Chestnut Club: A Chance for Chestnut Trees


Ms. Daley

In junior high, students often study the American chestnut tree and the disastrous blight that had made the “Redwood of the East” functionally extinct. When local towns were hit by a tornado in 2011, the over brush was ripped away, and chestnut roots that had survived for decades began to sprout in nearby forests. However, chestnut trees hit by this insidious and still existent blight won’t live past maturity. Due to this, the Chestnut Club was formed in order to study the re-emergence of chestnut trees and research ways to introduce a hybrid, blight-resistant tree for the future. 

Club activities at the senior high include spreading the story of the chestnut tree and establishing a blight-resistant tree that can survive in New England’s climate. Across the street at the Tantasqua Regional Junior High School, there is a  research orchard where planting, cultivating, and researching our carefully cross-bred trees takes place. Although it can take decades for a chestnut tree to reach its majesty, these trees will at least be given that opportunity. 

The Chestnut Club and their successes wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication and optimism of Tantasqua students. Students who, when faced with a problem, stepped up to fix it. Chestnut Club is made up of kids who consistently say, “I can and I will make a change.”  Teenagers face weighty issues both now and in the near future, especially in regards to climate change and the environment. The Chestnut Club is a fantastic example of the kind of attitude and action it takes to allow the undoing of past human error.

If interested, you can read the student-authored book about the Chestnut’s Story at the Monson Free Library, and we are always open to volunteers. You can email [email protected] for more information, or visit the club website linked below: