Bird club to host presentation on harmful insects

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AUBURN — Invasive insects are threatening the forests of Maine. To help community members recognize these pests, and know what to do to assist Maine agencies in protecting forests, the Stanton Bird Club is sponsoring a public program featuring Karen Coluzzi, an entomologist with the Department of Agriculture. The free, informative meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6, at the Auburn Public Library, 49 Spring St.

Coluzzi coordinates early detection surveys throughout the state and works with industry and stakeholders to raise awareness of harmful exotic pests. She will show a slide presentation, and have a display of the actual insects and the damage they can do to local trees.

Three insects are of particular interest to the stewards of Thorncrag Nature Sanctuary, a 372-acre wildlife preserve in Lewiston owned and managed by the Stanton Bird Club. The Asian long-horned beetle attacks maples, the emerald ash borer targets ash and the hemlock woolly adelgid is a threat to the hemlocks. All three tree species are abundant at Thorncrag and any infestation would have a significant impact on the wildlife and the natural cycles of all the flora and fauna at the sanctuary. The hemlock stand at Thorncrag harbors some very old trees. It would be a tragedy to lose these fine specimen trees that are under conservation protection and possibly a part of Lewiston since the Industrial Revolution.

In the depth of winter, many Mainers are burning firewood as a source of fuel for heating homes. Firewood can be the way some of the invasive insects may invade the trees in Maine. Coluzzi will share ways to be sure firewood is not responsible for bringing the invaders across the boundary into Maine.

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The Stanton Bird Club is a conservation organization offering monthly natural history programs and field trips throughout the state of Maine free of charge. The group welcome new members, whose dues help to support land stewardship at three sanctuaries totaling 782 acres in Lewiston and Monmouth. For more information visit at www.stantonbirdclub.org.

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