By Leila Pinchot
On Tuesday, May 29th the Connecticut Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation, in collaboration with Great Mountain Forest Inc. and the Housatonic Valley Regional High School, planted the last chestnut orchard of the season. Sixteen students from the high school worked with about fifteen
other volunteers to plant 118 chestnuts at the new Great Mountain Forest Orchard, located on Under Mountain Road in Falls Village. Before the planting began, students were reminded that their generation will be the one to see American chestnut reclaim the Connecticut landscape, and therefore,
that their involvement in this project is integral.
This is not the first chestnut orchard to be planted at Great Mountain Forest. In 1947 The US Department of Agriculture together with Dr. Arthur Graves, of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the Yale School of Forestry, established a chestnut hybrid orchard on the property. The orchard was monitored for several decades, but was eventually abandoned as it became clear that none of the trees could successfully fight off the blight.
The new Great Mountain Forest chestnut orchard will see a better fate, as some of the trees confer partial resistance, and will be used for the next step in the breeding program. Thank you to everybody who came out and helped ? it was a wonderful event!
Dan Hayhurst of Chubby Bunny farms rototilled the rows giving the orchard a truly professional appearance. Photographer Leila Pinchot [click on photo to see larger version]
Students from the Housatonic Valley Regional High School used bamboo stakes to set protective tree tubes around each nut. Photographer Leila Pinchot [click on photo to see larger version]
Great Mountain rises in back of the newly planted orchard. With a great team of dedicated and knowledgeable volunteers, the whole planting came together in an amazingly short time. Photographer Leila Pinchot [click on photo to see larger version]
Students and Teachers from the Housatonic Valley Regional High School pose following the successful completion of the days planting. Photographer Leila Pinchot [click on photo to see larger version]