When the Threat Hits Close to Home

Why the Don’t Move Firewood Booth was Especially Relevant at Tanglewood on Parade

by Katie Robb, Don't Move Firewood Summer Intern


The Boston Symphony Orchestra’s summer home, Tanglewood, offers what can only be considered a quintessential Berkshire experience. The crowds arrive with picnic baskets and blankets in hand, looking forward to the experience of listening to one of the country’s finest symphony orchestras perform outside on a fair summer evening. Tanglewood hosts a number of exciting events over the summer, including Tanglewood on Parade, which Don’t Move Firewood attended this August.


With the recent discovery that the Emerald Ash Borer has reached Boston, MA, our booth was especially relevant to the fair portion of the 30,000 guests that came in from the greater Boston area. Unfortunately, eradication on a large scale is no longer feasible for the emerald ash borer, making our message of slowing the insect particularly important.


dont move firewood summer intern outreach booth


On this particular day, our work was very much appreciated by those who stopped to talk with us. I saw how concerned and emotional many individuals became upon learning that the emerald ash borer had reached New England’s largest city. One woman was extremely upset and shared with me that she had been working hard to keep a 100 year old ash tree on her property healthy over the years. Another couple was concerned knowing that they had recently bought land containing many ash trees just north of Boston in New Hampshire; wondering how long it would be before their ash were under attack. Although most people who I spoke with had never heard of the emerald ash borer, realizing that it had become a present threat to the forests surrounding their homes, they were committed to learning more and invested in understanding what they could do to mitigate the problem. To most, I suggested that they take some of our pamphlets and insect identification cards and give them to neighbors and friends to increase awareness in their hometowns.


In addition to our timely relevance to the Boston community, this specific event targets a group of people who especially need to understand the impact of transporting firewood. The Berkshires is a popular vacation destination for those in the greater Boston area and the NYC metropolitan area who seek an opportunity to take a break from the city life. As thousands pour into Berkshire County every weekend, the risk of bringing in infested firewood increases. By attending popular tourist destinations in the Berkshires, such as Tanglewood, we can reach the people who we especially encourage to buy firewood locally to reduce the threat of introducing invasive species to the Berkshire forests.