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~Henry Steel Commager
Chief Taughannock Chapter Plans 250 Chestnut Trees for 250 Years
January, 2023, The Finger Lakes Region, NY: Three months from now on April 28th, the Chief Taughannock Chapter of the NSDAR (National Society Daughters of the American Revolution or DAR) plans to plant the first of 250 American chestnut trees in celebration of National Arbor Day. Three years from now, the Chapter is hoping to see the first fruits of their labor in celebration of the United States of America’s semiquincentennial.
President George Washington planted 13 chestnut trees in Fredericksburg, VA, one for each of the 13 colonies. Although he planted horse chestnuts, a different species from the American chestnut tree and one not nearly as tasty nor at all good for you (in fact, they’re poisonous!), his outlasted the vast majority of American chestnut trees which succumbed to a deadly blight at the turn of the 20th century. Fortunately, as with the great American Experiment, research and trial triumphed. In 2005, The American Chestnut Foundation harvested their first potentially blight-resistant chestnuts and now 18 years later, the tree is positively on its way back towards being reintroduced to native ranges in the Appalachian hardwood forest ecosystem.
The local DAR chapter, with members primarily residing in Tompkins, Schuyler and Seneca Counties, is planning to plant, map and nurture the 250 bare-root backcross seedlings, a gift from The American Chestnut Foundation’s research farms in Meadowview, VA. “We are hoping to find homes where the trees are easy to spot and check in on from time to time,” said Chief Taughannock Chapter regent, Megan Mullins. "Locations where they can be publicly accessed, treasured and tasted by the masses are preferred as they really are a gift for all of us to share.” The DAR Chapter created this program in an effort to honor America's past and in a small way, provide for its future while celebrating the Nation’s 250th anniversary.
The DAR has a robust committee structure in place which also honors and educates members and the public on Native American history where the chestnut also played an important role, especially in the food supply of woodland tribes. “This is a story for all of the people on this land and it’s important that we recognize that,” said Mullins. In this local region, it has been said that Haudenosaunee people collected the nuts and converted them into a paste, or dried them and ground them into flour. They also used the sawtoothed leaves as medicine.
The Chief Taughannock Chapter is working with members of the State’s Department of Environmental Conservation as well as with nearby state parks, the Cornell Cooperative Extension, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and various municipalities. Still, they are happy to take requests from individuals interested in this program. Fortunately, there’s time. “We’re so grateful that Cummins Nursery in Ithaca, NY has generously offered to provide safe shelter for the bare-root seedlings while we work to identify permanent homes,” said Mullins. “We believe they’ll all find good homes and with a little luck and a lot of time, they’ll still be flourishing when America reaches its quincentenary.”
The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) is a women’s service organization whose members can trace their lineage to an individual who contributed to securing American independence during the Revolutionary War. Today’s DAR is dynamic and diverse, with over 185,000 members in 3,000 chapters in the United States and abroad. DAR members annually provide millions of hours of volunteer service to their local communities across the country and world. DAR chapters participate in projects to promote historic preservation, education, and patriotism. Over one million members have joined the organization since its founding in 1890.
If you are interested in learning more about DAR membership, or identifying a location for a tree, visit the contact page on www.chieftaughannockchapter.com.
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The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution was founded in 1890 to preserve the memory and spirit of those who contributed to securing American independence. For more than 130 years, the DAR has strived to bring awareness to the honorable sacrifices and enduring legacy of all patriots who fought for America’s freedom. Through the DAR Genealogical Research System (www.dar.org/GRS), the public can access a free database of information amassed by the DAR about these patriots. DAR is a nonprofit, nonpolitical women’s service organization with more than 185,000 members in approximately 3,000 chapters worldwide. Any woman 18 years or older, regardless of race, religion, or ethnic background, who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution is eligible for membership. DAR members passionately carry out the timeless mission of promoting historic preservation, education and patriotism. To learn more about the work of today’s DAR, visit www.dar.org.
Constitution Week 2021 Collaboration (September, 2021) The Chief Taughannock Chapter, NSDAR teamed up with the Ninian Chamberlain Society, NSCAR, The History Center in Tompkins County, NY, and Perry Ground, Turtle Clan member of the Onondaga Nation to share The Haudenosaunee Influences on America's Democracy.
Originally a 7-day mini series, the full 10-minute film features NSCAR members learning and sharing more about the beginnings of America's democracy, particularly as it is captured in the Constitution and as it was influenced by the Haudenosaunee. This film was co-directed by Ninian Chamberlain Society member, Knox Travis.
Contact the Chief Taughannock Chapter, NSDAR,Chapter Regent, or Webmaster. Last updated on: 08/25/2022 The content contained herein does not necessarily represent the position of the NSDAR. Hyperlinks to other sites are not the responsibility of the NSDAR, the state organizations, or individual DAR chapters.