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Forest Pest First Detector Training Held at U of M, Crookston; Tree City USA Awards Presented to Area Cities
April 21, 2009

Contact: Baird, associate professor, 218-281-8130 (pbaird@umn.edu; Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director of communications, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)


Some 60 urban foresters from around the region attended the 25th Annual Northwest Urban Forestry Workshop held recently at the University of Minnesota, Crookston.  Area cities also were honored with the Tree City USA designation.

Tree City USA representatives attending the 25th annual Northwest Urban Forestry Workshop were: Front Row (l to r) Scott Riopelle, Crookston; Marcia Larson, Bemidji; and Miles Olson, Thief River Falls. Back Row (l to r):  Brian Olson, Pelican Rapids; Keith Stafford, Fergus Falls; Scott Hanson, Detroit Lakes; and Michael Pete, Wadena.
Tree City USA representatives attending the 25th annual Northwest Urban Forestry Workshop were: Front Row (l to r) Scott Riopelle, Crookston; Marcia Larson, Bemidji; and Miles Olson, Thief River Falls. Back Row (l to r): Brian Olson, Pelican Rapids; Keith Stafford, Fergus Falls; Scott Hanson, Detroit Lakes; and Michael Pete, Wadena.
Representatives from seven cities in northwest Minnesota who attended the workshop were acknowledged for their continuing participation the Tree City USA program, sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation. Representatives included:  Scott Riopelle, Crookston; Marcia Larson, Bemidji; and Miles Olson, Thief River Falls; Brian Olson, Pelican Rapids; Keith Stafford, Fergus Falls; Scott Hanson, Detroit Lakes; and Michael Pete, Wadena.

The forestry workshop focused on the training of first detectors for the emerald ash borer (EAB), a small but destructive beetle. A first detector creates a connection between the public and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) for resolving first reports of invasive pests in the state. 

Mark Abrahamson, scientist with the plant protection division of the MDA; Robert Koch, Ph.D., state survey coordinator; and Gary Wyatt, regional Extension educator led the workshop training first detectors. With an estimated 900 million ash trees, Minnesota is a prime target for EAB and this workshop was one of four to take place in Minnesota this spring. The next one is scheduled in Winona, Minn., on April 28.

EAB is an insect that attacks and kills ash trees. The adults are small, iridescent green beetles that live outside of trees during the summer months. Native to eastern Asia, EAB was discovered in Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario in 2002. Wisconsin state officials confirmed an emerald ash borer infestation south of La Crosse, officials in Minnesota are stepping up monitoring efforts and alerting residents about the destructive tree pest's ability to spread by hiding in firewood. For more information on this pest, visit www.mda.state.mn.us/plants/pestmanagement/eab.htm.

Tree inspectors must attend annual recertification workshops to learn the latest information on tree care, exotic species management, shade tree management, tree selection, insect and disease identification, tree health care and other topics. For more information on the workshop, contact Phil Baird, associate professor in the Natural Resources Department, at 218-281-8130 (pbaird@umn.edu).

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers more than 25 applied-science undergraduate degree programs and 50 concentrations, including several online degrees, in agriculture; arts, humanities and social sciences; business; math, science and technology; and natural resources. To learn more, visit www.UMCrookston.edu.