Tree Check Month for Asian longhorned Beetle

Did you know that August has been the first ever Tree Check Month? Yup- organized by the great folks over at USDA APHIS, Tree Check Month is an effort to get everyone to take ten minutes to look at their backyard trees, and look for pests or damage on those trees.

 

Want to participate? Here's a short list of resources if you want to check your trees for Asian longhorned beetle or other tree pests:

 

This weekend you should take a moment to go outside, take a look at your trees, and if you see any signs that they might be infested with Asian longhorned beetles, report it here!

 

Now booking for events in late October!

Did you know our awesome Asian longhorned beetle costume is on tour? That's right, every year we lend our costume out to at least a dozen (often more) non-profits and state agencies when we don't need it. The costume lending season is from Labor Day through Memorial Day- essentially, the school year. Our costumes go to baseball games, parades, state fairs, TEDx talks, Landscaper conventions… you name it.

 

Here's how it works

  • You email us at info@dontmovefirewood.org
  • Include the event dates, event name, the anticipated attendance, and where we can send you a rather large box
  • You commit to sending it back to us, or to the next user, on your budget and PROMPTLY
  • We send you a confirmation if it will be available, and then… you get to borrow it!
  • You send us at least two or three high quality photos of you using the costume at your event

 

In September and October our ALB costume is going to events in Vermont, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and Massachusetts. We are now booking for the weekend of October 19th and onwards. Send us a note if you want to borrow it!

 

Please note that right now we do not have an Emerald ash borer costume. We are working to remedy that problem ASAP. Thanks for your understanding!

Mini Donuts and Big Beetles

Don't Move Firewood rocks the Heath Fair

by Annalena Barrett

 

Last weekend Julia and I found ourselves frolicking around the fairgrounds of Heath, Massachusetts in our wondrous Asian Longhorned Beetle costume. The Heath Fair was a true country fair with contests for the best summer squash and most weight pulled by a lawn mower. This was very different from the music festivals and farmers markets we have gotten used to, and it actually ended up being one of my favorite events of the summer. This had a little to do with the fact that our booth was stationed next to the mini doughnut stand, and a lot to do with the conversations we had throughout the course of the weekend.

 

There is a sweet spot in outreach in which we have new information to present to someone, and they are willing to listen and engage. Although speaking with someone who used to work for the Department of Conservation and Recreation who is an expert on invasives is a great interaction, that person probably already knows not to move firewood. At some events we experience the opposite, where people don’t know about the issue, but also do not care to learn about it.

 

It also helped that the Heath Fair had a lot of people in a really good mood, like this police officer.

 

At the Heath Fair it seemed like there were a lot of people who did not know much about Don’t Move Firewood, but were excited to learn. Many of the people we spoke to spent a lot of time in the woods either for livelihood or for recreation, but it was clear that this demographic was concerned about saving their trees, which was great starting point for our conversations.

Five Years of Worcester, viewed by DMF

Field Trip to Worcester MA

By Annalena Barrett

 

Worcester Massachusetts is now in its fifth year of fighting the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) and so far, they’ve cut down about thirty thousand trees. One illustration of how the eradication efforts have been paying off in how many beetles are bring found. Last year, thirteen beetles were found, but only one has surfaced in 2013, at least so far. Recently, I had the privilege of taking a fieldtrip to Worcester with some representatives of the Department of Conservation and Recreation to see the work happening on the Asian longhorned beetle.

(address removed from picture via digital editing)

We arrived just a few days after that one beetle I just mentioned had been found and were actually able to get up close and personal with a living Asian longhorned beetle. In general, I like bugs and did not expect to be unsettled by this encounter, but let me tell you, this beetle was huge and creepy enough to make my hair stand on end.

 

After this exciting but unpleasant encounter, we headed off clad in hardhats to see some tree removal. Everyone took turns using binoculars to try and spot the ALB damage signs in the upper branches of the trees, not the easiest task to be sure. From there, we got to see some tree surveyors in action a few blocks away. One person was upside-down in the tree looking at every inch of every branch, while another showed us what equipment, knots, and movements were needed to get into a tree and survey it.

The rest of the day was spent walking through all the essential steps of the eradication program from the lot where the city’s trees were brought to be chipped and rechipped to ensure it was no longer inhabitable by the ALB, all the way to the reforestation efforts. It was tremendous to see how hard people are working to get Worcester looking leafy and green again.

 

The LEAF interns visit Don’t Move Firewood

LEAF at Third Thursday in Pittsfield MA

by Annalena Barrett

 

Third Thursday is a monthly street festival that takes place in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. We picked a swelteringly hot day to attend, but luckily we had three fabulous LEAF interns and their mentor with us to keep the booth lively.

 

What is a LEAF intern you ask?  They are high school students participating in Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF), a paid four-week internship program created by The Nature Conservancy.

 

 

The three girls we got to work with had just come back from a two-week stint in Martha’s Vineyard and would spend their last two weeks in Sheffield, Massachusetts getting to explore the Berkshires while working on various conservation projects. All three attend an environmental charter school in Boston, and reported that the past two weeks had been a pretty extreme change of pace from their usual urban setting.

LEAF aims to reach out to populations that have become underrepresented in the conservation movement so that future generations will be stronger and more diverse. It was heartening to see juniors and seniors in high school already doing meaningful conservation work and leaping at the opportunity to sport and Asian Longhorned Beetle costume despite the ninety-degree weather. To learn more about the LEAF internship, click here.

 

The LEAF mentor, Ariana Kosmides, sent us this happy update from after the event! "Cashe, Carenne and Aliyah loved handing out fans to help everyone combat the heat and giving Asian longhorn beetle tattoos to kids at the fair. It was a great opportunity for them to utilize their public speaking skills and peoples skills. Teaching others and answering questions about invasive beetles helped increase their knowledge and understanding of invasive species and the impact it has on our habitat." Thanks Ariana!

How about from Pennsylvania to New York?

Our advice column is in high demand! Wow! Keep it coming.

 

Dear Don't Move Firewood,

We are going camping twice in the next few weeks and would like to know if we can take our own firewood. We live in (northwestern) PA and will be going to (west central) NY and then also to (west central) PA. Could you tell us if we can transport our own wood, and in general, if and where can we ever transport wood? Thank you.

Yours,

Camper

 

Dear Camper,

You've got three questions here, so let's do them each one at a time.

 

1. Can you move firewood from your town in PA to your camping destination in NY?

Nope, that'd be illegal. New York prohibits the movement of untreated firewood from out of state, and also prohibits movement over 50 miles (your distance is more than that). You'll need to purchase wood near your NY camping area. Here's the pertinent link on that one; http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/44008.html

 

2. Can you move firewood from your town in PA to where you want to camp in PA?

Your proposed trip is farther than 50 miles away, and the state agencies of PA strongly discourage moving firewood that far. From a strictly legal perspective, because you are not in a federally quarantined county, it is permissable. But it is not a great idea. Read more here: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/thingstoknow/firewoodadvisory/

 

3. In general, where can you ever transport wood?

This is a great question. If you are moving firewood a short distance (under 10 miles), and you are not in a quarantined area, and you are not crossing any major boundaries of states or counties, that's pretty much considered fine to do. For instance, if I cut up a tree in my backyard because it was too close to the house and I was worried it'd blow over in a storm, and I wanted to take it across town to my uncles place (let's say its a 20 minute drive) because he has a wood burning stove, that's fine. Now- take note. If I was cutting that same tree down because it was killed by some unknown bug, and it was riddled with holes and woodpecker damage, I would NOT take it to my uncle's house, because I might spread whatever was in my tree to his property. Instead, I'd burn it in my backyard fire pit whenever I wanted to roast some hot dogs.

 

Hope that helps!

From Canada to the USA?

Dear Don't Move Firewood,

I have broken pieces of 1×12 spruce that is kiln dried. It is used for building shelves, etc. It is not pressure treated, stained or painted. Can I bring it from Canada to the USA to burn as firewood?

Yours,

Firewood User

 

Dear Firewood User,
Your question initially had me stumped, because the regulations for border crossing depend on your direction of crossing, and also what type of wood you are bringing over the border. So let's review: you are going from Canada to the USA, so we need to know the US Customs and Border Protection regulation. And spruce is a "softwood" species (like pine).

 

Here's your answer; it can be brought from Canada to the US if it is clearly labeled as per this excerpt from the US Customs and Border Protection Firewood FAQ

Softwood (such as spruce, pine, fir, etc.) firewood (non-commercial) must be accompanied by a treatment certificate or attached commercial treatment label declaring that the firewood was heat treated at 56 C (minimal core temperature) for 30 minutes and an inspection free from pest.

 

There! So, if your 1×12 spruce has heat treatment stamps, or stapled on labels that indicate that it is kiln dried (both are possible) then you should probably be OK. But if your wood is entirely unlabeled, you stand a fair chance of having it confiscated at the border, which would be a waste of wood and you might be subject to fines. Now, I sort of doubt that your scrap wood is labeled, so even though kiln dried clean scrap that was stored inside is pretty darn safe firewood, you are still subject to the regulation as written… so it might be best to just use it on site and not try to bring it over the border.

 

Good luck, and I hope you enjoy your trip!