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Tree planting takes root at the Catawba Sustainability Center, thanks to volunteers

April 17, 2017

Students at Catawba planting native trees

Student in foreground holds sees while student in background watches
Meghan Johnson, a sophomore majoring in human development in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, inspects seeds as she is deployed at the planting field for pawpaw and persimmon, trees native to Appalachia. In background: Chris Johnson, a junior from Greenville, New York, majoring in civil engineering.

On a recent Saturday in April, volunteers from the American Chestnut Foundation worked on one plot of land at the Catawba Sustainability Center while students toiled at another.

The students, working under the auspices of VT Engage, planted fruit and nut trees in a buffer zone designed to protect a streambank while demonstrating that the region can successfully bring back native foods and medicines.

Adam Taylor, manager of the Catawba Sustainability Center, talks about both the effort to bring back the American chestnut and the many agroforestry research projects tied to a grant involving faculty members in the College of Natural Resources and Environment and Virginia Cooperative Extension.

The center is part of Outreach and International Affairs.