The excitement of hikers who registered for a rare chance to see Coverdale’s American Chestnut in person is captured beautifully in Cris Barrish’s recent article “Delaware hikers take trek to ‘middle of nowhere’ for glimpse of rare adult American chestnut” featured on WHYY. It was featured on November 4, 2022 on WHYY’s TV show You Oughta Know episode “Delaware Hunter Discovers Rare Tree”. American Chestnut trees are seldom found due to a devastating blight in the early 1900s.
The diminutive Nielsen, bristling with energy and curiosity at the age of 87, was visiting her friend Diane Kesler in Kennett Square, Pa., when they learned about a guided tour to the only such tree in Delaware.
So, a little hunched over and aided by a collapsible trekking pole, Nielsen joined Kesler, eight years her junior, and about 20 other eager souls last week on a nearly 90-minute hike to the cherished tree at Coverdale Farm Preserve in Centreville.
Courtney Streett, a Native American and member of the Nanticoke tribe in Sussex County, couldn’t wait for her glimpse.
“The American chestnut had a significant role for indigenous communities here in the U.S.,’’ Streett said. “To have a tree as mature as this one is incredibly unusual and to have the opportunity to see it is really special.”
Barrish wrote of his own excitement during this special outing. Delaware Nature Society’s Joe Sebastiani led the excursion and Barrish enjoyed his “encyclopedic knowledge” of the preserve.
He’d stop and point in the distance, once to a small falcon he identified as an American kestrel, another time to a trio of deer bouncing along a far-off meadow.
He explained how an insect is also destroying ash trees, much like the fungus that basically wiped out the American chestnut.
He stopped at a set of rocks created more than a half-century ago as a reflective space for Crawford Greenewalt, a former DuPont CEO who once owned the land…
Then Sebastiani silenced everyone for a few minutes as they crept up an incline where owls congregate. He found some droppings but nobody spotted one of the elusive creatures.
And when he pointed out a persimmon tree with a piece of fruit dangling from a limb, he urged Sheila Vincent to take a bite.
“It’s delicious,’’ Vincent proclaimed.
Learn about the hunter who found this tree and efforts to save the American Chestnut.
Watch the TV spotlight on WHYY’s TV show You Oughta Know episode “Delaware Hunter Discovers Rare Tree”.
DelNature’s mission is to connect people with the natural world to improve our environment through education, conservation, and advocacy. We envision a healthy and sustainable environment for all.
Founded in 1964, DelNature, a state affiliate for the National Wildlife Federation, is renowned for educational programming, conservation, and advocacy, providing the tools for communities to take action and promote the health of the environment through land preservation, wildlife protection, and watershed stewardship.
DelNature manages over 2,000 acres of land statewide, including four nature preserves, and operates four educational sites: : Ashland Nature Center, Abbott’s Mill Nature Center, DuPont Environmental Education Center, and Coverdale Farm Preserve.
Currently, thousands of members and over 1,000 volunteers assist core staff and interns to support DelNature’s mission and help our year-round educational programs, conservation, and advocacy efforts continue to improve and grow.
Mark Nardone, Director of Advocacy
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