The story of the Ozark chinquapin chestnut was long thought to be a tragic one. It was declared a victim of the chestnut blight that took down trees throughout the U.S. in the 1930s and 1940s, and was often cited as extinct, National Geographic reports.
But after years of hunting down the presumably kaput species, a determined Missouri State Parks naturalist located 45 large, healthy Ozark chinquapin trees (Castanea ozarkensis) nestled in the forests of Missouri and Arkansas.
The naturalist, Steve Bost, is now leading the charge to bring the species back to its former glory, founding the Ozark Chinquapin Foundation and introducing approximately 1,000 test seedlings and saplings to the trees he located in the wild—all in secret locations.
Read more about Bosts’s find, and his effort to save the species, here.