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Dalton State Library to Host Book Talk on American Chestnut Trees

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An award-winning author and former Dalton State professor will speak on campus next week about the local environment and how it was shaped by the American chestnut tree.

Dr. Donald E. Davis, a former sociology professor, will give two presentations on the American chestnut on Wednesday, Nov. 10 in the Darrel C. Roberts Library on campus. At 12:15 p.m. he will speak on “Giving Character to the Landscape: An Environmental History of the American Chestnut,” and at 7 p.m. he will speak on “Placed There by a Quadruped or Bird: Henry David Thoreau and the American Chestnut.” Both are free and open to the public.

Dalton State College is involved in the initiative to reintroduce the American chestnut into the local ecosystem.

The American chestnut was once one of the most common trees in the eastern forests of the United States before the early 1900s. Due to a fungus that was imported from the Japanese chestnut, many American chestnuts were killed.

To combat this blight, scientists have been breeding the American chestnut with the Chinese chestnut which has a resilience to the blight. Some of these new American chestnuts have been planted along College Drive across from the tennis courts by faculty, staff and student volunteers.

Davis also authored “There Are Mountains: An Environmental History of the Southern Appalachians,” which has won the Phillip D. Reed Environmental Writing award. He is a founding member of the Georgia Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation.

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