It has been a year of focusing on health for many of us. When I visit the Preserve, I enjoy the many physical and mental health benefits as I walk the trails, scan the views, and breathe in the forest air. This Fall I was reminded that while the Preserve may be part of our individual “health care plan”, it also has health care needs of its own to address.
The Emerald Ash Borer beetle, who has thrived in North America since its accidental introduction in the 1990’s, has decimated Ash trees across the United States and Canada. Our Ash trees within the Preserve have also become a food source for this exotic bug. This presents a set of decisions for the caretakers. Do we let nature take its course or do we invest in some measures to defend our stands?
The photo shows the Landmark Ash tree near the information kiosk. It was treated with insecticide injection under high pressure, so the insects would be killed when they bore into the tree in the spring before they create their “galleries.” This was done in Spring of 2018 and it helped this grand Ash survive for now. There are several nearby trees also treated. But the untreated ones died and are piled next to the parking lot. The beetles ran out of food and seem to have vanished after killing many local trees. We will keep an eye on the remaining specimens and retreat when and if the beetles return.
This process reminds me to appreciate what we have, to respect the dangers that come and go, and to consider the research and efforts that others are taking to help protect the health of our Preserve.