Meet the faces who make up the Campaign to STOP GE Trees. Lois Breault-Melican is a member of the American Chestnut Cooperators Foundation and is also on the Campaign to STOP GE Trees North American Coordinating Committee. Here’s what she had to say about working with the campaign.
What’s your background?
I have an A.S. degree from Becker College and attended Tower Hill Botanic Garden’s New England School of Gardening. I’ve also attended a variety of related courses and programs at the Arnold Arboretum’s Institute for Cultural and Historic Landscapes Studies. My husband Denis and I are long time members of the American Rhododendron Society, and we joined The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) in 2003 when we planted the first chestnut orchard on state land in Massachusetts at Moore State Park in Paxton.
How did you get involved with the Campaign to Stop GE Trees?
As a long time TACF member & chapter president, I was drawn into this genetic engineering vortex when TACF decided to include genetic engineering in their breeding program. Not really knowing all that much about this, I began to search out credible sources. When I came across the Campaign to STOP GE Trees, I felt like cheering! Having been labelled an “anti-science luddite” it was with a lot of joy that I realized this organization truly “gets” the worldwide significance of the risks of GE forests.
What excites you about the campaign?
The global reach, clear vision and shared wisdom of all the partners is what excites me. Looking at this issue from their perspective helped me realize that the GE chestnut tree is not only risky, it’s also unneeded!
What do you hope to accomplish by being involved with the campaign?
As a chestnut grower dedicated to back cross breeding and working to bring chestnuts back to our forests, kitchens, and culture, I hope to spread the word about the role of hybrid chestnuts in the nascent Regenerative Agriculture movement as it is happening now and why, therefore it is not necessary to genetically engineer chestnuts. I hope that all environmental groups worldwide and all citizens everywhere who are rightly concerned about the unfolding climate catastrophe and the genetic engineering of forests on a massive scale could rally behind the Campaign’s call for action. Let’s all help to spread the word!