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NonprofitWe are American Heritage Trees, a Non-Profit Nursery dedicated to preserving and distributing historic and famous trees in America. AmA!

Jul 7th 2016 by AmericanHeritag • 19 Questions • 405 Points

Our mission is to remember historical sites, people, and events by propagating living trees from seeds from the original trees. The AHT Nursery provides saplings of trees from important places throughout the U.S. We get these seeds from our partners, the centerpiece of American Heritage trees. We work closely with our partners to ensure the seeds we gather are authentic to the original tree. We then offer these saplings for purchase by individuals, schools, or organizations for their yard or garden. We collect seeds from other organizations that manage famous trees from around America. Here is a list of the trees that we grow:

  • Alex Haley
  • Alvin C. York
  • Amelia Earhart
  • Apollo Moon Tree
  • Birthing Tree
  • Edgar Allen Poe
  • George Washington
  • Helen Keller
  • Henry David Thoreau
  • Mark Twain
  • MSU Moon Tree
  • Robert E. Lee
  • Robert Frost
  • Space Gummy Tree
  • William Faulkner

We are in the process of adding more as well. Feel free to visit our website to learn more about these trees and more about what we do. http://www.americanheritagetrees.org

EDIT: Thank you so much for all of your questions. We had a great time doing this. If you would like to support us, visit our website to donate to our organization or purchase a tree! Have a great day!

Proof: http://imgur.com/8STSssd Further Proof: http://imgur.com/a/Sontd

Q:

Have you planted any American Chestnut trees? I heard they are going extinct.

A:

Along our driveway we have about 6 American Chestnut tree saplings. They are from the American Chestnut Foundation in Ashville, NC. These trees though are hybridized and are about 95% American Chestnut, and 5% Chinese Chestnut, and the idea is that these new breed of trees should be blight resistant. These trees are just for personal use and aren't part of American Heritage Trees. If you're interested in the American Chestnut Trees, definitely check out the American Chestnut Foundation.


Q:

What motivated you to start this project?

A:

Our start was with the need to find a creative way to memorialize the death of a relative. We stumbled on the opportunity to purchase a historic tree for each of our family members, and it was very effective.

10 years later we retired from our career jobs and decided that pursuing the growth of historical trees would be a worthwhile thing to do for us and to preserve American history.


Q:

That's cool. I was touring Monticello, and snipped off a piece of Rosemary. I'd imagine it wasn't around when TJ was there but I rooted it and it's a huge shrub at my house now.

A:

That sounds great! Lucky you!


Q:

We work closely with our partners to ensure the seeds we gather are authentic to the original tree.

Could you tell me more about how this process works?

A:

First we contact the historical site and establish a partnership agreement with them. We then either go to the site and collect the seeds ourselves, working with the staff to gather them, or the organization we've partnered with collects the seeds themselves and sends them to us.


Q:

How do your trees get named? Also, what's your favorite story behind a tree?

Thanks for doing the AMA -- this is cool!

A:

They're named after the historic event or figure they are associated with. Most of the trees are located on the birth sites of key Americans, where they grew up around these trees. Many of the trees we grow are from 200 year old trees.

Every time we try to pick a favorite we end up arguing among ourselves. There are two that we really like. The first is the George Washington Buckeye, which was planted by George Washington himself in 1784. The other would be the Moon Trees, who's mother went to the moon as part of the Apollo 14 mission.


Q:

Neat - thanks for the reply! :)

A:

Our pleasure. Thanks for the great question!


Q:

This is a wonderful initiative, great going! You have an awesome website too :)

The names for the trees are really cool. Just wondering, how do you choose which trees to grow, out of so many different varieties?

Also, do you talk to your plants, and if yes, any interesting observations?

Thanks a ton for your time!

A:

Thanks for the kind comments, we're actually in the process of updating the website right now.

Our philosophy right now is to try to stick with significant historic Americans and events. After we find a historical site that wants to partner with us, we choose trees that have a story and are relevant to that individual. Relevance as in writing about them, climbing them, growing up around them, etc. So, it's not really the variety we look for, but how much of a relevance the tree has to the individual or event.

We talk to our plants everyday and they just keep growing!


Q:

Amazing stuff :) Really appreciate the philosophy! All the very best!

A:

Thank you for the fantastic questions!


Q:

What has been the most difficult challenges to overcome in getting this organization off the ground?

A:

There have been so many challenges. Starting with setting up the infrastructure (Irrigation, greenhouses, site preparation). Establishing partnerships with historical sites to find a variety of trees that appeal to the public has also been challenging. Now we face the most challenging hurdle yet, which is just getting our name out there. Not many people know about us yet, as we've just started about two years ago.


Q:

What is your favorite thing about these trees?

A:

I think our favorite thing is spreading awareness and knowledge about the individuals our trees are tied to. While we are helping the environment, we are also educating others about famous heroes, poets, presidents, etc, that played a key role in shaping America's history.


Q:

Let me start by saying I think this is a great idea and preserving tree species, like animals, is a must and should be taken seriously.

So, have you ever hugged one of your trees?

A:

Every day!


Q:

What a cool project. Thanks for this AMA. Are there certain trees you really wish to someday offer?

A:

We're adding new trees all the time. There's a list we just made of around 30 new trees we're interested in adding. We're interested in any nominations you guys might have!


Q:

This is a very unique nonprofit! Wow, definitely a first for me; I think it is wonderful what you are doing :) Question: how you sustaining yourself? Funding wise I mean, do you have any corporate sponsors or the like? I want to support them for supporting you!

A:

Thank you for your support, we need more people like you in this world! We are in the process of searching for grant money. However, we are essentially self-funded, but we would like the organization to get to the point to sustain itself.


Q:

What's the authentication process for the trees?

A:

The trees are grown in partnership with the site owner. For instance the site with our George Washing trees is Mount Vernon. First we agree on a tree of significance for that site and that historic person. Then, as part of our partnership, the site itself harvests the seeds and provides them to us.

The chain of custody for the seeds is very important, and both sides of the partnership are insistent that the seeds are verified to be true and authentic. We are very diligent to make sure all our seeds and saplings are labeled and segregated throughout the entire growing process.


Q:

Have you encountered Father Desmet's Apple tree? It's in Stevensville, MT. Here's the link. Tree is in the bottom right picture of the gallery.

A:

Unfortunately, I have not encountered Father Desmet's apple tree before your comment. What a wonderful tree! We are trying to get seeds from the Johnny Appleseed last tree, but haven't succeeded to date. We will have to check out Father Desmet's tree. Thanks for sharing!


Q:

No problem! You guys have a great project! Let me know if I can help.

A:

Thanks!


Q:

How are you doing with American elms?

A:

We currently do not have any American elm trees in our inventory.


Q:

Hi - Is there a reason you use seeds instead of cuttings?

A:

Seeds are just more convenient for us at this time and much easier for our Partners to collect that taking cuttings.


Q:

I don't know all the trees. Are there any fruit trees or novelty trees you sell that people can use? I remember a neighbor used to have a giant lemon tree which was a novelty and I used to steal giant lemons to show off at school for science projects. That was a great tree.Wish I could grow one of those someday.

A:

Currently, we don't have fruit trees in our collection of historic trees. However, we have one lemon tree that we have had for 45 years that is absolutely fantastic. Great lemons!