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Conservation students help bring back the American chestnut tree to WNY

Fri, Jun 3rd 2016 10:30 am

Students in Paul Dewey's and Brandon Lindke's Orleans/Niagara BOCES Conservation Program received 20 American chestnut tree seedlings, donated by the Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs, to be planted at their school. 

The trees are native to Western New York, but due to blight in the early 1900s, they were wiped out. Now, there is a club dedicated to bringing the trees back, said Mike Johannes, a delegate to the Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs and the superintendent of buildings and grounds at Orleans/Niagara BOCES.

"They are doing that by getting these seedlings out to different clubs and organizations," Johannes said. "They are hoping to get a thriving population of these trees going again. They used to be the most popular hardwood in the Northeast. Most of the old barns in this area were built out of this wood."

Niagara Career and Technical Education Center students and faculty prepare to plant American chestnut trees. From left: Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds Mike Johannes, Conner Daly of Lewiston-Porter, Russell Tantillo of Niagara Falls, Tomi Jackman of Niagara Falls, Jake Lucas of Starpoint, Hunter Kroening of Starpoint and conservation program educator Paul Dewey.

 

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