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Our January Outreach Impact

January is always a busy month for us, and serves as a perfect tone setter for the new year’s outreach. Even when it’s cold and snowy out there’s plenty of opportunities to inform different sectors of the public about Asian longhorned beetle and other threats to our Massachusetts forests!

Our first event was the Massachusetts Tree Wardens and Foresters Association annual meeting. This gathering was a mix of tree professionals and town employees from across the state seeking information about tree management practices and conservation efforts. The forest pest outreach program was there to inform them how to identify and report pests of concern. Tawny Simisky of UMass Extension School gave a talk about invasive insects including winter moth, gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, short-needle evergreen scale, and spotted lanternfly. Though lanternfly has not yet been found in Massachusetts, we took this opportunity to educate people on this destructive pest at our outreach table as well.

Spotted lanternfly ID cards that were available at our booth and available for distribution

The Massachusetts Municipal Association’s annual meeting is one of our biggest events each year, with over 1200 people attending this year. Attendees were a mix of municipal employees, town council members, and the general public. In addition to talking about the ongoing Asian longhorned beetle infestation and eradication program in Worcester, we were able to share information with numerous people who worked in or near towns with confirmed emerald ash borer infestations, setting the stage for future outreach and presentations to make action plans on pest control.

John Lebeaux, the MDAR Commissioner, stopped by our table to talk about invasive pests and our outreach efforts

The New England Fishing and Outdoor Expo provides an opportunity to reach outdoor enthusiasts, a very different but equally crucial audience – the general public has been responsible for many past detections of Asian longhorned beetle and emerald ash borer.

A glimpse at some of the vendors at the Fishing and Outdoor Expo

Throughout January we were able to impact over 300 people and distribute more than 1500 different items. It’s been a strong start to the year, and we plan on continuing our successful efforts through the rest of 2018!

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