In April 2016, volunteers planted an additional eighteen (18) American Chestnut Trees at the St. Joseph County Chapter IWLA facility in South Bend, Indiana. The trees planted are part of a project which began at the facility with an initial planting of ten (10) American Chestnut Trees in 2015. The purpose of this project is to determine whether or not American Chestnut Trees can survive in our park. It is hoped that information obtained from this project will be useful in efforts to save the American Chestnut Tree.
The American Chestnut Tree was once an abundant and important tree in eastern North America, until a foreign blight exterminated it from most of its native range several decades ago. Efforts elsewhere are currently in progress to develop a blight-resistant strain to try to reestablish this magnificent tree. It is hoped that the IWLA facility in South Bend may be used in the future for propagating the blight-resistant strain, if the current project shows the potential for viability at the facility.
The location of these trees at the facility are shown on a trail map (see map). IWLA members are encouraged to check these trees when walking the grounds, and to feel free to water them if they look like they need it, especially during the summer when it is hot and dry (non-chlorinated water only).