On September 9th from 10am to 4pm at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts, 2736 NY-30 Gloversville, NY 12078, the Foothills Chapter of ADK (Adirondack Mountain Club) will host a workshop to teach volunteers how to identify and report the presence of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) in the Adirondack Park. The workshop will include presentations by Cornell University’s Mark Whitmore on HWA identification and a state-wide initiative to save hemlock forests. Representatives of the New York Natural Heritage Program will teach participants how to use iMapInvasives, a statewide invasive species mapping and reporting tool that can be used to record the presence or absence of HWA. Other presentations and field protocol demonstrations by the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP), NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s (NYSDEC) Bureau of Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health, and the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) will reinforce how invasive species managers and conservation organizations are working together to protect native species, habitats, and local economies from invasive species impacts.

Hemlock woolly adelgid, which can kill hemlock trees in as little as four years, was recently discovered on Prospect Mountain, in Lake George. This is the first infestation of HWA to be discovered inside the Adirondack Park which contains the highest concentration of hemlocks anywhere in the Northeast. Some estimates indicate that at least 10% of Adirondack forests are hemlock. This number is significantly higher in the southeastern part of the park where thousands of acres of hemlock stands can be found. There will be a dramatic change in the ecology and aesthetics of the Adirondack Park if hemlock mortality becomes widespread.

Many areas south of the Adirondacks, such as the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and the Catskill Park have seen significant decline and mortality of hemlock forests.

“ADK is committed to an all-out battle to keep our Adirondack hemlocks healthy by training people who love and use the Adirondacks to help us detect HWA at an early stage where biocontrols can tip the battle in our favor” said Neil Woodworth, ADK Executive Director.

“HWA has been a huge problem in the south but there is promise emerging for long-term control with predators for biological control, however this will take years to fully develop. The important thing is to find emerging infestations early and implement short term management to slow the spread and buy valuable time to build our biocontrol capacity,” said Mark Whitmore, Department of Natural Resources Forest Entomologist at Cornell University.

“We have many beautiful hemlocks in the Southern Adirondacks where we hike, paddle and ski, we are proud to do our part to help detect the presence of HWA so that timely and effective countermeasures can be taken to preserve this vitally important tree species for future generations” said ADK Foothills Chapter Chair, Alan Morse.

“We must do everything we can to slow the spread of HWA in the Adirondacks until effective biological control agents can be developed and released in abundance. This will require increased surveillance by everyone, but especially citizen-scientist volunteers. If discovered early, rapid response management efforts can be effective in knocking back infestations, but the only way we will find infestations early is if we have more people looking.” Brendan Quirion Adirondack Invasive Species Program Manager (APIPP).

Caroline Marschner of Cornell University’s NYS Hemlock Initiative, is hoping the citizens of the Adirondacks work together to stop this pest. “New York State has more eastern hemlocks than any other state in the US, and the Adirondacks has the highest concentration of hemlocks in New York. We have an opportunity here in the Adirondacks to preserve our iconic hemlock forests through effective and timely management.”

The workshop will be co-hosted by Cornell University’s Department of Natural Resources and NYS Hemlock Initiative, NYS Natural Heritage Program (iMapInvasives), NYSDEC, OPRHP, Lake George Land Conservancy, APIPP, Capital Mohawk Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management, and the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP). The September 9th workshop is limited to 30 participants who must RSVP here.