Friends of Merrymeeting Bay (FOMB) is pleased to host amateur naturalist and entomologist Cathy Reynolds who will lead a morning Forest Insect Walk in Bowdoinham on Saturday, August 24th from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. Merrymeeting Bay is internationally recognized for its unique tidal freshwater ecosystem and is surrounded by a diversity of habitats including a variety of forest types. Critical to forest health and sometimes presenting forest threats are bugs!
While trees dominate in their contribution to forest biomass, native insects contribute a dominant slice of forest biodiversity. Insects act as pollinators and seed spreaders. They aid in wood and forest floor decomposition, recycling nutrients critical to the health of forests. Unfortunately we appear in the midst of a major global insect decline (75% in Germany) likely to dramatically affect our ecosystem integrity.
Non-native invasive insects harm forests through “piercing-sucking”, defoliating, wood boring, and disease-spreading. According to the Maine Forest Service,
“An almost invisible war takes place each year between Maine’s forest and insects and diseases. Occasionally, insects or disease gets the upper hand and either forests or people are affected to the point where action must take place.”
Bowdoinham and other midcoast residents are among those experiencing health issues the past few years due to the browntail moth invasion. In addition to severe rashes and respiratory issues in humans, browntail causes major tree defoliation and threatens coastal property values. It is a parasite of hardwoods such as apple and oak.
A new threat to Maine transported from Asia on wooden pallets, crates and spools, the Emerald Ash Borer is a metallic green beetle that has killed 50 million trees since 2002 and has the potential to wipe out all species of ash tree in Maine. Ash is important to Maine for its use in furniture-making, indigenous basket-weaving, sports equipment, tools, and more.
Cathy Reynolds has a special interest in pollinators and has especially studied invasive forest insects. Reynolds is a local bee keeper, and coordinates the livestock area at the popular Common Ground Fair.
Participants should wear sturdy shoes offering protection from mud and water and be cognizant of ticks. The walk will occur rain or shine. For directions and to pre-register, please contact Ed Friedman at 666-3372.
The FOMB Summer Outside! Series is the warm weather counterpart to FOMB’s popular Winter Speaker Series. Events are usually free and are open to the public. Pre-registration is required. FOMB’s next outing will be a Swan Island Outing with Jay Robbins on September 6th at 9:00 a.m. Pre-register with Jay at 737-2239.
To receive more information about FOMB’s programs call Ed Friedman, Coordinator at 666-3372. The full Summer Outside! series is on the web at: www.friendsofmerrymeetingbay.org.