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Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station [Rutgers Environmental Stewards]

Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation

Host Agency Info: The Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation (PA-TACF)
Address: The Pennsylvania State University, 206 Forest Resources Laboratory, University Park , PA 16802
Phone: 814-863-7192
Supervisor Name: Sara Fitzsimmons
E-mail of supervisor: sff3@psu.edu
Nature of Host Agency (circle): Non-profit
Project Description: The mission of The American Chestnut Foundation is to restore the American chestnut (Castanea dentata) tree to its original range. Through a largely volunteer driven breeding program, PA-TACF is following an established tree breeding program methodology to try and incorporate disease resistance into what is left of the largely vanished species.
The American Chestnut Foundation has chapters in almost all states within the original range of the American chestnut, but not one in New Jersey. The Pennsylvania Chapter has existed now for over 10 years and has been helping to nurture a new potential chapter in the Garden State. At present, it looks like there are many excited volunteers. Several plantings are in the ground and volunteer events have taken place, but there is a real need for help in organizing and focusing volunteer efforts to fashion an official New Jersey Chapter.

PA-TACF hopes to advance on several objectives during the intern’s tenure:

  • Develop working list of New Jersey volunteers; work with PSU Partnership office and current NJ volunteer coordinator to establish efficient methods of volunteer coordination
  • Create working list of media and possible partnering organizations in New Jersey. As time and interest permit, work with PSU Partnership Office to make connect with those contacts on the list.
  • Work with current volunteers to
    • establish administrative presence toward the end of creating an official Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF)
    • establish communication with national organization (TACF) to accumulate and organize necessary paperwork and information toward the end of creating said official Chapter.
  • Evaluate status of currently established orchards:
    • make contact with growers to identify needs
    • if possible, and time permitting, discover ways to meet grower resource needs (i.e. grants, donations, etc.)
      Nature of anticipated impact (circle all that apply): Environmental

Evaluation Plan: The intern will be evaluated on the steps taken toward formulating an official Chapter within the state of New Jersey. It will be expected that a minimum of accomplishments could be measured in the following physical manifestations

  • A list of partners, as in 1 above
  • A list of contacts, as in 2 above
  • A binder, both in electronic and paper form, of documents necessary to create a Chapter along with an outline of necessary action items and associated “helpful hints” that can assist a young Chapter Board with the formulation of a new organization and
  • Short reports on orchard status, as possible

Learning Objectives in plan:

The learning objectives of this project would be to

  • Gain hands-on experience with volunteer coordination and non-profit administration
  • Examine the relationships between professional and citizen science and in-the-field application of scientific thought
  • Increase knowledge of many varied facets and subjects required with a large, applied tree breeding project.
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