NORTH BENNINGTON -- On Friday, May 2, 15 fifth graders and 22 sixth graders from the Village School participated in an ash tree tagging event at the Mile-Around Woods. The students had spent the week studying emerald ash borer, an invasive pest of ash trees, with teachers Denise Sklepowicz and Pat Gibbons in preparation for the outing.

Theirs was one of several ash tree tagging events held around the state as part of Ash Awareness Week, sponsored by the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation.

There are over 160 million ash trees in Vermont, and all are vulnerable to attack by the emerald ash borer. While it hasn’t yet been seen in the state, it was found in 2013 in Stephentown, N.Y., just a few miles from the Vermont border. Last week’s events were meant to celebrate this important component of our forests and help draw attention to the threat posed by EAB.

The outing was organized by the Bennington County Conservation District and was hosted by Mike Rosenthal, volunteer Forest Pest First Responder, with help from Bennington County Forester Kyle Mason, MAUHS student Nicole Snow, and other volunteers.

For more information on the emerald ash borer or on the Forest Pest First Responder program, see www.vtinvasives.org.