Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door

Community Ash Tree Survey Project Workshop


Nathan Siegert from the U.S. Forest Service giving a presentation on the Emerald Ash Borer.

At the request of a community member, the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, Forestry Resources Program in collaboration with the US Forest Service and USDA-Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service provided a community workshop. The workshop took place on May 3rd, which began at 5:00 pm, at the Akwesasne Housing Authority Training Center. The purpose of the workshop was to explain what the Emerald Ash Borer community volunteer program is. At the workshop community members learned about the background and life cycle of the Emerald Ash Borer, Emerald Ash Borer impacts to tribal community forests, how many trees are needed and why community members are being asked to help, ash tree peeling and information about a fall workshop. Community members could also view a sampling map and find out how they can participate.

For those who are not yet aware of what the Emerald Ash Borer is, it is a very small but very destructive beetle. Metallic green in color, its slender body measures 1/2 inch long and 1/8 inch wide. The average adult beetle can fit easily on a penny. Native to China and Easter Asia, the Emerald Ash Borer probably arrived in North America hidden in wood packing materials commonly used to ship consumer goods, auto parts, and other such products. Although no one can say for certain when the Emerald Ash Borer arrived in south-eastern Michigan, the scientific community now believes the beetle may have been present for up to 12 years before it was detected, based on its widespread distribution and destruction.

The beetle is responsible for the death or decline of tens of millions of ash trees. They have been detected in 13 states, including New York and parts of Canada. It is extremely difficult to determine whether an ash tree is or is not infested with the Emerald Ash Borer because the tree decline is gradual. Early symptoms of an infestation might include dead branches near the top of the tree or wild, leafy shoots growing out from its lower trunk. D-shaped exit holes and bark splits exposing S-shaped tunnels are significant signs of the Emerald Ash Borer. Woodpecker activity might also indicate the presence of Emerald Ash Borer.

The SRMT is in the process of getting community members to volunteer to have one of their ash trees girdled on their property to check for the Emerald Ash Borer. There is an incentive for anyone who allows one of their ash trees to be girdled. Their name will be put in for a draw to win a tree. Whoever wins a tree, will have it taken care of for the first two years after it is planted.

This Emerald Ash Borer can have a devastating effect on our way of life here in Akwesasne, because they do destroy the Black Ash trees, which is the main source of splints for basket makers. It might not seem important to some, but you don't want to wait until they have completely destroyed the ash trees in our area before anyone takes action. The SRMT is taking proactive measures to ensure that our Ash trees are going to be alive and well for the next seven generations.


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