Elk Valley Elementary School
students celebrate Arbor Day
on Zeb Mountain
Elk Valley, Tennessee

Monday, April 7, 2008

Elk Valley 7th & 8th graders on Zeb Mountain

Elk Valley 7th and 8th graders were the teachers during the Arbor Day celebration on National Coal's mining site on Zeb Mountain on Monday, April 7th sponsored by the Office of Surface Mining and National Coal Corporation. 

What is the world’s largest single living organism? 
The General Sherman tree in Sequoia National Park holds that honor.  

Students named this American Chestnut "Elky"

What was the largest single living organism east of the Mississippi River?  ANSWER: That distinction was held by an American chestnut tree in the forests of Appalachia before it was killed by the chestnut blight in the early to mid 1900s.

Do you know that the chestnut prefers loose, rocky ground to compact soil?  ANSWER:  Yes, that’s why the American Chestnut Foundation is working with the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative (ARRI) to restore blight-resistant American chestnut hybrids on mine land prepared by the Forestry Reclamation Approach.

After presenting their lessons, students participated in the restoration of the American chestnut to Appalachia by planting pure American chestnut seeds in loose, rocky ground prepared by the Forestry Reclamation Approach.  Various planting methods were used last month on Zeb Mountain by volunteers under the direction of University of Tennessee forestry researchers.  Elk Valley students used a different approach by planting chestnut seeds directly in the loose, rocky spoil with no additives.  Students also planted a year-old chestnut seedling that they named Elky. 

The first student teacher starts the
on-site lessons on Zeb Mountain

OSM's Nancy Smith presents a book of
"Mighty Giants, an American Chestnut Anthology"
to Elk Valley teacher Vijaya Morton

Representative William Baird joined us
for the day.  He presented Beta Club honor
students with a new copy of the Tennessee
Blue Book, A History of Tennessee.

Earl Bandy (in blue jacket), OSM Knoxville
Field Director, assists Elk Valley students in
learning how to lay out planting locations

Sam McInturff from the American Chestnut Foundation demonstrates planting method
Chestnuts planted by Elk Valley students will be studied, along with those previously planted under the direction of UT researchers. Data from the study will be used next year when blight-resistant American chestnut hybrids are planted on mine land reclaimed by the Forestry Reclamation Approach.
Click on images below to view more of the day's adventures:

Vic Davis with OSM and ARRI leads the class in their planting lessons before we visit the mine site

The students engrave their names on metal tags that were attached to each stake so they can come back later to check on their American Chestnut tree


We had one American Chestnut sapling to plant.  The students named him Elky.  Photos of Elky being placed in the ground are shown on the row of photos below:



Nothing like pizza delivery on top of Zeb Mountain after a hard day's
work planting American Chestnuts!!

Planting American chestnut trees at Elk Valley Elementary School

Elk Valley 7th and 8th grade students planted American chestnut trees at their school on Monday, April 21st.  Sam McInturff from the American Chestnut Foundation taught the students how to plant the trees in different locations to identify future planting areas where the trees grow best.  Don Slone attended and told how he collected chestnuts before the blight as a boy at the Hindman Settlement School in Hindman, Kentucky.  Students would then sell the collected nuts to help pay their tuition at the school.  Bill Landry and Doug Mills from the Heartland Series filmed the planting effort.

Visit our other adventures with the American Chestnut on our web pages at:

American Chestnut planting

Operation Springboard

Read article in the UT Daily Beacon

Visit the web sites of the
American Chestnut Foundation and the
Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative.

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