Funding for the tree planting event was
provided by Schnabel Engineering
and the CCWF


10th Annual Arbor Day Planting Event where students from
Whitwell Middle School made history by planting
blight-resistant American chestnut hybrids on
mine land reclaimed by
Tennessee Consolidated/Lexington Coal Company  

Successful tree planting on the plateau in Sequatchie County, TN on
reclaimed mine land prepared by the Forestry Reclamation Approach

10 April 2018!!!


And more pictures from the school staff here:




Students from Whitwell Middle School were already famous before today’s planting event.  First, they are from Marion County, named after Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox.  Second, the school’s Holocaust Memorial has been recognized world-wide.   Now, Whitwell Middle School students can add planting the first blight-resistant American chestnut hybrids in Sequatchie County to their list of accomplishments, which is a feat they can tell their grandchildren about someday.

Heavy rains the previous week threatened to postpone the event, but that’s the beauty of mine land reclaimed by the Forestry Reclamation Approach. Rainfall infiltrates into the loose, rocky spoil to irrigate tree roots, such that on the day of the event, planting conditions were ideal, and so were weather conditions!

Bernard “Chico” Higgins of TCC/Lexington Coal
led the coordination of the planting event

Previous Arbor Day events restored the American chestnut to reclaimed mine land in Anderson, Campbell, Cumberland, Claiborne, and Morgan Counties, so now we have planted blight-resistant hybrids on reclaimed mine land in six Tennessee counties.   

In addition to planting 52 blight-resistant American chestnuts, students planted over 1,000 bare-root seedlings of various species provided by Tennessee Consolidated/Lexington Coal Company, the Tennessee Mining Association, the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation, Inc., and The Office of Surface Mining.  OSM foresters led the effort and taught us the best methods for planting success. 

Special thanks to the landowner for signing the germplasm agreement with the American Chestnut Foundation to allow this planting of restoration chestnuts.  Kudos to Bernard “Chico” Higgins of TCC/Lexington Coal for coordinating the planting event.  Special guests included Dave Turner of TDEC.

Imagine the great-great grandchildren of these students visiting the site someday to view the breath-taking beauty of an American chestnut forest and saying, “My great-great grandparents planted these trees.”

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