A Big Thank You for Chestnut Planting Help in Guilford and Middletown

On Saturday, May 1, 2010 dozens of hardy volunteers battled near-record heat to plant two American chestnut breeding orchards with the Connecticut Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation® (CT-TACF®). Volunteers included CT-TACF Board members, Forestry and Conservation Commission members, high school students, Cub Scouts and many others. Planting would not have been successful without so many willing hands (and backs!) pitching in to plant close to 500 chestnuts. A big Thank You goes out to everyone for their efforts! Steve and Eric VanDerMaelen planting back-cross chestnuts at Guilford Orchard
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The CT-TACF Guilford orchard, located at Nut Plains Park, had a tall order of close to 300 nuts to plant. This was the third year of planting in Guilford and experience certainly helped get the job done in short order. CT-TACF Board member, Guilford Conservation Commission member and orchard manager, Jennifer Allcock, worked with a dedicated group to get much of the prep work done before the planting crew arrived on Saturday. Bishop's Orchards plowed the new planting rows and a small group of volunteers worked to loosen soil at planting spaces, lay out materials and mark each space.

A planting crew of Cub Scout Troop #472, led by Steve VanDerMaelen, Guilford Conservation Commission members and CT Master Gardeners made quick work of the 300-nut planting, finishing up by lunch time. A special thank you goes out to Dr. Phil Arnold, CT-TACF Secretary and manager of the Chapter's Woodbridge orchard, for lending a hand and his planting experience.

Read more about the CT-TACF Guilford orchard.

Master Gardeners Planting at the Guilford Orchard
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CT-TACF also saw the installation of a new breeding orchard in Middletown, located near Higby Reservoir. Arborist, CT-TACF Board member and orchard manager Jane Harris rounded up an impressive crew of volunteers for Saturday's planting. Volunteers from the Middletown Garden Club, Middletown Urban Forestry Commission, Mercy High School, Allan's Tree Service and the Alternative Incarceration Center all helped to get a lot of work done on an unseasonably warm day. CT-TACF orchard manager Richard Bailey, who manages the Chapter's Swann Farm orchard in Ellington, brought his experience to planting day, as well some extra supplies. Richard showed up early, stayed to the very end and was a big help to the newer planting crew. His father was the former caretaker of Higby Reservoir and he grew up on the property, passing the now-orchard site on his daily walk to school. Seeing an American chestnut orchard installed near his childhood home was not something he wanted to miss and all were glad to have his assistance and experience close at hand. By 1:00 the heat did get the better of most of the planting crew and Jane worked with a few dedicated helpers to finish the planting in the cooler hours of Sunday morning.

Read more about the CT-TACF Middletown orchard.

Planting at the Middletown Orchard at Higby Reservoir
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None of Saturday's planting would have happened without the support of CT-TACF and a lot of planning and organizing by orchard managers Jennifer Allcock and Jane Harris. The planning of nut distribution, orchard layout, and advice provided by TACF Science Coordinator Kendra Gurney for both orchards was invaluable. CT-TACF is grateful to Jennifer, Jane, Kendra and the rest of Saturday's volunteers for their hard work and is happy to check two successful planting days off this season's list of field days. Planting at the Middletown Orchard at Higby Reservoir
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Bill Adamsen

Bill Adamsen

Bill Adamsen is a member of the CT Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) Board of Directors. He served as Chapter President for eight years.

Bill Adamsen

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