The American Chestnut Foundation

Asheville, NC   |  http://www.acf.org

Mission

The American Chestnut Foundation's mission is to restore the iconic American chestnut to its native range.

Ruling year info

1984

Principal Officer

Lisa Thomson

Vice President of Operations

Betsy Gamber

Main address

50 North Merrimon Avenue, Suite 115

Asheville, NC 28804 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

41-1483019

NTEE code info

Forest Conservation (C36)

Biological, Life Science Research includes Marine Biology, Physiology, Biochemistry, Genetics, Biotechnology, etc.) (U50)

Wildlife Preservation/Protection (D30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The American chestnut tree (Castanea dentata) is a large, monoecious deciduous tree of the beech family native to eastern North America. Before the species was devastated by the chestnut blight, a fungal disease, it was one of the most important forest trees throughout its range, and it was considered the finest chestnut tree in the world.

The American chestnut was an essential component of the eastern U.S. forest ecosystem. These “Mighty Giants" stood up to 100 feet tall and numbered in the billions. As a late flowering, reliable, and extremely productive tree, the American chestnut was unaffected by seasonal frosts, making it the single most important food source for a wide variety of wildlife.

Rural communities depended upon the tree's annual nut harvest as a cash crop to feed livestock. The chestnut lumber industry was a major sector of rural economies.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

American chestnut restoration

Our work is located in the heart of the native range of the American chestnut. At our research farms in southwestern Virginia, the American Chestnut Foundation employs the backcross method of plant breeding to transfer the blight resistance of the Chinese chestnut to the American chestnut. This method entails first crossing the two species, then backcrossing repeatedly to American chestnut. Each backcross reduces the Chinese parentage by a factor of one-half. After three backcrosses, the progeny average fifteen-sixteenths (92%) American and one-sixteenth Chinese. The growth characteristics of the American chestnut are recovered automatically as Chinese traits are diluted by backcrossing, except for blight resistance, which is retained by using only blight-resistance trees for further crossing. Currently, TACF is expanding the regional diversity aspect of its breeding program. Native trees are being sought throughout the trees former range. These trees are then being incorporated into the extensive breeding program now under way. It is hoped that in this way, greater genetic diversity will be incorporated into the resulting blight resistant trees. TACF currently has 6,000 members in forty-seven states and fifteen state chapters. Many of these members are involved as volunteers in our breeding and research activities. Members receive the foundation's science journal, The Journal of the American Chestnut Foundation and the quarterly newsletter, The Bark. The American Chestnut Foundation is working on a number of research initiatives in conjunction with other organizations. A partial list of official cooperators includes North Carolina State University, Penn State University, US Forest Service, the Department of the Interior Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative, and The National Wild Turkey Federation.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

To restore the iconic American chestnut tree to its native range.

We seek forest restoration of the American chestnut tree through continued research, integrating three major research tracks including breeding, bio-control and biotechnology. Each of these approaches holds keys to the future of the species' recovery, and TACF is committed to scientific collaboration and ecological restoration of the American chestnut at scale.

Our extensive breeding program is supported by 16 Chapters in 22 states and our research farm in Meadowview, Virginia. With public support, we have been able to collaborate with research institutions to diversify the methods used to restore the iconic American chestnut tree. We also offer a small grants program to address specific issues related to restoration.

Forest restoration is a specialized form of reforestation, but it differs from conventional tree plantations in that its primary goals are biodiversity recovery and environmental protection. This makes restoration of the American chestnut a long-term commitment. It is, quite simply, an investment in the future. The specialized work we do also provides opportunities to assist with other endangered species. Our ultimate goal is to create a template for the restoration of other tree and plant species throughout the world. Our current focus is genomic selection, small stem assays and breeding for blight and Phytophthora root rot resistance.

Financials

The American Chestnut Foundation
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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The American Chestnut Foundation

Board of directors
as of 11/03/2017
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Michael Doochin

William Lord

No Affiliation

Donald Willeke

Willeke & Daniels

Kim Steiner

Pennsylvania State University

Essie Burnworth

No affiliation

Richard Will

Citibank

Philip Rutter

No affiliation

Peter Raven

Missouri Botanical Garden

James Mills

Olan Mills

William MacDonald

West Virginia University

Scott Freidhof

KY Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

Hill Craddock

University of TN, Chattanooga

Richard Jaynes

Broken Arrow Nursery

James Carter

The Carter Center

Glen Rea

Means Investments

Albert Ellingboe

University of Wisconsin, Madison

Bruce Wakeland

Wakeland Forestry Consultants

Michael Hinson

no affiliation

William Adamsen

No affiliation

Stephen Barilovits

no affiliation

Lawrence Brasher

Birmingham Southern College

Herbert Darling

Darling Construction

Norman Borlaug

Texas A&M University

Bradford Stanback

no affiliation

Paul Marsh

no affiliation

Mary Belle Price

no affiliation

Greg Weaver

no affiliation

Rufin Van Bossuyt

no affiliation

Paul Sisco

no affilation

Tim Phelps

TN Forestry

Anne Myers

no affiliation

Brian McCarthy

Ohio University

Rex Mann

no affiliation

Catherine Mayes

no affiliation

Grace Knight

no affiliation

Joseph James

no affiliation

Hugh Irwin

Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition

Jamie Donalds

no affiliation

R. Alex Day

no affiliation

Gary Carver

no affiliation

Bryan Burhans

TACF

Carolyn Hill

no affiliation