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Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Citizen Scientist Training November 1st

Posted on Oct 6, 2017

Although autumn is just beginning here in Western New York, the winter season will soon be upon us. The colder months, November through March to be exact, is the perfect time of year to search the area’s forests for an invasive forest pest known as Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA). HWA is an aphid-like insect, originating from Asia, which feeds off of the food storage cells below the needles of an Eastern Hemlock tree and hides itself under white woolly masses for protection. Within only a matter of 4-10 years an individual tree can succumb to an HWA infestation if left unnoticed. This deadly bug has been progressively moving closer to the area as it has spread throughout much of the eastern United States, leaving massive stands of hemlocks dead in their wake. With infestations recently found in Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area, Allegany State Park and the SUNY Fredonia College woodlot, its presence is becoming an increased threat to any forest within the county. Early detection of this particular pest is crucial as the spread of HWA can be managed. Collaborating organizations joined by a multitude of dedicated community members are working together to spread the word about HWA while slowing its actual spread throughout the county. While there is growing awareness of this invasive forest pest, these organizations and citizens are calling for assistance.

White masses indicative of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid infestation.

Throughout the winter months, the Roger Tory Peterson Institute (RTPI), Jamestown Community College (JCC) and Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC) will be teaming up to survey a number of sites within the area for the presence or absence of HWA. To start the season off, RTPI will host a Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Citizen Scientist training at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute on Wednesday November 1st from 6:00-7:00PM. During this training Conservation Technician Elyse Henshaw will present information on the impact HWA is having on forests throughout the eastern United States, identify signs and symptoms of an infestation and describe what to do if in fact they are found within the region. This training session will also introduce attendees to both traditional and novel methods of surveying and reporting results through a variety of avenues. Once equipped with knowledge, citizens are invited to assist in field surveys and work alongside RTPI, CWC and JCC researchers, conservationists and professors in search of gauging the health of our local forests. Survey dates will be announced later this year and those interested in joining should check www.rtpi.org for regular updates.

Any questions about the training session or survey efforts can be directed to Elyse Henshaw (RTPI) at ehenshaw@rtpi.org or by calling 716-665-2473 ext. 231. The Roger Tory Peterson Institute is located at 311 Curtis Street, Jamestown NY.