The American Elm Returns to Elm Street: Restoring a Native Tree

April 3, 2008
Shepherdstown, WV
At 7:00 pm, acclaimed photographer and American elm advocate Tom Zetterstrom will present an illustrated lecture, “The American Elm Returns to Elm Street: Restoring a Native Tree” in the Byrd Auditorium at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) in Shepherdstown, WV.


In 1999 Tom Zetterstrom founded Elm Watch, an organization established to preserve and restore the American elm in the community forest. Zetterstom will illustrate the rich cultural history of the American elm, followed by its rapid decimation over the past half century due to the introduction of Dutch elm disease. Zetterstrom’s talk will describe treatments to protect the few surviving heritage elms modeled in the organization’s ?Adopt -an-Elm? initiative. In 2001 National Arboretum test results allowed Elm Watch to begin reliable reintroduction of large canopy American elms in town centers and historic public spaces. Since then, Zetterstrom has worked with numerous towns to develop sustainable treescape designs using the American elm as the keystone tree in a diverse species mix. He has encouraged civic involvement in comprehensive tree care, bringing together various community groups to enhance green infrastructure through park, campus, street and roadside planting. At 10:00 am on Friday April 4, Zetterstom will demonstrate proper planting of the five top performing disease resistant American elms at the NCTC campus in Shepherdstown to help create a teachable landscape and future FWS Arboretum.
Zetterstrom has been a student of trees in the natural landscape for more than three decades, documenting and preserving them in his “Portraits of American Trees” photographic portfolio. These black and white photographs are represented in the collections of three-dozen museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Library of Congress, Yale University Art Gallery and the J. Paul Getty Museum. As a community forester, Zetterstrom has studied the history of village improvement tree plantings in New England and the science of the best current planting practices. Zetterstrom’s fine arts background informs his passion and interest in the beauty of trees in the community forest and he now applies both disciplines to sustainable streetscape tree design. He has planted and designed more than 300 public trees. In 2000 he received the Community Urban Forestry Award from the Connecticut Urban Forestry Council. Recently, Zetterstrom helped design the proposed Shepherdstown, German Street treescape, a major component of the larger streetscape design.
The talk is free and open to the public. The NCTC is located at 698 Conservation Way along Shepherd Grade Rd. in Shepherdstown, WV 25443 approximately 70 miles west of Washington and Baltimore. No tickets or reservations are required.
For more information, contact Mark Madison at the National Conservation Training Center at 304 876-7276.