DORSET -- During the week of April 27 through May 3, the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation's Urban and Community Forestry Program, in coordination with the UVM Extension, the U.S. Forest Service, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, USDA APHIS, and many dedicated volunteers, will host a series of events that celebrate the valuable contributions that ash trees make to Vermont's environment and economy, and to the quality of life of Vermonters. Ash Tree Awareness week will kick off on Sunday April 27, with guided nature walks in nearly every Vermont county. The walks are scheduled to take place throughout the day, and in addition to celebrating ash trees are meant to raise awareness about the non-native Emerald Ash Borer. (EAB)

Vermont is home to more than 160,000,000 ash trees that reside in our forests, shade our lawns and beautify our town commons. Birds such as the bullfinch, woodcock, and nuthatch enjoy the seeds of ash trees, while red headed and pileated woodpeckers, owls and wood ducks nest in ash cavities.

In 2002, a shiny green insect about a third of an inch long, known as the Emerald Ash Borer, was discovered in Michigan where it has since killed more than 30 million trees. Originating from Asia, these insects have spread eastward most likely due to the sale and transportation of firewood, and infested nursery stock. Although it has not yet been found in the state of Vermont, infected trees have been found in the bordering states of New York, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and in the province of Quebec.


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The Emerald Ash Borer has killed tens of millions of trees in 15 states across the U.S.

The "Celebrate Ash Awareness" nature walks will provide participants with the opportunity to view areas inhabited by ash trees, ranging from forested areas on the Green Mountain National Forest and Vermont State Parks to town greens. Participants will learn how to identify ash trees, become more aware of the impacts of Emerald Ash Borer and its significance to our ash trees in Vermont. The public is encouraged to participate in one of the nature walks listed below -- there is no cost and no pre-registration is necessary.

Local walks:

Bennington county: Kyle Mason, Bennington County Forester 10 a.m. to noon at Emerald Lake State Park. Park and meet at the maintenance shop near park entrance.

A list of additional events taking place throughout the state of Vermont in conjunction with Ash Tree Awareness Week can be found at www.vtinvasives.org/ashawarenessweek.