American Chestnut trees used make up twenty-five percent of the Appalachian forest. A blight, in the early 1900s changed that, and today they’re all but gone from the forests from Georgia to Maine.
But the tree left us a way to resurrect it from the dead, and with it, a kind of message: Only with the help of human beings will the towering Chestnuts return.
"I was raised here in the valley and when I started hunting, about 1960 or so there were still these old gray giant trunks standing in the woods," says Carl Absher a semi-retired forester from the Catawba Valley.
There are now more than 240 farmers' markets statewide, an increase of about 180% since 2006.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says if every household in the state spends ten-bucks a week on locally-grown food, it would mean a $1.6 billion dollar investment back into the economy.
You can find a list of farmers' markets across Virginia here.
There’s a big weekend ahead for those who love trees, with a Historic Tree symposium in Charlottesville, a lecture in Blacksburg, and an Old Growth Forest walk at Montpelier.
James Madison’s family thought nothing of clearing the woods around their plantation in 1723. In fact, most Americans viewed trees as an impediment to farming, but a convenient source of building materials and food. Later in life, Madison would come to regret that view. Horticulturist Sandy Mudrinich reads what he had to say on the subject.
A tiny, invasive bug is bringing down hemlock trees from Appalachia to southern Canada. And scientists fear another treasured native tree may be going the way of the American chestnut, forever changing forest ecosystems.
Researchers at Virginia Tech are hoping to beat the invaders at their own game. They’re using a new invasive species to keep an old one in check, and save the American hemlock tree.