Our Environment. Our Home. OUR CHALLENGE.

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(COOPERSTOWN) – The invasive hemlock woolly adelgid will be the subject of a special program at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown on Saturday, March 9, from 10am to 1pm. The program is offered by Otsego County Conservation Association and Mohican Farm/The Clark Foundation.

“Hemlock woolly adelgid poses a significant threat to hemlock trees and their associated ecosystems,” said Jeff O’Handley, OCCA’s program director. “While it’s not yet in Otsego County in great numbers, it’s moving this way.”

An aphid-like insect that feeds on hemlock trees, the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) is native to Asia. HWA was introduced to the western United States in the 1920s and was first discovered in New York in 1985. HWA feed on starches stored deep within the plant. It forms distinctive white, woolly masses on the underside of hemlock branches. Once infested, a previously healthy hemlock can be killed by HWA within ten years.

Dan Snider, Field Projects Manager for the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Project (CRISP) will present the program. It will include information about the insect’s life cycle and impact, how to identify the insect, and how participants can contribute to scientific projects to preserve hemlocks in our region. There will also be an outdoor component for learning and practicing techniques for conducting surveys for hemlocks and the woolly adelgid in the field.

“Hemlocks are a beautiful part of our landscape and are considered a keystone species,” O’Handley said. “Catching an invasion early is critical to keeping it controlled.”

The program is free, but pre-registration is required. For more information or to sign up, visit www.occaino.org.

Founded in 1968, OCCA is a private, non-profit membership group dedicated to promoting the appreciation and sustainable use of Otsego County’s natural resources through education, advocacy, resource management, research, planning and practice. For more information on OCCA, or to donate, visit www.occainfo.org.

Mohican Farm is part of The Clark Foundation. Its mission is to promote sustainable activities within The Clark Foundation, the community and Otsego County.