Ash tree mapping volunteers needed

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is once again looking for Citizen Scientist volunteers to help researchers collect scientific data on ash trees by mapping the locations of these trees within the Park.

The last three volunteer mapping days for the year will occur within the next 30 days. The project, which will take several years to complete, will be used to monitor future threats from a non-native insect.

Volunteers are being invited to join park biologists and educators during field days on September 11, September 25 and October 2 (9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on each of those days). Volunteers will learn how to identify ash and other common trees found within the Smoky Mountains, read a topographic map, and use a GPS (Global Positioning System) unit.

Ash trees are at risk from the invasive, non-native Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), a beetle that can travel undetected in firewood and nursery stock from quarantined areas of the country into new locations in the Park. In 2009 the park installed EAB traps as part of a detection plan.

The traps are the bright purple triangular objects hanging in trees near campgrounds and picnic areas. U.S. Department of Agriculture research indicates the beetles are attracted to the color purple and a lure that smells like a stressed ash tree. The trap exterior is coated with a sticky material which captures insects for periodic removal by park staff.

So far no EABs have been found.

For more information on the EAB, please click here.

To volunteer, contact Ranger Susan Simpson at 865-436-1200, ext. 762, to RSVP and for the meeting location.

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