Arbor Day is around the corner

With Earth Day festivities winding down, Don’t Move Firewood is gearing up for one of our favorite days of the year- Arbor Day! To celebrate, we are putting out a news release with lots of great advice for how to care for the trees in your life, and protect them from forest pests. Enjoy…



Tree-killing insects and diseases are cutting short the lives of trees at a high cost to Americans

ARLINGTON, VA—April 23, 2012 – On April 27, millions of Americans will observe Arbor Day by planting new trees. While planting trees is important to the well-being of our forests, it is just as critical to learn how to protect both new and older trees from damage by invasive insects and diseases. The death of large, mature trees due to these pests can be devastating to neighborhoods, parks, and natural areas.


When Julius Sterling Morton declared the first Arbor Day in 1872 in Nebraska, he was ahead of his time in understanding the value of trees. According to the U.S. Forest Service, a 20-year-old tree providing shade on private property can return to the homeowner an average of $102 in annual energy savings, while only costing $15 to plant and maintain. A public tree that same age, such as the ones you find on your street, returns $96 in annual energy savings, storm water runoff reduction, cleaner air, higher property values, and other benefits for every $36 spent on planting, mulching, pruning, and other care. Over its lifetime, a large tree in the U.S. Northeast, for example, will provide almost $6,000 in these benefits.


In addition to the monetary value trees provide, a poll conducted by The Nature Conservancy found that 95 percent of the public consider trees to be an important part of the character and quality of life where they live, and that 93 percent are concerned about the insects and diseases that kill trees.


“Unfortunately, tens of thousands of trees are destroyed by invasive tree-killing insects and diseases every year,” said Leigh Greenwood, Don’t Move Firewood campaign manager, The Nature Conservancy. “On Arbor Day, if everyone makes a commitment to take simple steps, like not moving firewood when they travel or camp, we can work together as a nation to save both newly planted and already existing trees from being lost from our roadsides, backyards, and natural areas.”


The dangers of exotic forest pests in North America first became evident in the late 1800s with the arrival of white pine blister rust on infested pine seedlings as well as the accidental introduction of the hardwood-loving spongy moth. Chestnut blight soon followed, and this blight spread rapidly across the continent, killing millions of mature chestnut trees. Over the last hundred years, other introduced species of invasive insects and diseases have killed tens of millions of trees in cities, towns, and forests across the country. These tree-killing pests include Dutch elm disease, Asian longhorned beetle, emerald ash borer, thousand cankers disease, hemlock wooly adelgid, sudden oak death, Sirex woodwasp, and many others.


“Prevention by everyday citizens is the key to averting widespread devastation of urban and backyard trees as well as wild forests,” said Greenwood. “Many of these insects and diseases can only be stopped by destroying the trees that are infested – a necessary but undesirable method that is most clearly tragic when entire neighborhoods lose their precious tree cover.”


Arbor Day tree protection tips:


  • Buy your trees and plants from a reputable source, and purchase certified, pest-free nursery stock whenever possible.


  • Tree-killing pests can be found in a variety of wood products. Most problematic are firewood, brush, yard waste, tree debris, and re-used wood packaging material. Avoid the long-range movement of these materials to help slow the spread of pests. Buy, use, and dispose of these wood products locally.


  • If you have been camping or hiking in a forested area, clean your equipment, boots, animals, and gear before returning home so not to spread unwanted forest pests or invasive plant seeds.


  • Obtain firewood near the location where you will burn it – that means the wood was cut in a nearby forest, in the same county, or preferably within 10 miles from where you’ll have your fire. Take care to respect all state and local regulations on the movement of firewood and other unprocessed wood – some areas are subject to serious fines for violations. For more information, visit
  • Be on the lookout for invasive pests, and if you notice an insect or tree disease you don’t recognize, take a photo or obtain a specimen of it, and compare it to Web site photos of the suspected pest. A good resource to help in identification is:
  • If you believe you have found a new outbreak of an invasive insect or disease, contact your state department of agriculture:





The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than one million members have been responsible for the protection of more than 18 million acres in the United States and have helped preserve more than 117 million acres in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific. Visit us on the Web at



To learn more about how to prevent forest pests from destroying forests, log onto








Why we share our costumes

Don't Move Firewood offers a lot of free goods and services to anyone doing education or outreach about the hazards of spreading pests on firewood. We give away tens of thousands of our materials each year, create dozens of custom posters for various state and local entities, and serve as a focal point for the efforts of many campaigns that need a centralized and accurate website to anchor their outreach messaging. But their is one thing we do that is almost free, very effective at reaching the public, and really funny- and that's our costume share program.


Through the last five years, we've needed to acquire two bug costumes (emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle) and a costume that looks like a piece of firewood for our use in making educational videos. And during the mid-summer months, we use those costumes at our own outreach events, like farmers markets and music festivals. But the rest of the year, instead of being ensconced in mothballs, those costumes are available to anyone that asks- for nearly free. We merely ask that anyone that wants it for an outreach event must cover the cost of shipping and insurance. So where do our costumes go from September to May? And what do they do?


Parades in New York and Thunder Bay, Canada. Landscaping Expos in Massachusetts and Colorado. Campground fireside chats in New Hampshire. This fall, our EAB costume is already booked for the World Championship of Little League in PA- especially appropriate because of the threat to ash trees and baseball bats.


We share our costumes because we are constantly trying to think of the best (and most cost effective) way to share every aspect of our campaign across all of North America. Do you have a need for an emerald ash borer costume? Asian longhorned beetle costume? Or our very funny firewood costume? Email us at, and describe your dates needed, costume preference, and what event(s) it would be for, and we'll see if it is available. Resources as quirky and cool as bug costumes are meant to be shared.

Bringing wood into National Parks

From Acadia to Yosemite, as camping seasons approaches, a lot of folks are going to want to bring firewood into the National Parks. And informed people are probably going to be thinking, "Is this legal? Is this a good idea?" Well, here we go!


Dear Don't Move Firewood,

I will be camping in Acadia in August,on the way there I will be visiting relatives in New Harbor ME. Am I able to bring firewood from Pemaquid Point into Acadia? 

Thank you,



Dear Toby,

Excellent question- you bring up three crucial points in this simple idea.

1) Is the within-state movement of wood from "Pemaquid Point into Acadia" too far? Or is it OK?

2) Can within-state wood be brought into National Parks?

3) Can within-state wood go into Acadia, specifically?


So let's do this one at a time


1) Is Pemaquid Point into Acadia National Park too far? Simple answer; Too far. I asked Google Maps, and the road distance is listed as 119 miles. As the coastline of Maine is quite convoluted, with the roads being very twisty, I'll allow that maybe as the bug flies it is more like 80 miles. That's still far more than the recommended upper limit (50 miles) for within-state movement of firewood. The 50 mile limit is our rule of thumb here at Don't Move Firewood, and it is also what the Maine Forest Service uses on its website (


2) Can within-state wood be brought into National Parks? Complicated answer; Really depends on the park. For instance, Yosemite discourages firewood from more than 50 miles away, while Great Smoky Mountains has some very strongly worded regulations that prohibit the entrance of firewood from most places. The best advice I can provide is if you are coming from within 50 miles of the park, and feel strongly that you want to bring your own wood, then you should use the power of the internet to figure out if it is permissible or not. The best idea is to just leave it at home, of course.


3) Can within-state wood go into Acadia, specifically? Simple answer; They want you to leave firewood at home. The Acadia National Park website says, "Firewood brought in from other areas may contain non-native insect species that pose a serious threat to Acadia National Park's resources… Please leave your firewood at home." So that's a pretty strong statement. Park officials do not want you to bring firewood into the park.


So Toby, here's your final answer. Pemaquid Point is too far away to safely bring firewood to Acadia. Also, Acadia's staff ask that you do not bring firewood. Therefore- please do not take firewood from your relative's place all the way to Acadia. Buy it in-park, or near the edge of the park, instead.