American Chestnut Seed Orchard Community Science Project

American Chestnut

The American chestnut is a large, monoecious deciduous tree of the beech family native to eastern North America. Before the species was devastated by the chestnut blight, a fungal disease, it was one of the most important forest trees throughout its range, and was considered the finest chestnut tree in the world.

The Forest Society partnered with the American Chestnut Foundation to start an American Chestnut Seed Orchard in 2019. This is an effort to help develop a chestnut blight-resistant variety of American Chestnut, so that these majestic trees can be re-introduced into the forests of southern NH. The orchard is located at the Tom Rush Forest in Deering, NH, and will eventually have as many as 3,000 chestnut trees covering an acre of old field. 

Chestnut orchard volunteers may help with ongoing innoculation events, data collection, and with routine care of the orchard (monthly check-ins where watering, mowing, weeding and infrastructure maintenance may be required). Come and learn about this beautiful tree and be a part of the restoration effort!

Skills/Qualifications: Interest the American Chestnut Foundation's mission to restore the American Chestnut to northeastern forests. Ability to help with orchard care (planting, watering, weeding, mowing, maintaining rodent guards and fencing, etc.), either in group workdays or shorter routine visits. Routine maintenance volunteers should live within a reasonable driving distance of Deering, NH.  

Location: Tom Rush Forest, Deering NH. 

Commitment/Hours: Variable.  There will be larger group workdays with this effort ( innoculating chestnut trees, weeding) as well as routine monitoring and maintenance check-in visits for local volunteers. 

Please contact Carrie Deegan at or 545-2992 with questions and/or interest in helping in some capacity in this citizen science project!