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Tree Northampton Presentations

In August we helped put together a series of presentations for the nonprofit urban ecological stewardship group Tree Northampton (http://www.treenorthampton.org) after director Jonathan Gottsche contacted us looking to come up with presentations tailored to tree professionals, conservation volunteers, and members of the public interested in tree health.

Tree Northampton wanted to learn more about the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) infestation in Worcester, including the history of the invasion, the response, and successes of the program. They also wanted to learn about other invasive threats to native trees that could impact Northampton. We arranged for two separate events: a presentation in Florence covering invasive pests that impact Massachusetts, and a field trip to Worcester to see firsthand the damage caused by ALB. The Florence presentation was done by Ken Gooch and Nicole Keleher of DCR, and the Worcester field trip and presentation was led by Linda Hubley and Louis Adams of the ALB Cooperative Eradication Program located in Worcester.

The Florence presentation covered 6 different invasive threats: ALB, emerald ash borer, southern pine beetle, winter moth, oak wilt disease, and pine wilt. Feedback from attendees was positive, with many asking for additional programs in the future and praising the competence and knowledge of the speakers.

Later in the month members of Tree Northampton took a tour of the streets and neighborhoods of Worcester that have been impacted by ALB. Seeing the damage and results of recovery efforts first-hand helped bring the scale of the infestation into sharp perspective. As one attendee noted:

This workshop and field trip was an excellent day of learning about Asian Longhorn Beetle signs, biology, and process of handling the crisis. The Powerpoint presentation given by Lou Adams and the samples of ALB damage were eye-opening, and clearly illustrated the insect and the issue.  As a member of the Northampton Public Shade Tree Commission, I found it extremely useful to understand the complexity of the coordinated effort involved in setting up and running a Command Incident System.  I had never imagined the degree of planning and effort that goes into responding to an ALB outbreak.  The field trip brought to life what we’d learned indoors, and once again reinforced the scale of the problem.  While it was sobering and sad to see once tree-lined streets now open and sunny, the extensive new plantings of resistant trees were encouraging.

Another participant commented, “Now it makes much more sense.” A succinct reminder of the power an experience like this brief trip can have.

Our outreach program is always happy to help arrange programs and presentations, free of charge, focusing on Asian longhorned beetle and other invasive insects. If your group is interested in a program for green industry professionals, elementary school classrooms, scouts, or other audiences, please contact Joshua Bruckner at 617-626-1764 or at joshua.bruckner@state.ma.us

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