Letter to the Editor: American Roots, A Celebration of Music and the American Chestnut Tree!

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Sourland Conservancy, I would like to thank our American Chestnut Restoration Project partners, D&R Greenway Land Trust, Mercer County Park Commission and The American Chestnut Foundation, for working with us to restore the American chestnut to public parks and preserves in the Sourland Mountain region of central New Jersey.

I would especially like to thank to Mike Aucott for acquiring 10 chestnut trees for the project from the American Chestnut Foundation. Mike 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 in 2012. 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 has volunteered for the American Chestnut Foundation for several years to help restore the magnificent chestnut to our region.

Five of the project trees will be planted near the Carter Road parking lot of the St. Michaels Farm Preserve, and five will be planted in the Foraging Forest at Hopewell Borough Park. The partners hope to acquire more chestnut trees to plant on preserves throughout the Sourland region.

I would like to extend our sincere gratitude to Bill Flemer of the D&R Greenway Land Trust for caring for our seedlings at the plant nursery until they are ready to be planted on the Sourland preserves. Bill’s extensive plant nursery experience and restoration knowledge is an invaluable asset to our project.

In addition, I would like to announce the recent appointment of Sourland Conservancy’s part-time Stewardship Coordinator, Carolyn Klaube. 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. Carolyn recently joined SC in the role of administrative assistant.

I would like to invite the public to join us this Friday night at the Antique Barn at Cashel Farm in the Sourlands, for a unique fundraiser for the project, “American Roots: a musical celebration of the American Chestnut.” Mike, Bill and Carolyn will offer a short presentation about this important project then 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. All proceeds will support the American Chestnut Restoration Project in the Sourlands. For more information, to purchase tickets or donate to the project, please visit www.tiny.cc/SCAmericanRoots.

Best regards,

Caroline Katmann

Executive Director, Sourland Conservancy

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