Ron Kuipers – Hero of Conservation!

Hopefully, we all know someone who is so special, they make us special just because we know them.  Well, on October 11, Ron Kuipers made all of us associated with TACF special as one of seven finalists for Field and Stream’s Heroes of Conservation Award.  Nominated for his work with chestnuts by his colleagues at the Isaac Walton League near Rockville, MD, Ron has been a tireless member of the Maryland chapter of TACF.  As steward of 15 chestnut orchards, Ron’s work has been impressive enough to land him in the company of just 6 other elite conservation volunteers for the annual awards dinner sponsored by Field and Stream and Toyota at the Ronald Reagan Building on the evening of October 11.  Organizers of the event were happy to invite a number of TACF staff and local volunteers to support Ron.  We rode Ron’s coattails for one extremely impressive evening as Ron and his fellow finalists were honored.  Alas, Ron did not win, but like the gentleman his is, he was actually rooting for someone else anyway. 

You can see Ron’s picture and story in the October issue of Field and Stream. 

Thanks for making us special Ron!


Berry Family Reintroduces Chestnuts to Home County

From left, Susan Berry Kohlhas, Barbara and Robert Berry pose with thier newly planted chestnut seedling at Barbara's farm

Susan, Barbara and Robert Berry are siblings responsible for reintroducing the American chestnut to Chester County, PA in September.  As stewards of the Archie and Grace Berry Foundation, generous donors to the American Chestnut Foundation, each of the Berry “kids” planted two potentially blight resistant trees on their farms, which happened to be only about 20 minutes from TACF CEO Bryan Burhans’ hometown of Pottsville.  The Berry’s Dad, Robert, is still a very active wildlife scientist based in Wyoming, where he has established the Wolf Creek Foundation, which has also supported TACF. 

We are extremely grateful for the support of the Berry Family and their pioneering reintroduction efforts in southeastern PA.

Great Support for Raystown Branch Restoration Event


Jeff and Lori Krause address the crowd at the Raystown Branch Restoration event

The importance of a great event committee can hardly be overstated.  The Raystown Branch of PA-TACF is a perfect example.  This diverse, dedicated group pulled off another tremendously successful event in rural Huntingdon County on September 25th (How rural?  Just ask Bryan Burhans’ GPS).  Secluded under the hemlocks at the McCann School of Art, 37 sponsors and 96 new members rewarded the hard work of the event committee. The event was set up a little like a workshop with round-robin sessions that included cooking with chestnuts, wine tasting, and a seminar on the ecology and management of the American chestnut.  In between were great food and drinks.  It all wrapped up with a lively auction where some helpful funds were raised.  Kudos to Lori and Jeff Krause, who chaired the committee and put in a tremendous amount of time.

Lessons from a Great Bird Dog

Bode - A great pet and bird dog

I have a young family, 3 older sisters, older parents, and 6 nieces and nephews.  I know plenty of people clinging to life or relationships.  I didn’t mourn my old bird dog very long when we put him down on September 30th.  But the loss of a daily companion of nearly 14 years does hurt the heart as it happens.  There is an old saying, maybe a cliche, that says “Let me be the man my dog thinks I am”.  I have no idea what my dog thought of me, but he wanted nothing more than to please.  You can learn some things from a good dog, especially a bird dog that happily shreds itself in briars and brush to help you find a ruffed grouse.   Such as:

You can let people know you love them without saying a word.

There is time to go hard and a time to rest.  Know what those times are.

Do your job with enthusiasm that infects the people observing you.

Just being near the ones you love can be enough.

Its usually better to trust and be wrong than to doubt and be wrong.

When you mess up, take your punishment and move on.

If the bear stops chasing you, don’t stop running to see why.

Don’t make the same mistake twice.  Like biting a porcupine…

Greet everyone as if they’re special.