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Raising awareness about Emerald Ash Borers

THE EMERALD ASH BORER, a wood-boring beetle that infests ash tree species, has been found in 13 Vermont counties.  photo/Stephen Ausmus/USDA--ARS

VERMONT — Vermont, along with the rest of the country, will recognize National Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week, May 22-28.

The week is designed to draw attention to the impact that this invasive species, a native of Asia, can have on ash trees. In Vermont, the emerald ash borer (EAB) was first spotted in 2018 in Orange County and is now confirmed in all but Essex County. The beetle attacks all three species of ash that grow in the state.

A SIGN OF emerald ash borer infestation is the “blonding” of the tree’s bark, where woodpeckers have flecked away the outer bark and drilled holes. 
photo/Ginger Nickerson/UVM Extension

Although it can’t be eradicated, increased awareness of this destructive wood-boring beetle can help slow its spread. To that end, University of Vermont (UVM) Extension is collaborating with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets to get the word out. Vermonters are encouraged to get involved by organizing a community activity or posting on social media or Front Porch Forum.

An online Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week Toolkit is available at go.uvm.edu/eab-toolkit to provide ideas and information. It contains posters, videos, sample social media posts and other tools; resources for educators; information on ash tree identification and guidelines for hosting a neighborhood ash tree walk or tree tagging event.

The Vermont Invasives website vtinvasives.org has a number of resources, including videos and maps indicating infested areas, to help homeowners, municipalities and forest landowners and managers identify, understand and control the spread of EAB. If you think you have spotted an infested ash tree, you can use the website’s Report It! link to submit a photo. There’s also a link to sign up for the EAB Update Listserv.

Public events planned for the week include:

• May 24, 6-8 p.m. U-32 Middle and High School, East Montpelier. EAB and Resilient Roads. Join the East Montpelier Resilient Roads committee and Joanne Garton, Vermont Urban and Community Forestry Program technical assistance coordinator, for a walk and presentation to learn about East Montpelier’s proactive approach to EAB management.

• May 28, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Nulhegan Basin Visitor Center, 5396 VT Rte. 105, Brunswick. Join Abenaki craftspeople and basket makers to learn about the significance of black ash trees in Abenaki culture and their use in basket making. Come help pound ash trunks and learn how ash splints are made into baskets. Volunteer pounders are needed. Lunch is a potluck, so please bring a dish to share.  

For information about other planned activities, visit go.uvm.edu/vtucfevents. To list an event in your community, contact Ginger Nickerson, UVM Extension forest pest education coordinator, at ginger.nickerson@uvm.edu.

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