“Under the spreading chestnut tree, the village smithy stands….” So goes Longfellow’s poem about this towering giant that was lauded as the Sequoia of the East, until it was virtually wiped out by an Asian fungus that was introduced here about 1900. For the past fifty years, molecular biologists with The American Chestnut Foundation have been working on a restoration program to save the species from extinction through the miracle of genetic engineering. Webster Groves Rotarian John Dougherty has been one of these dedicated scientists for two decades, and he has been keeping us up to date with the latest news on the development of a blight-tolerant strain. Earlier this month, we learned this Herculean effort has just one more hurdle to cross: the final phase for Federal approval, which involves public comments and endorsements. Time is of the essence, since the window for comments closes on December 27.
Please click here https://www.esf.edu/chestnut/regulatory.htm and look for the official "NOTICE" to read more about it and to click on the blue "Comment" button to post your support. You can also check out the American Chestnut Foundation website to read more about this remarkable scientific endeavor: http://www.acf.org/