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Native Plant Society to present ‘Chestnut Story’

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Cathy Mayes
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Ellis Squires

The Northern Neck (NN) Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society (VNPS) will celebrate spring’s late arrival this year with two activities to which the public is cordially invited. Cathy Mayes will present “The (Once and Future) Chestnut Story” at noon on Thursday, April 18, in the Wicomico Parish Church (Episcopal) Hall at Wicomico Church. Please bring a brown bag lunch. Tea/coffee and light refreshments will be available.

“Until about 100 years ago, the American chestnut was a dominant forest tree and an immensely valuable source of timber. It also provided food for wildlife, livestock and humans,” said NN chapter education co-chair Carol Hammer. “Thus the accidental introduction from Asia of the chestnut blight in the early 1900s was an immense ecological and commercial disaster.”

Mayes, who is the secretary of the American Chestnut Foundation, chairman of its Virginia Chapter, treasurer of the VNPS and president of the Old Rag Master Naturalists, has received many awards for her volunteer service activities. “Today volunteers like myself are working with scientists in a valiant effort to create disease resistant tree strains,” he said. “I will describe the devastating impacts of the chestnut blight in Virginia and explain the current status of this restoration research.”

Weather permitting, two days later on Saturday, April 20, from 10 a.m.-noon, the chapter’s annual “Spring Ephemerals” walk will take place at Hickory Hollow Natural Area Preserve in Lancaster County. Master Naturalist Ellis Squires will speak briefly about orchids and lead the group on one of the many trails that are available for botanizing. 

Hickory Hollow is just southeast of Lancaster Court House, about 0.3 mile north of Rt. 3 on Regina Rd. (Rt. 604). If “weather permitting” information is needed, call Boundy at 436-4944 before 9 a.m. on April 20. Bring water, a camera or binoculars if desired.

posted 04.11.2013

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