Smokies’ ash trees at risk from deadly insect

Researchers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park need volunteers to help map stands of ash trees and look for signs of the deadly Emerald Ash Borer.

The Emerald Ash Borer has been spreading and is now as close as Knox County, Tenn. It often travels undetected in firewood.

Volunteers will learn how to identify ash and other common trees, set up a scientific plot, and use a GPS unit. Data will provide a baseline so rangers can monitor stands of ash for the infestation.

There are three volunteer days: Saturday, Aug. 28, at Smokemont Campground outside Cherokee; Saturday, Sept. 11, at Oconaluftee outside Cherokee; and Saturday Sept. 25, at Deep Creek outside Bryson City. The field activity will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The volunteers should be prepared to hike up to five miles.

RSVP Ranger Susan Simpson at 865.436.1200, ext. 762.

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