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Leader in American Chestnut Restoration To Receive ESF’s Feinstone Award

Herbert F. Darling Jr. dedicates time to restoring majestic tree to American landscape
9/30/2015

Herbert L. Darling Jr. and an image of his character, "Charlie Chestnut"

The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) will present the 2015 Sol Feinstone Environmental Award to Herbert F. Darling Jr., celebrating his leadership and outstanding efforts toward restoring the American chestnut tree.

Darling is a leading voice in the restoration of the American chestnut tree in the eastern forests of the United States. He is a 1955 graduate of Dartmouth College and was president of his family's construction company, Herbert F. Darling, Inc., of Williamsville, New York, until he retired in 2003. He has received many awards from organizations in Western New York for his volunteer work and environmental efforts.

Darling, a resident of Buffalo, New York, has a lifelong passion for outdoor conservation. He has served on the board of directors of several organizations in Western New York, including the New York State Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation, of which he was co-founder and chairman emeritus. It was the organization's first state chapter. He has served as chairman for several organizations, including the Board of the Buffalo Museum of Natural Sciences and Tifft Nature Preserve in Buffalo, which he helped establish.

Darling has spent the last 25 years supporting the work of ESF researchers who have developed a blight-resistant American chestnut tree. Because of his efforts, the New York State Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation supported the use of biotechnology in restoration efforts. That support was instrumental in the development of the blight-resistant tree by an ESF team led by Dr. Charles Maynard and Dr. William Powell. Those trees are now being grown at ESF and will undergo a rigorous approval process before they can be distributed for planting.

The American chestnut tree reflects both our ecological and cultural heritage. ESF honors Darling for his continuing dedication to restoring this keystone species to our landscape.

The annual Feinstone awards dinner will take place Oct. 15 at the Gateway Center on the ESF campus, Syracuse.

The Feinstone program has made more than 100 awards, honoring individuals from across the United States for their significant contributions to protecting the environment, promoting the wise use and management of our country's natural resources, and promoting the spirit of volunteerism.

Sol Feinstone, a widely known historian and author who was a 1915 graduate of ESF, established the Feinstone awards program in 1976. His goal was to reward people and organizations that exemplified his belief that the best insurance for a free society lay in people's desire and ability to do voluntarily the things that need to be done for the good of all.