HWA Survey at Elm Flats First Preserve

HWA is short for Hemlock Woolley Adelgid, which is an invasive species of insect that devastates Hemlock trees. It causes the trees to die as it eats away at the nutrients in their needles. These invasive species can kill a hemlock tree in three to five years if the proper actions are not taken to save the tree and the rest of the stand. There are a few ways to save the tree and possibly stop it from becoming a larger problem. First, if the tree is infected you can treat it chemically or remove the infected tree. To prevent the spread of the HWA there are a few biological treatments that can be used. It can be treated in a similar biological way that the Emerald Ash Borer has been treated.

This week in the HWA hunt we adventured to Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy’s Elm Flats First Preserve. This preserve is located on Lawson Road near Mayville, New York. There is a sign that marks the preserve, but this is not the preserve entrance. The preserve entrance is about 100 yards further down the road. At the entrance there is clearly a path, but the path is soon overtaken with forest growth. A few of the people in the group used snowshoes to maneuver through the light fluffy snow form the night before. The Hemlock stand is about a five-minute walk into the preserve. At first, it is difficult to find the Hemlock stand but once you find them you have found almost all of them in the preserve. There are a few outlying trees but most of them are pretty concentrated along the wetland side of the preserve.

Surveying for the hemlocks is a great way to get outside. Being outside is not only good for you, it is healthy for you. Every week this is something I look forward to, going outside and walking in the woods. Also, I enjoy the relationships I have built with the people that also show up for these surveys. These people are often some of the kindest and sweetest people you will meet and after a long week of school I can’t think of anything better to do. Going for an adventure in the woods looking at some trees and meeting new and exciting people. As an intern this is a great experience for me as some of these people, I meet I can network with for the future. So, what better to do on a day where you don’t have any plans, but you want to get out of the house? Go check out some Hemlock trees and keep our forests healthy!

Our goal on these surveys is to survey 100 trees in the stand. On this survey there was seven of us total and we surveyed upward of 150 trees in a one-hour time span.

This post’s author: Spencer TeWinkle

About the author

Environmental Science

Read about our awesome opportunities related to environmental science and sustainability!