Joining TACF back in 2005 I brought with me little more than a passion for the idea of restoring the American chestnut to the landscape. I had grown up visiting my Grandmother's log cabin built of chestnut and those wonderful memories had inspired me to learn more. Like so many things in life, the more we learn, the more we know there is to learn. But I do feel as though we learned enough to successfully design the vision and strategy for how the CT Chapter of TACF could play a role in participating in the restoration of the species.
As President for the past seven years I feel fortunate to have participated in the revival of the chapter. Members from across the state planned and built seven orchards that are participating in the TACF backcross breeding program. With great effort, we found and pollinated twenty-four native Connecticut American chestnut, and planted the nuts produced – almost four thousand in total – in those backcross orchards. It was and remains a huge effort of which everyone associated with the Chapter should be enormously proud. I encourage you to find out where those orchards are located, who manages them, and arrange a visit.
We've completed the first phase (back-cross pollination and breeding) of the Chapters long-term plan which provides the foundation to define and implement the next phase – seed orchards. This is a particularly important time since the seed orchards will produce the seed for American chestnut forest restoration. It seems an appropriate time for me to step away and give others the opportunity to define and implement that approach. As I transition from the President role, I know the chapter is in good hands. The Board of Directors is as strong a Board as has ever been assembled, and the collective knowledge, skills, and vision are truly impressive. The Treasury and financial landscape are sound. This should make it easy for those who follow to plan and execute their vision. I expect to remain active with the chapter and hope to one day see chestnut trees thrive in natural competition in the landscape.
Gratitude – there are so many to thank for their support and interest. Through shows, speaking engagements, plantings, meetings, I've had the opportunity to meet, talk and work with thousands of people with respect to the American chestnut. I remember every conversation, every idea, every pledge of support, and I thank you for your support and continuing support, and I look forward to seeing you at the annual meeting!
[click for larger photo]
Outgoing President Bill Adamsen