American Chestnut Foundation

The American Chestnut Foundation was founded in 1983 by a group of prominent plant scientists who recognized the severe impact the demise of the American chestnut tree imposed upon the local economy of rural communities, and upon the ecology of forests within the tree’s native range. The American chestnut tree reigned over 200 million acres of eastern woodlands from Maine to Florida, and from the Piedmont west to the Ohio Valley, until succumbing to a lethal fungus infestation, known as the chestnut blight, during the first half of the 20th century. An estimated 4 billion American chestnuts, 1/4 of the hardwood tree population, grew within this range.

As a pro bono project, Joseph was asked to help build the American Chestnut Foundation: Virginia and Pennsylvania Chapter websites, take photographs of chestnut orchards, and assist administrators and authors with composing, publishing, and distributing content.

Additionally, Joseph and a dozen other volunteers planted 100 chestnut trees on private family land in Culpeper, Virginia. The goal of this is to develop blight-resistant American chestnut trees, via backcross method of breeding, for the restoration of locally adapted breeding populations of the species in the forests of the mid-Atlantic.