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Arbor Day Chestnut Tree Planting
Friday, April 26, 2013
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Gateway Center (west side of building)
The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) will mark Arbor Day, April 26, by planting three transgenic American chestnut Trees next to the college's new Gateway Center during a ceremony at noon.
American chestnut trees were a major part of the forest ecosystem in the Northeastern United States until the start of the 20th century when they were attacked by a blight that wiped out over 4 billion chestnut trees.
Over the past two decades, Dr. William Powell and Dr. Chuck Maynard along with their graduate students, technicians and colleagues have developed and field-tested a wide variety of transgenic American chestnut trees in an effort to enhance blight resistance. They have collaborated with the New York chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation. Three of the first line of trees that had demonstrated enhanced levels of blight resistance date will be planted in Friday's ceremonies. Similar trees have been planted all over the northeast in test plots, including the Botanical Gardens in New York City.
Powell said, "The 'Darling 4' American chestnut tree variety is the first to show the same enhanced blight resistance approaching the level of the Chinese chestnut and we have even better trees that are moving out of the lab and into field trials this spring."
"In fact, we are very close to starting the next phase of our American Chestnut project, petitioning for non-regulated status that will allow us to begin reforestation of the American Chestnut, first in New York and then across the entire natural range," he added.
President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed the first nationwide Arbor Day observance in 1907.
"But Arbor Day has its roots back in 1872 with a celebration organized by Julius Sterling Morton to mark the planting of more than a million trees in Nebraska," said Maynard, a native of the bordering state of Iowa who noted, "That day Nebraskans more than quadrupled the forest area in their state."