Allegany County schools join Chestnut Foundation effort

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CUMBERLAND, Md. (AP) — Some public school students in western Maryland are joining an effort to restore the American chestnut tree to eastern hardwood forests.

Allegany County Public Schools spokeswoman Mia Cross says chestnut groves have been planted at Fort Hill High School and Washington Middle School in Cumberland.

The plantings expand a program that Carroll County Public Schools and the North Carolina-based American Chestnut Foundation developed more than five years ago.

The foundation is testing a potentially blight-resistant chestnut that's been in development since 1989.

Historians say chestnuts once accounted for one in every four hardwood trees in America's eastern forests. But a blight introduced by the importation of Japanese chestnuts in the 1870s virtually wiped out the native species.

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