Virginia Rinkel is an artist who lives in Michigan and loves to draw, paint, and illustrate in different medias, mostly watercolor. Curently, she is working on creating a non-fiction picture book about the world's four species of chestnuts and their scientists, who have come together to help each other out, as they continue to work on various chestnut problems.
Chestnut is not a household word in America, as our 4 billion iconic strong American chestnuts died out in the early 1900's and no one remembers their importance to humans and animals alike. The way of life the whole tree provided, made for self-sufficient lives in parts of America, from Maine to Georgia. Early childhood educators need to know that efforts have been continuing, since the tree's demise, to bring this magnificent 'giant' back into the forest. Children in grades K-3 will gain an appreciation of the true power these trees, from feeding the turkeys and humans with their nuts to using the wood for building telephone poles, railroad ties, houses and beds. Science continues to make great progress in finding ways to combat the chestnut blight disease. They've discovered how to make 'a flu shot' for the tree, and the tree wears a diaper like a bandage while it works! Learn all about amazing discoveries here.
Virginia even raises some chestnut trees with her family. This edible nut is not your ordinary nut, like you know as pecans, almonds, or hazelnut types. These guys need to be refrigerated upon harvest, as they are living organisms, and cold, not freezing, will help them last quite a while in your refrigerator crisper drawer. They also have a 'tail' (horse chestnuts have no tail) that seemed to mock me in years past, saying they would take so much care, that I wouldn't have time to do my art. So, I told them, I'd draw them instead to keep them quiet. And I did – and do draw them, so they only murmur now. I hope you enjoy learning about chestnuts as much as I have.