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Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

What do you dream and wish for the ecosystems you belong to?

“Chestnuts roasting on an Open Fire,” is the first line in “The Christmas Song,” a holiday classic. Whenever I hear it on the radio at this time of year, it makes me think about the American Chestnut tree.


Where I live in the Eastern US, the American Chestnut used to be one of the most important trees in our forests. But less than a century ago, they were almost completely wiped out. So if you buy Chestnuts at the grocery store in the US, they are probably imported European Chestnuts.


The good news is, the American Chestnut Project (directed by one of my former professors at SUNY-ESF) is working to restore the Chestnut! This is a decades-long effort. When I think of the future of the land where I live ….

What do I hope future generations will get to experience here?

What species will nature journalers be able to sketch in the forest?


I’ll never be able to see an old Chestnut tree in my lifetime, but I’m longing and dreaming for the day when Christmastime will feature Castanea dentata chestnuts roasting on the fire, and the wildlife species that eat the nuts will be thriving too.


So I hosted a special edition of the “Nature Journal Writing Workshop Wednesdays!” where I shared more of the Chestnuts’ story, and one way you can help. You can sketch along with the recording. We had time to daydream and write about our hopes, and then we shared and listened to each other as a community. (As always, this is a supportive, judgment-free space. Our only rule is to be kind to each other).


The Winter Solstice is an especially great reminder to rest, reflect, look inward, and imagine. What do you dream and wish for the ecosystems you belong to? What’s your “Christmas wish” for nature? (Or Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Yule, whatever you celebrate! 😃)




View the workshop slides





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