Monday, September 09, 2013

Ozark Chinquapin Foundation

Chinquapins nuts still exist in the Arkansas forest.
While the Chestnut blight killed almost all chestnut related species throughout the eastern US, and while there is a major effort to build a blight resistant chestnut by crossing remaining genetic stock with a Chinese Chestnut, it seems that work here in Arkansas and South Missouri to enhance the reproduction of a few viable and original Ozark Chinquapins is paying off. Hidden in back woods and hollows, there are a few trees still capable of producing nuts.

During our pubic hearing on the SWEPCO project, Elk Ranch native Bert Camp told about his few remaining Chinkapin trees. Almost  all were killed by the Chestnut blight that began in New York in 1904 and spread to Arkansas and Missouri by 1950. The judge asked, as he was talking beyond his 3 minutes, "You are concerned about your trees, right?" I don't believe the judge understood that what Bert was describing was not just his trees, but a vast resource with the genetic potential to renew American forests. You just can't expect those closely involved in the power industry to understand the full significance of the environment in the same way that a local might understand it.. .even though we would like them to. You can learn more about the Chinquapin fom the Ozark Chinquapin Foundation.

At this point, and due to the incredible incompetence of AEP/SWEPCO, the faults inherent in their application, their failure to consider Arkansas law in their analysis of economic impact, we expect to be successful in keeping the powerline from taking Bert's Chinquapins. The power company response to endangered species of plant and animal life has been, "That's not the only place to find it." And they are right. Their proposed route 109 endangers one of three places in which blind cave crayfish can be found. Bert's Chinquapin grove at Elk Ranch on route 33 is one of only a few places in North Arkansas and Southwest Missouri where Chinquapins still stand. In this world, and in this day we face an incredible greed driven thoughtlessness that would destroy every hope for achieving an ecological paradise.

Today in the CSS wood shop, my 4th, 5th and 6th grade students will begin making drop spindles, and my high school students will have a percussion lab as we plan the making of cahones.

Make, fix and create...

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