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  • 29 Aug 2011 6:25 PM | Anonymous

    AUGUSTA, Maine – Known for connecting Maine communities with the beauty, vitality and utility of trees, Project Canopy, the Maine Forest Service’s community tree program, is offering a different type of tree-planting opportunity.

    Through the generosity of Dutton’s Greenhouse and Nursery in Morrill, more than 1,000 trees, representing 75 different species, are being offered free of charge to municipalities, schools and non-profit organizations for community planting, according to Project Canopy officials, under the Maine Department of Conservation.

    “This donation will allow organizations throughout Maine to plant trees in public places where they otherwise would not,” Jan Ames Santerre, Project Canopy director, said. “Towns can plant trees to enhance their downtown, streets, parks, and public buildings. Schools can plant them for shade on playgrounds, or to create an educational arboretum. All of the trees, when cared for, will benefit generations to come with their beauty and shade.”

    Dutton’s unfortunately has decided to close operations at the end of the season this year, Santerre said. Rather than wholesaling the remaining stock, the business owners have decided to give back to the communities that over the years have supported their business by donating trees to Project Canopy, she said.

    Cities, towns, schools, and non-profit organizations will be eligible to receive free trees for community planting. There is no limit on the number of trees each organization can receive, but recipients will be responsible for picking up their trees, while Dutton’s and Maine Forest Service staff will help load orders, the Project Canopy director said.

    Sizes range from 5-gallon shrubs to trees anywhere from 1-to 5-inches caliper, Santerre said. The trees are disease free, but there will not be any guarantee on their survival, she said.

    All recipients must first submit an application/registration with Project Canopy, so donations can be tracked and to minimize problems on the distribution dates.

    Two distribution dates in September and October will be set aside to pick up trees at Dutton’s Nursery in Morrill.

    For those smaller communities and organization that may not have the ability to transport the trees, there may be opportunities to consolidate transportation with larger service centers and surrounding Tree City USA communities, Santerre said. Project Canopy will work with organizations to make those connections.

    To receive the inventory of trees available, and to register, contact Jan Ames Santerre, Project Canopy director, at, or (207) 287-4987.

    For more information on Project Canopy, go to: http://

  • 19 Aug 2011 6:30 PM | Anonymous
    Maine’s Project Canopy will award $200,000 in grants to local municipal units of government, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations that support community efforts to develop and maintain long-term community forestry programs.  To be eligible to apply for 2011 Project Canopy Assistance grants, all applicants must attend a grant workshop prior to submission. Grant workshops will be scheduled for September 2011, will be held in various locations throughout the state, and will cover topics including grant writing, project development, sustainable community forestry management, and grant administration. Applications must be submitted to the Maine Forest Service by 5 PM, October 17, 2011. To learn more about the Project Canopy Assistance program and to sign up for a grant workshop, contact Project Canopy at 207-287-4987. More information is available on the website.
  • 19 Jul 2011 6:49 AM | Anonymous
    Come meet the wasp that is helping us look for emerald ash borer (EAB). Cerceris fumipennis is a native wasp which does not sting and likes to live in baseball diamonds. This wasp usually hunts native prey, but when EAB are present, it is very good at catching that pest. It has been helping the Maine Forest Service and local volunteers throughout the state monitor for EAB. Come to a field demonstration with Colleen Teerling, Entomologist for the Maine Forest Service to meet the wasp and see it in action.

    The emerald ash borer, (EAB), Agrilus planipennis, a serious invasive pest, has not yet been found in Maine, however it could be here undetected. EAB adults are active between late May and September.  The adult beetles nibble on all species of ash foliage but cause little damage. The larvae (the immature stage) feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree's ability to transport water and nutrients, infected trees do not survive. EAB is thought to have been brought to the United States on solid wood packing material carried in cargo ships or airplanes originating in its native Asia. It was discovered in southeastern Michigan near Detroit in the summer of 2002. EAB has since invaded Ontario, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virgina, Wisconsin, Missouri, Minnesota, NewYork, Kentucky, Iowa and Tennesee.  EAB is among the forest threats that is easily moved in firewood<>. Maine's scenic places draw thousands of visitors and seasonal residents each year, providing many opportunities for potential pest introductions on firewood.

    EAB kills trees quickly and thoroughly. As evidenced by communities faced with this pest in the Midwest, the task of removing dead trees for public safety has completely overwhelmed municipal staff and budgets. Planning for the arrival of this and other invasive pests is critical to community efforts to address the tough economic, environmental, social and legal issues associated with an infestation. Early detection utilizing tools such as the Cerceris fumipennis wasp is a critical step in statewide efforts to minimize damage from EAB and other invasive pests.

    Cerceris fumipennis is a solitary ground-nesting wasp. The female stocks her nest with metallic wood boring beetles, including emerald ash borer (EAB) when present. Biosurveillance (observing colonies of these native wasps and collecting some of the prey they bring back) is currently the most promising way to monitor for EAB. The Maine Forest Service is looking for colonies of these wasps throughout the state, and would like your help.

    Come join us on Wed the 27th at 1pm to see an active colony and find out how you can help!  We are meeting at the baseball diamonds behind the Freeport Middle School, 19 Kendall Lane, Freeport, ME.

    For more information on EAB and the work we are doing to prevent its invasion into Maine:​fs/fhm/pages/CercerisVolun​teers.htm<> ;

    Rain date Friday the 29th at 1pm.
  • 28 Jun 2011 6:44 AM | Anonymous
    AUGUSTA, Maine - There's good news on the bug front - the population of a noxious caterpillar infesting the Brunswick area appears to have been killed off by a fungal disease brought on by May's rainy weather, according to the Maine Forest Service, under the Maine Department of Conservation.

    A naturally occurring fungus, Entomophaga aulicae, which affects only browntail moth caterpillars, appears to have wiped out the infestation in the Brunswick, Bath, Topsham and Bowdoinham area, according to MFS Forest Entomologist Charlene Donahue.

    Winter web surveys had showed that the caterpillar population, which can harm human beings, was going to be extremely high this year. Twice as many webs were seen in comparison to the previous year, particularly in the Brunswick-Bowdoinham area. 

    The caterpillars came out on schedule in May and started feeding, but 11 straight days of rain put a stop to that, Donahue said. The rainy weather forced the caterpillars to return to their webs, and "like people in the winter, they hang out together, and if one gets sick, they all get sick," Donahue explained. 

    "The silver lining to those clouds is that they caused an epizootic [animal epidemic] outbreak of a fungus that killed them," the forest entomologist said. 

    Donahue predicted that for the Brunswick area, "the browntail moth caterpillar population will be down, and probably down for a number of years." She said that the caterpillar population at the Vaughn's Island Preserve in Kennebunkport also appears to have crashed. 

    The browntail moth is an invasive species that arrived in the U.S. in the 1910 on nursery stock coming from Europe, then moving through Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Nova Scotia before the population collapsed. The only place where it is now found in North America is the coast of Maine and Cape Cod, Donahue said.

    The caterpillar, distinctive because of the two patches of bright orange on its end, contains toxic microscopic hairs on it to keep birds from eating it. Unfortunately, those hairs can cause a blistery, oozy rash or respiratory distress for people who come into contact with them.

    The hairs break off the caterpillars and circulate in the air. The caterpillar also molts, and the dried skin containing the hairs can drift, also causing problems for people. The hairs remain toxic for a year or more, so people still can be affected in subsequent seasons.

    Donahue said that while monitoring the caterpillars most recently, she saw the carcasses hanging on the webs "with a halo of fungal spores around them." The caterpillar larvae emerged from the webs and began feeding on their primary food source, oak and apple trees, before being killed by the fungus.

    So far, there have been far fewer reports of toxic reactions, plus the trees have leaves, Donahue said. The fungus occurs "only when you have cold, wet weather in the spring," she noted.

    On the down side, the caterpillar, unfortunately, is "doing very well" in Freeport and Falmouth, and out on the Casco Bay islands, the MFS entomologist said. It also has been found in Augusta. 

    These areas were not affected by the fungus, and people still can suffer from adverse reactions in those parts of the state, Donahue warned.

    "It's a 
    whack-a-mole' kind of thing," she explained. "It's gone down in Brunswick, and now it's popped up in other places."

    People should remember that even though the caterpillars are gone or done feeding for this year, the hairs still are there, Donahue said. Caution should be used mowing, raking and going into brushy areas where the browntail moth has been. The toxin in the hairs remains active for a year or more.

    The Maine Forest Service has a list of licensed pesticide companies who work on the browntail moth caterpillar, and that list is available to the public, Donahue said.

    For information about the browntail moth caterpillar, go to:

    For information about precautions to take regarding the browntail moth caterpillar, go to:

    For more information about pesticides, go to:

    For the list of licensed pesticide companies dealing with browntail moth caterpillar, call Charlene Donahue, MFS forest entomologist, at: (207) 287-3244 or email:
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