9th Annual Arbor Day
Planting Event where students
from Stone Elementary School made
history by planting blight-resistant
American Chestnut hybrids on
mine land reclaimed by
Crossville Coal Company

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

28 April 2017


Best Arbor Day ever—that’s how several veterans of our planting events described it.  Heavy rains the previous day 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.

Stone Elementary School principal Joy Goad said it best.  Thank you and yours for such a wonderful opportunity for our 6th graders!  The day couldn't have been more perfect.  I was struck by the beauty of the setting and the beauty of the hands-on, real-life learning taking place.  These students will not forget this field trip.” 

Sixth-grade teacher Jen Selby said, "THANK YOU for the wonderful field trip. The kids had fun and learned a lot of great information. It was really a great day!"


View over 200 pictures at https://flic.kr/s/aHskVFEq5K

 View WBIR-TV Channel 10 Knoxville feature at

Students made history at the event by planting the first blight-resistant American chestnut hybrids in Cumberland County, which is a feat they can tell their grandchildren about someday.  Previous Arbor Day events restored the American chestnut to reclaimed mine land in Anderson, Campbell, Claiborne, and Morgan Counties in Tennessee.   

In addition to planting 40 blight-resistant American chestnuts, Stone Elementary School students planted over 1,000 bare-root seedlings of various species provided by Crossville Coal Company/ERP Environmental Fund, the Tennessee Mining Association, and the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation, Inc.  Foresters from The Office of Surface Mining  led the effort and taught us the best methods for planting success. 



Special thanks to the landowner, ERP Compliant Fuels for signing the germplasm agreement with the American Chestnut Foundation to allow this planting of restoration chestnuts.  Kudos to Tim Slone of IRTEC/Tennessee Mining Association for coordinating the planting event.  Special guests included Dave Turner of TDEC, Roxanne Reilly (TMA), and Ed Schwartzman of the American Chestnut Foundation.  Tim Dail of WBIR documented the event for WBIR-TV.  Also, thanks to the family of the late Mike Webster for joining us and reminding us of how Mike worked so hard on this beautiful site.

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 those trees.”

View over 200 pictures at https://flic.kr/s/aHskVFEq5K

 View WBIR-TV Channel 10 Knoxville feature at


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