Celebrating Ash Trees in Vermont

From Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation

ash treeDuring the week of April 27 – May 3, the Vermont Dept. of Forests, Parks and Recreation’s Urban and Community Forestry Program, in coordination with the UVM Extension, the U.S. Forest Service, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, USDA APHIS, and many dedicated volunteers, will host a series of events that celebrate the valuable contributions that ash trees make to Vermont’s environment and economy, and to the quality of life of Vermonters. Ash Tree Awareness week will kick off on Sunday April 27th, with guided nature walks in nearly every Vermont county. The walks are scheduled to take place throughout the day, and in addition to celebrating ash trees are meant to raise awareness about the non-native Emerald Ash Borer.

Vermont is home to more than 160,000,000 ash trees that reside in our forests, shade our lawns and beautify our town commons. Birds such as the bullfinch, woodcock, and nuthatch enjoy the seeds of ash trees, while red headed and pileated woodpeckers, owls and wood ducks nest in ash cavities. Ash wood is very dense, tough and strong, but also elastic – diversifying its many uses. The ash is used extensively to make bows, baskets, tool handles, baseball bats, hockey sticks, furniture veneer, traditional snowshoes and dog sleds and other wood products that require resilience.

In 2002, a shiny green insect about ½ inch long, known as the Emerald Ash Borer, was discovered in Michigan where it has since killed more than 30 million trees. Originating from Asia, these insects have spread eastward most likely due to the sale and transportation of firewood, and infested nursery stock. Although it has not yet been found in the state of Vermont, infected trees have been found in the bordering states of New York, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and in the province of Quebec. The Emerald Ash Borer has killed tens of millions of trees in 15 states across the U.S.

The “Celebrate Ash Awareness” nature walks will provide participants with the opportunity to view areas inhabited by ash trees, ranging from forested areas on the Green Mountain National Forest and Vermont State Parks to town greens. Participants will learn how to identify ash trees, become more aware of the impacts of Emerald Ash Borer and its significance to our ash trees in Vermont. The public is encouraged to participate in one of the nature walks listed below – there is no cost and no pre-registration is necessary.

Celebrate Ash Awareness Nature Walks in the Upper Valley

Orange County — Leader: Val Stori; Time: 10:00am-12:00pm; Location: FX Shea Forest in Corinth (UVLT-conserved in 2006); Contact: valstori@yahoo.com, 802-522-0017

Windsor County — Leader: Lisa Fisher, Quechee State Park Ranger; Time: 10:00am-12:00pm; Location: Quechee State Park Office; Contact: Milide1@yahoo.com, 802-295-2990

A list of additional events taking place throughout the state of Vermont in conjunction with Ash Tree Awareness Week can be found at: http://www.vtinvasives.org/ashawarenessweek