Large ash trees tagged by NABB

Large ash trees tagged by NABB in West Lafayette, Ind., raise awareness of what may be lost to EAB. Photo: Purdue Emerald Ash Borer Outreach Program

If you are wondering what can be done about this threat to the environment, you are not alone. As emerald ash borer spreads across the United States, concerned communities, experts and policymakers are looking to educate and take action. The most effective and influential protection efforts have been seen at the community level.

One program that targets small communities and neighborhoods is Neighbors Against Bad Bugs (NABB) in Indianapolis. Born out of Purdue University, NABB pairs Purdue Master Gardeners, neighborhood associations, county extension educators and concerned citizens. Together, they work to educate the public and use their cooperation to save trees while keeping communities safe. This program was implemented in Indianapolis’ King Park neighborhood during fall 2011. Citizens developed the Ash Borer Action Team (ABATe) and began by surveying ash trees and available planting spaces. Through a combination of treatment, removal and new plantings, the team was able to help preserve the aesthetic beauty of the King Park neighborhood. The NABB program is only one example of community efforts to address the EAB issue, though.

Through the Cooperative Emerald Ash Borer Program — a cooperative of Midwestern universities — and the United States Department of Agriculture, several resources have been made available to those who want to protect against the spread of EAB. One activity that has been of growing concern for many regions is firewood transportation. For decades, this raw product has been moved throughout the country, with little regard for what may be living inside. The cooperative has compiled maps and policies developed by 15 states, from Minnesota in the west to New York in the east, in order to protect against the spread of EAB.

NABB events bring communities together.

NABB events bring communities together to develop plans for their ash trees. Photo: Purdue Emerald Ash Borer Outreach Program

Individual states are also releasing prescriptive information for proactive community members wanting to get involved. The University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources released “Ash Management Guidelines for Private Forest Landowners” to educate the public regarding the history of ash trees and the EAB threat. Faculty from five Midwestern universities developed a bulletin describing “Insecticide Options for Protecting Ash Trees from Emerald Ash Borer,” and Purdue University offers a similar resource with insecticide options for homeowners based on several tree and environmental features.

There are many options for individuals looking to help fight the EAB problem. State and local institutions are becoming increasingly aware of the threat, and with the support of neighborhood programs like NABB, more information is being uncovered. It is the support of concerned citizens that fuels protection efforts.

For details regarding ash trees, EAB and how to get involved, visit the Michigan State University-run website www.emeraldashborer.info. This resource contains a compilation of information from the U.S. Forest Service, Purdue University, Michigan State University and The Ohio State University. These institutions work together to provide information from all states and Canadian provinces currently affected by EAB: Michigan, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Ontario and Quebec.