Speaker Series

Subject:            What’s Bugging Us? Browntail Moths & More
Speaker:       Charlene Donahue, Forest Entomologist, Maine Forest Service  
When:           Thursday, February 5 at 7:00 p.m.
Where:         Curtis Memorial Library, Brunswick
Join Friends of Merrymeeting Bay (FOMB) on Thursday, February 5 at 7pm for the fifth presentation in this season’s Winter Speaker Series; ‘What’s Bugging Us? Browntail Moths & More’. The evening presentation features Charlene Donahue, Forest Entomologist with the Maine Forest Service.  
The invasive browntail moth was accidently introduced into Somerville, Massachusetts from Europe in 1897. By 1913, the insect had spread to all of the New England states, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Since that time, populations of this pest slowly decreased due to natural controls until the 1960's, when browntail moth was limited to Cape Cod and a few islands off the Maine coast in Casco Bay. The larval stage (caterpillar) of this insect feeds on the foliage of hardwood trees and shrubs including: oak, shadbush, apple, cherry, beach plum, and rugosa rose. Larval feeding causes reduction of growth and occasional mortality of valued trees and shrubs. While feeding damage may cause some concern, the primary human impact from the browntail moth is the result of contact with poisonous hairs found on the caterpillars. Contact of these hairs with human skin causes a rash similar to poison ivy, which can be severe on some individuals. Since the 1960’s the moth has spread onto the mainland and has become a significant pest in Brunswick, Harpswell and other southern and mid-coastal coastal communities.
Charlene Donahue is a Forest Entomologist with the Maine Forest Service. She has worked there for the past 16 years and is currently responsible for the statewide forest insect survey, exotic pest surveys, curating the insect collection and responding to forest pest problems across the state.  She has a Masters degree in Entomology from the University of Maine and has been working in Entomology for over 30 years.  Charlene has just been elected president of the Maine Entomological Society and is a past president of the Northeastern Forest Pest Council.
The FOMB Winter Speaker Series takes place monthly from October-May on the first Thursday. The March presentation, ‘Return of the Endangered American Chestnut Tree’ features Glen Rea, President of the Maine Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation. This event will take place 7pm. Thursday March 5th at the Bridge Academy in Dresden.  The series, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by Friends of Merrymeeting Bay with support and valuable door prizes from Patagonia Outlet in Freeport. 
To receive more information on FOMB’s programs call Misty Gorski, Executive Coordinator, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay, at 582-5608 or fomb@gwi.net. Full speaker schedule and biographies are available on the web at www.friendsofmerrymeetingbay.org.
Watercolors by
Sarah Stapler
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