Monson's American Chestnut Forest

Sponsored by: The Monson Free Library, The Monson Parks and Rec. Department, The Replanting Monson Tree Committee, The Grace Makepeace Foundation for Historic Preservation, The Tantasqua Chestnut Project, and The American Chestnut Foundation

The Project Backstory

1883-Flynt Park

An Important Place in Monson History

1904-Chestnut Blight

The End of an Era

2011-Tornado

A Silver Lining

Present-Tantasqua Chestnut Project

Hope for a Mighty Future

Make History

Restore Monson's historic American chestnut forest.

  • Mighty Giant - May 2nd, 7 p.m., Monson Town Offices

Kick off the season with an introduction to the story of the American chestnut tree presented by Jesse Greene, Tantasqua Science Teacher and Facilitator of the Tantasqua Chestnut Project. Learn about the history of the American chestnut tree, the story of its catastrophic demise in the early 1900’s, and some of the efforts that have been employed in its 100-year rescue and recovery effort.

  • Monson's Chestnut Forest (Site Prep.) - May 5th, 1 & 3 p.m. Guided Hikes (Self-guided hikes welcome 1 to 5), Monson’s Flynt Park (Meet at upper field/playground parking area.)

Continue the season kickoff by hiking the slopes of Mt. Ella in Monson’s Flynt Park “chestnut hotspot.” Guided hikes will highlight native American chestnut trees. Learn to identify the tree and recognize signs of the chestnut blight fungus in the early spring. Bring a pair of hand clippers /loppers/gloves and at the top of the trail, lend a hand with site preparations for the upcoming chestnut reforestation project. (Hand tools available to borrow if needed, and guidance in their safe use provided.) Sturdy shoes recommended. The trail is muddy, slippery, and steep in some sections. The hike to the planting site is approximately 20-30 minutes long.

Thank you to BB Landscaping for assisting with site preparations.

  • Monson's Chestnut Forest (Spring Planting) - June 2nd, 1 & 3 p.m. Guided Hikes (Self-guided hikes welcome 1 to 5), Monson’s Flynt Park (Meet at upper field/playground parking area.)

Hike the slopes of Mt. Ella in Monson’s Flynt Park “chestnut hotspot.” Guided hikes will highlight native American chestnut trees. Learn to identify the tree by its leaves, and recognize signs of the chestnut blight fungus. Bring a pair of gloves and at the top of the trail, lend a hand planting the very first 100 potentially blight resistant American chestnut trees in Monson's Chestnut Forest. Sturdy shoes recommended. The trail is muddy, slippery, and steep in some sections. The hike to the planting site is approximately 20-30 minutes long.

  • "Chestnut" & "Champion" Book Talk - July - Stay tuned. Specifics TBD.

Meet up with fellow community members who have read the books "Chestnut" and or "Champion" to discuss and participate in related activities.

  • Signups to Tend the Baby Trees - July & August - Stay tuned. Specifics TBD

Get together with your family, friends, and neighbors, to hike Mt. Ella in Monson's Flynt Park and at the top of the trail, tend to the baby trees starting life in Monson's Chestnut Forest. Tasks will range with weather and the current needs of the trees, but could include weeding, watering, mulching, monitoring, and other tasks necessary to shepherd the young trees through the summer growing season.

  • Biodiversity and the American Chestnut - September - Stay tuned. Specifics TBD

As the growing season transitions toward harvest time, reflect on the benefits that will be sure to come by restoring and preserving keystone species, like the American chestnut tree. to the forest. A guest presentation on the value of forests and biodiversity within ecosystems will address this topic and usher in the community reading of the book, "The Man Who Planted Trees," by Jean Giono.

  • Monson's Chestnut Forest (Fall Planting) - September 8th, 1 & 3 p.m. Guided Hikes (Self-guided hikes welcome 1 to 5), Monson’s Flynt Park (Meet at upper field/playground parking area.)

Hike the slopes of Mt. Ella in Monson’s Flynt Park “chestnut hotspot.” Guided hikes will highlight native American chestnut trees. Learn to identify the tree by its leaves, and recognize signs of the chestnut blight fungus. Bring a pair of gloves and at the top of the trail, lend a hand planting the fall batch of the very first 100 potentially blight resistant American chestnut trees in Monson's Chestnut Forest. Sturdy shoes recommended. The trail is muddy, slippery, and steep in some sections. The hike to the planting site is approximately 20-30 minutes long.

  • Harvest Party, Chestnut Roast, and "The Man Who Planted Trees" Book Talk - October, Stay tuned. Specifics TBD

Celebrate a successful beginning to the restoration of Monson's Chestnut Forest. Roast chestnuts over an open fire, and taste them. Check out wild American chestnut burs and seeds, collected from native American chestnut trees at Flynt Park. Sample recipes made with chestnuts. Get together with fellow community readers to discuss and participate in activities related to the common reading of "The Man Who Planted Trees."

Community Read

Broaden your understanding of the backstory by reading these related books together.

To check availability or for help in finding these books, please contact the Monson Free Library (413) 267-3866, or purchase them at your favorite bookseller.

Read by July, 2019


Read by July, 2019


Read by October, 2019