A beautiful evening with Tanglewood on Parade

Branching out on the Lawn at Tanglewood

by Sean Mahoney

While it may seem a deviation from our regular amped up musical taste of banjo and “bumping bass” (I must credit Natalie for introducing me to that phrase) the Don’t Move Firewood crew found ourselves fitting right in with the picnickers streaming onto the lawn in Lenox for the 66th Tanglewood on Parade.


The weather was perfect for the occasion. Not a menacing cloud was above us as the soothing sounds of string quartets made their way from the garden.  What a relaxing respite from a long summer on the road! I recommend to anyone traveling through the Berkshires to spend at least one night out on the lawn watching the night creep in over Stockbridge Bowl and experience what Tanglewood is all about.



In the spirit of Tanglewood I have included a small artistic expression of my emotions for such a wonderful place.


Warm Soft Grass

Rolling Hills Afar

Summer Wind

Woodwind Light

Maestro Conducts by Sight

Starry Cool Night

Candles Sleep

Notes Move Away

 Slumber Taunts

If you are curious to read more about how the Boston Symphony Orchestra made its summer home in the Berkshires please click here.


See you on the lawn with your Don’t Move Firewood fan in hand!

Oh, the places we go!

The Don’t Move Firewood  trip to the Newport Folk Festival can only be described by one word: Adventure.

by Natalie Garcia


The weather for the weekend called for rain. Fortunately all of day one, Poseidon was a fan of all the awesome music that was playing and decided to keep the rain away. We got the weekend started off right, and I was really excited by how many people we were able to talk to — more than 1,000 total! I was prize wheeling like it’s my job (wait, maybe that’s because it is?).


It was great to see the enthusiasm in people that knew about the firewood issue, and even more awesome to talk to new people that hadn’t heard about us, promised to let others know, and to not move their firewood anymore. One funny thing about the Newporters was that they kept telling us that handing out Frisbees was “against the rules” – who knew that all of these hipsters were such goodie two shoes?


Then of course, when it was time for us to pack up for the night, the heavens opened above Fort Adams State Park and the whole place was soaked. Great.


How were we and the 10,000 other people going to make it out of this Fort dry? The answer was, VERY SLOWLY. After the first sound of thunder, it was pretty much a mass exodus out of there, and since we were parked in the very back we were very stuck. It took us 1 hour of waiting – reading in our car – and one hour of traffic – watching a movie and getting a treat from happy festival streakers. Yup. Two gentlemen decided to let everyone stuck in traffic have a much needed giggle.



Then somehow on our return trip, Google maps decided to send us through Connecticut without me knowing. Basically I got us lost, and I had to navigate us to back to the Mass Turnpike. There was a silver lining to this detour, the Dirt Store and Lake Chargoggagoggmanchaug… two incredibly bizarre and random things we spotted on our short (de)tour of New England.



New signs in Massachusetts say Stop Invasive Pests, Keep Firewood Local

If you’ve been driving through Massachusetts lately, you may have seen electronic signs on the highway saying “Stop Invasive Pests. Keep Firewood Local.” Are you wondering what is up? Well, we’re here to help. When you keep firewood local, you are helping prevent the spread of unwanted invasive pests that can hitchhike on contaminated firewood. Pests like the Asian longhorned beetle, emerald ash borer, and spongy moth kill your trees and cause serious damage to natural forests and landscapes.

Don’t Move Firewood is a campaign to spread the word about this problem. We’re excited about the Massachusetts highways signs, and hope that you’ve come to our site because you saw one. To learn more about the firewood issue, please cruise this website. If you want to help us educate your friends and family, please friend us on facebook at facebook.com/dontmovefirewood

Thanks for visiting, and drive safe!

Unwanted firewood

What if you have firewood that you don't want? What's the best way to get rid of the stuff?


Dear Don't Move Firewood,

I recently bought a house that has a stack of firewood in the back corner of my lot. I won't be using the firewood due to allergies. 

What is the best removal plan?


Concerned Cara


Dear Concerned Cara,

Congratulations on buying a house! That's exciting. Getting rid of the firewood shouldn't be too hard, even if you don't want to burn it yourself. Here are some options:

– If you have a large lot and it isn't in the way, you could just leave it there forever. Depends on your planned use of the land, yes, but it is truly doing no harm ecologically by just sitting there, so that's the simplest method. (NOTE: after originally posting this blog, I was kindly reminded that in some parts of the country, piles of firewood near your house can increase the risks of other pests like carpenter ants, fire ants, or termites setting up shop in or near your home. Further, in the fire-prone parts of the country, firewood piles can be dangerous if there is wildfire in the area. Therefore, unused firewood piles should be a long distance from your house- I'd guess a safe distance is 100ft or more!)

– I recently read that firewood can be used on-site in the making of very water-efficient raised beds for gardening! How cool! So if you are planning on doing any raised flower beds or vegetable beds in the spring, please look up "Hugelkultur" online for a really neat way to use extra firewood in your gardens. It will reduce the amount of money you need to spend on gardening soil, too! Win-win.

– You don't want to burn it because of your allergies (I presume you are very sensitive to indoor wood particulates) but someone else could burn it, of course. One thing you could do is give it away to a local friend or neighbor that is very nearby. For instance, if you had someone just down the street that burns wood in the winter, you could offer it to them. Moving firewood less than a few miles is quite harmless from the perspective of spreading insects and diseases. It is best to keep it under 10 miles at the top limit, please. And don't cross any town, county or state borders, as this increases the likelyhood that you could inadvertantly be violating a law or regulation.

– At last resort, you could take it to either your solid waste disposal (i.e. town dump) or municipal composting facility, if you have one. I know in my town, the municipal composting place takes logs up to 16" in diameter- pretty huge and certainly bigger than cut firewood. So once you have the time, you could look up your new local services and figure that out.

Good luck, and thanks for asking!



Grey Foxes and Emerald Ash Borers

L.E.A.F.s rustling in the Bluegrass @ Grey Fox

by Sean Mahoney


Every summer, four thousand wayward travelers descend upon the pristine hayfields at the Walsh Farm in Oak Hill, NY to the Greyfox Bluegrass festival. Sounds of banjo and fiddle can be heard around nearly every campsite, and even a hoot and a holler from the dance stage.


Hanging out at the festival for four days is awesome enough, but on Friday morning after the rains lifted off the fields, something even more amazing than the actual festival happened; we were greeted by fresh outreach reinforcements courtesy of the Nature Conservancy’s LEAF program.


That day, Natalie and I had the pleasure of working with Bless, Gerardo, Mike, and their summer mentor Jim who were spending a month long internship learning and working alongside Conservancy staff in the western Massachusetts.


After getting acquainted with some of the quirks of folk life, including banjos, small children busking for change with scratchy covers of “She’ll be Comin’ Round the Mountain” and “Sally Goodin”, flowing tie-dyed pants, men in kilts, and the infamous caravans of VW busses, we were able to convince Bless and Jim to get in the festival spirit by putting on the emerald ash borer costume.

At first they were a little nervous about spreading the Don’t Move Firewood message, but soon enough it was hard  to keep them supplied with materials to hand out because they were moving in full swing and talking to nearly everyone that passed by. Ready with extra Frisbees in hand, Mike was ready to get the message out to campers of all ages.


Thanks to the help of the entire LEAF crew, we were able to reach over 2,400 people with the message that transporting firewood can be dangerous to the health of the forests and trees.  It was welcome change to have our outreach team nearly triple in size- I wish we could keep them for all of our future festivals lined up this summer! Natalie and I really missed their energy and humor on the road to Newport Folk Festival the following weekend.


So here’s a final message to the LEAF crew: Enjoy the rest of the summer guys, and keep an eye out for Asian longhorned beetle and emerald ash borer when you return home to Boston.  

Hunting with the Wasp Watchers of Massachusetts

Wasp catching with the Wasp Watchers of Massachusetts

by Natalie Garcia


I have never hunted anything in my life, well not until now at least. In July, the DMF team was very lucky to be able to participate in Wasp Watchers Massachusetts, a citizen scientist program that uses native wasps to monitor for signs of the emerald ash borer. I was ecstatic to run around and hunt wasps that were returning with their prey, cause who doesn’t love the thrill of the chase?

First thing Monday morning on a hot, dry, beautiful summer day, we were off and it was perfect weather for pursuing Cerceris fumipennis or the smoky-winged wasp. This small wasp loves to prey upon buprestid beetles in order to raise their young and can be key to EAB early detection. We were searching for the females, because they build their nests in dry, sandy areas and are the ones that do the actual searching for beetles to provide food to their young.


And let me tell you, these are some hard working ladies. When we arrived almost all of the nests were empty; they were already out hunting for borers and beetles. After about 30 minutes of looking at nests and becoming familiar with the wasp homes, some Cerceris began to return to their nests with their fresh prey.


I felt like I was 8 years old again. It was fascinating how many different borers we were able to collect. In a little under an hour we caught 10 beetles. Not so bad for first timers! We were even able to catch an Agrilus species borer, which is in the same family as EAB and the genus that Wasp Watchers are really interested in finding. Total score. What more could we ask for?


Fortunately, this was not the only time that we’ll be able to adventure into the Berkshires and search for these beetles. Sean and I are going to be able to survey about once a week and we will make sure to keep you posted on any exciting finds we have in the future. Can’t wait to feel the wind in my hair, with my net in my hand, while monitoring for invasive bugs!





Editor's note:

The remarkable effectiveness of wasp monitoring was underscored by the recent discovery of emerald ash borer in Connecticut by state wasp monitoring efforts. To learn more, visit this press release: https://www.ct.gov/dep/cwp/view.asp?Q=508244&A=4173


The Continental Dialogue on Non-native Forest Insects and Diseases

Did you know that the Continental Dialogue on Non-native Forest Insects and Diseases is the organization that founded Don't Move Firewood? Yup, way back in the prehistory of 2007, the Dialogue (for short) obtained the necessary funding and motivation to start the Don't Move Firewood campaign. So it is with great pleasure that we announce the Dialogue's Eighth meeting, to be held in conjunction with the 2012 Arbor Day conference in Sacramento CA. Here's the full Save The Date notice:



NOVEMBER 13, 2012

The Eighth Meeting of the Continental Dialogue on Non-Native Forest Insects and Diseases


Location: Sacramento Convention Center, Sacramento California


Date and Time: November 13th, 2012 from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.


Details: The meeting will be held in conjunction with the Arbor Day Foundation’s Partners in Community Forestry National Conference. Information about the Continental Dialogue on Non-Native Forest Insects and Diseases meeting as well as the Arbor Day Partners Conference can be found online at: www.arborday.org/pcf.


Agenda: A draft agenda will soon be shared and made available on the Dialogue’s website (www.continentalforestdialogue.org). This year’s speakers will include local partners, educators, business professionals, and Dialogue members. All are welcome, and a diverse range of topics will be covered.


Updates and expert discussions on current Dialogue activities:

  • –  Healthy Urban Tree Initiative
  • – Don’t Move Firewood and Firewood Outreach Coordinating Initiative
  • – Promoting the new documentary: Trees, Pests & People
  • – Prevention Initiative
  • – How to use Social Media to slow the spread
  • – Local Successes and Experiences


Registration: To register for the Dialogue meeting, please visit the Arbor Day Foundation Partners and Community Forestry Conference site (www.arborday.org/pcf).

Fees for the one day Dialogue Annual Meeting are $150/person ($175/person after October 22, 2012). This covers all meeting costs, lunch, snacks and an evening social mixer.


For more information about the Dialogue, or to join the Dialogue, please visit: www.continentalforestdialogue.org. For more information regarding meeting registration, please visit the Arbor Day conference website (www.arborday.org/pcf).

So you want your own costume?

A surprising number of people want their own emerald ash borer costume, or Asian longhorned beetle costume. While we are always happy to share our costume through our very cost-efficient costume share program, I can totally understand that anyone using a costume more than about three times a year could benefit from having their own. In response to getting these questions a fair amount, here's my new FAQ on bug costumes;


Who made your costumes?

Our EAB, along with several other EAB costumes around the country, was made by a volunteer in the midwestern US that has since passed away. Subsequent copies of her design have been made by many amateur and professional costume makers. Our ALB costume and our Log costume were made by a professional costume maker in the Washington DC area. If you would like the information for that professional costume maker, please email info@dontmovefirewood dot org, and we'll pass it along to you.


How would I go about making my own costume?

The easiest thing to do is to find a local well recommended costume maker, and show them a LOT of photos of what you want. Your best resource for bug costume making people is likely either your local university's theatre department, or any sort of community theatre group in your area. Ask them for recommendations on who is reliable and creative for their costume needs. Once you have that information, visit our facebook page www.facebook.com/dontmovefirewood to show your newly found costume maker our collection of bug costume photographs. Along with a few pictures of the actual insect itself, this should be enough to get your costume maker ready for action!


How much will it probably cost?

The cost of costumes is largely dependent on labor costs. Therefore, rough estimates are really hard because it depending on how fancy your costume is, and your local wages for this sort of thing. However, if I had to guess, I'd say the lowest range would be US$250 (free or nearly free labor, plus the cost of materials), and many costumes could reasonably cost over US$700 (medium costs of labor, plus materials).


Any special tips on costumes?

Two things; Ask the costume maker to make the costume so that you can have it dry cleaned (otherwise it will soon grow to smell bad), and also ask them to make it so it fits anyone from 5'4" to 6'2" or so. You don't want to make a costume that only fits super tall people, because that limits your pool of volunteers. Having the shirt and pants underneath not be integral to the costume is best, because it makes it easier to fit on many body types, and keep the laundering process simpler.


Best of luck with your costume making!



Giant EAB seen at the Bridge of Flowers

In the next of our series of blogs from the Don't Move Firewood summer interns, Natalie marauds around the gorgeous gardens at Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls as Esmeralda the Emerald Ash Borer.


Deerfield River Festival – EAB Invasion of the Bridge of Flowers

by Natalie Garcia


What’s 5’3”, has 2 antennae, is metallic green, and loves to run around on the Bridge of Flowers? That’s what a lot of people were trying to figure out in Shelburne Falls a couple of weeks ago when we were on our way to Deerfield River Festival. Well the answer is ME! I suited up, not as Natalie Garcia, but as Esmeralda the Emerald Ash Borer—a sassy borer with a big agenda–because what EAB doesn’t have a big agenda?



If you haven’t heard, these borers are bad news. They’ve been described by the USDA Forest Service as the “most destructive forest insect introduced into North America in recent history” having infested trees in 16 states as well as parts of Canada. In Michigan alone the EAB has killed more than 30 million ash trees. Pretty darn impressive for a bug that’s smaller than a penny!

So back to the point of this post, the Bridge of Flowers visitors were having a lot of fun speculating on what I was. Many people appeared to be alarmed by my presence, which they should be because I was there to stir up some trouble, but they listened to Sean and me tell them about invasive insects and the threats they pose.


After this escapade, it was finally time to go to Deerfield Fest. It turned out to be a friendly festival, filled with lots of whitewater lovers that luckily for us, also loved the idea of not moving firewood. It was also a great time for Sean and me to show off our sick Frisbee skills to everyone, needless to say we killed it… but not really.


Until next time, if you’re enjoying a nice walk through the forest, the Bridge of Flowers, or your favorite outdoor spot, keep your eyes out for signs of the not-so-big real emerald ash borer.