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Live Music to Benefit American Chestnut Restoration Project

Oct 12, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

The Sourland Conservancy will host a unique musical event in a private antique barn with proceeds to benefit the American Chestnut Restoration Project in the Sourlands, on Friday, October 12 7-8:30pm. Bill Flemer of D&R Greenway Land Trust, Mike Aucott of The American Chestnut Foundation, and Carolyn Klaube of The Sourland Conservancy will give a talk about the American Chestnut Restoration Project and perform play a variety of American roots music at the Antique Barn at Cashel.

These three environmentalist/musicians will join guest performers Emily Flesher and Lolly Barton of the band “ALBO,” to play a variety of American roots music including favorites by Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris, and more. Tickets are just $10, and are on sale now.

Before the music begins, Mike Aucott will present a short talk, “Bringing Back the American Chestnut.”  This talk will touch on the importance and recent tragic history of this iconic tree, which once dominated Eastern forests but was virtually wiped out by an imported blight that first appeared in the early 1900s. The talk will describe the challenges and varied strategies of the effort to help propel the tree over what researchers have called “the cusp of extinction” and to re-establish it in the North American forest. Mike will also identify some of the new efforts involving numerous organizations to establish plantings of American chestnut trees in our region.

Mike Aucott holds a Ph.D. in environmental science from Rutgers University.  He worked as a research scientist for the NJ Department of Environmental Protection until he retired 2012, and he continues to serve on NJDEP’s Science Advisory Board.  He is now an adjunct professor in the Chemistry Department at The College of New Jersey, teaching introductory chemistry and environmental chemistry.  He also does consulting work in energy use and supply and climate change.  Mike is a member of the Hopewell Township Environmental Commission and of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a volunteer organization working to develop political will to address climate change.  He is also a member of the American Chestnut Foundation.  Mike’s work with ACF includes the maintenance and monitoring of an orchard of 800 hybrid chestnuts that he, with the help of friends and family, has established in Northern Pennsylvania. Mike plays banjo and sings with Kingston Ridge.

Bill Flemer, Site Manager of the D&R Greenway Land Trust’s St. Michaels Farm Preserve, is responsible for stewardship of the land and trails that are enjoyed by the public.  Bill uses his expertise to assist with D&R Greenway’s Native Plant Nursery and Capital City Farm, as well as stewardship of other D&R Greenway preserves.  He is caring for the American Chestnut Restoration Project seedlings at the D&R Greenway’s nursery until they are ready to plant. His other passion is playing bluegrass and country music with a couple of different local bands including Stony Brook.

Carolyn Klaube is the Sourland Conservancy’s stewardship coordinator and is thrilled to be working on the American Chestnut restoration project.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in ecology with a minor in plant science and a Master of Biology degree with a concentration in ecology and evolution.  Carolyn has worked across the country on different research projects, from the desserts of the American southwest, to the wilds of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, and of course, the Sourlands!  Carolyn is passionate about the ecology of the Sourlands and the conservation issues it faces.  She regularly performs with the local band, A Little Bit Off (ALBO).

The event will be held in the Antique Barn at Cashel – a privately owned, beautifully restored barn on a working farm at 145 Wertsville Road, Hillsborough, NJ. 08844 – just 7 miles north of Hopewell Borough.  Participants are encouraged to bring their own beverage or refillable water bottle.

The Sourland Conservancy would like to thank their project partners, D&R Greenway Land Trust, Mercer County Park Commission and The American Chestnut Foundation, for helping to restore the American chestnut to public parks and preserves in the Sourland Mountain region of central New Jersey.



Oct 12, 2018
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
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Sourland Conservancy


Antique Barn at Cashel
145 Wertsville Road
Hillsborough, New Jersey
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