Last Update: 08/26/2023
Dr. Don Kines
Dr. Don Kines is a West Virginia native having graduated from Philip Barbour High School in Barbour County in 1982. He received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from West Virginia University in 1990. It was in his undergraduate studies at WVU that he was introduced to the American chestnut tree after reading an article, ‘Is This the Chestnut’s Last Stand?’ He planted his first American chestnut trees in Barbour County in 1986 shortly after reading the article, and joined The American Chestnut Foundation in 1987.
Don and his wife Sheryl own and operate Mountain State Chestnuts (chestnut orchards) in Barbour County where the initial goal was to follow the breeding program outlined by The American Chestnut Foundation. While there is still an emphasis on utilizing locally adapted American chestnut trees to preserve the gene pool, the rich variation that exists among the different chestnut species has provided the opportunity to experiment. Mountain State Chestnuts has grown from the original few American trees to several hundred trees. The trees are hybrids of the American, Chinese, and Japanese species. They range in size from trees 50 ft. in height to seedling size. There is much variation among the trees in regards to blight resistance, timber form, and nut size.
Don and Sheryl have established a website for Mountain State Chestnuts (mountainstatechestnuts.com) that serves as an informational site for chestnut enthusiasts. Some of the topics include, (1) the history of the American chestnut, (2) the process of controlled pollination of chestnut trees, (3) treating chestnut blight on trees, (4) the how and why of grafting trees, and (5) the types of wildlife living/visiting in the orchards. Even though the major emphasis at Mountain State Chestnuts has been on the restoration of the American chestnut tree, there is a deep appreciation of all of our native nut species.
Don and Sheryl have recently established English walnuts and Pecans to cross with our local Black walnuts, Butternuts and Hickories with the hope of developing nuts with thinner, easy to crack shells.
Don has lived and practiced dentistry in Davis, WV since 1991. He has served on the development committee of the American Chestnut Foundation and the boards of St. George Medical Clinic and Mountain Hospice. He resides with his wife Sheryl who teaches Spanish at Tucker County High School. They have 4 children ages 20, 16, 16 and 15. They enjoy all the outdoor activities offered in the Canaan Valley and Blackwater Falls area.