting they could have selected for their meeting!