Monday, March 30, 2009

The Burgess Arboretum-- thanks Zach!

Are you aware of the Burgess Arboretum?

The Burgess Arboretum was built by former Reinhardt College President Dr. James Rowland Burgess, who served from 1944 to 1973. Dr. Burgess indexed more than 1,300 and planted more than 500 tree and shrub species across the College campus. You've probably seen labels on the trees around campus, identifying their species. Dr. Burgess labeled all the trees and shrubs and created an index map for the Arboretum, which is housed right here in the Hill Freeman Library and Spruill Learning Center.

In 2007, Zach White, Reinhardt horticulturist, and the Master Gardeners of Cherokee County and the Cherokee County Extension Service began working to restore the Burgess Arboretum. They've been reindexing all the trees and shrubs and planting new species, including a very exciting project to help reintroduce the American chestnut! Reinhardt College is one of the test sites approved by the Georgia chapter of the American Chestnut Society. The chapter is working to breed a version of the American chestnut that can withstand the chestnut blight that nearly wiped out the species in eastern North America during the early 20th century. At one time, about a quarter of trees in the Appalachian mountains were American chestnut; now the number of large surviving American chesnut trees in the region is probably less than 100. Maybe this project isn't exactly Jurassic Park for trees, but it's close!

This Thursday at 2 pm as part of the Spring Day festivities, they will be planting American chestnut seedlings at the site of the new American Chestnut orchard near the Fincher building. Go check it out! And also check out Zach's blog about the Burgess Arboretum. The Arboretum is scheduled to have a grand re-opening in October.

Speaking of Spring Day, look for the library's booth at the Athletic Center. I'll be there--and there will be cookies!

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