Wedding – American Chestnut

November 22, 2010 at 5:00 am 4 comments

In 2008, I visited one of the research farms of The American Chestnut Foundation and learned about their backcross breeding effort to restore the American chestnut. It’s hard work! Innoculating trees, evaluating blight resistance, pollen collection, flower bagging, meticulous hand pollinations and fall harvests of the spikey burs. After 25 years, all that effort produced the B3F3 generation. Dubbed the “Restoration chestnut”, the trees are 15/16th American and potentially blight resistant. But keep in mind– blight resistance isn’t enough for the trees to rebound in the wild. There’s a very good reason why we couldn’t just throw some Chinese chestnuts in the Appalachians and wish them well. Chinese chestnuts don’t grow fast or tall enough to compete with the likes of tulip poplars and other forest trees. To be successful, the trees would need American growth characterstics with the Chinese blight resistance.

Does the B3F3 generation have what it takes? Does it have the winning combination of Chinese and American traits? To help answer that question, The American Chestnut Foundation invited its Sponsor Members to become a part of their science team. Last March, Sponsor Members were able to receive two Restoration chestnut seeds to grow, measure and report on.

Ryan Somma and I received our seeds on March 17th. We were getting married three days later on March 20th. The timing allowed us to have a very special guest at our wedding. Good people have been trying to save the American chestnut since the blight was first spotted in New York City in 1904. It’s an effort that has spans generations. After 106 years of heartache and hope, Ryan Somma and I had the great honor to plant a Restoration chestnut during our ceremony.

Wedding Weekend - American Chestnut Unity Ceremony - Ryan Plants (by Liza Franco)
Ryan Plants Our Unity American Chestnut

Wedding Weekend - American Chestnut Unity Ceremony - Ryan and Vicky Water (by Liza Franco)
Ryan and Vicky Water American Chesntut

I can’t say for certain we were the only couple who have had an “American Chestnut Unity Ceremony”, but my hunch is it’s pretty rare. : )

In lieu of gifts, Ryan and I suggested two charities for our guests to donate to. For science, we suggested Elizabeth City’s Port Discover. For nature, we suggested The American Chestnut Foundation. The response was resounding! Out of just the donations that we know about, our guests gave $1392.50 to The American Chestnut Foundation. One of our guests, Ryn R, handmade a card to document her charitable donations. She did her homework. She gave the American chestnut leaves teeth!

Wedding Weekend - Inside of Alex and Ryn's Card
Card – The American chestnut leaves have teeth!

It’s been eight months and a handful of days since our wedding and Ryan and I are still fielding questions and witnessing continued chestnut enthusiasm from our family and friends.

To have your loved ones so wholeheartedly embrace and support a cause that is near and dear to your heart…. could there be a wedding gift better than that?

For more information of donating to or becoming a member of The American Chestnut Foundation, visit:
http://www.acf.org

Entry filed under: American Chestnut, American Chestnut Foundation, Restoration Chestnut, rvw10, trees. Tags: .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Georgia  |  November 22, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Vicky, belated congratulations on your wedding. Second, the in lieu of gifts donation to your favorite causes was an inspired idea.

    Please let us know how your chestnut is faring!

    Reply
  • 2. Kitty  |  December 4, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Belated congratulations indeed! What a great idea!! What better way to symbolize your union of love than planting the new survivor American Chestnut!! That will be so cool to watch it grow as your marriage grows and yours and Ryan’s roots grow deep together! I would love to see how your tree is doing, too.

    Reply
  • 3. Our Science Wedding  |  March 28, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    […] a perfect bit of synchronicity, Vicky came into possession of some blight-resistant American Chestnut seeds, which were sent to her early from the American Chestnut Foundation: In 2008, I visited one of the […]

    Reply
  • 4. Alex and Ryn’s Wedding « TGAW  |  June 20, 2011 at 1:02 am

    […] was all the handmade work behind it. Alex’s fiance, Ryn, has proven to be quite craftsy. She handmade an American Chestnut Foundation/Port Discover Themed card for Ryan and I at our wedding. With her own wedding, Ryn took on an ambitious endeavor. All the […]

    Reply

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