Guest post provided by Robin Usborne, Michigan State University; Amy Stone, The Ohio State University Extension; and Jodie Ellis, Purdue University
What’s “Bugging” You?
Sometimes they hide in wood packing material from shipping ports all over the world. Other times they hitch a ride in a load of firewood going to a campground or summer cottage. But once they’re here, the trees are never safe.
Sounds a bit like a horror movie, but invasive forest pests like the emerald ash borer (EAB) can wreak havoc on North American woodlands and urban forests. As the pest invasion continues across the U.S. and Canada, communication and outreach is vital to combat the onslaught, but in these days of slashed travel budgets and increased conference expenses, it takes some creative thinking to get this information to those who want it.
EAB University – Free Webinars and Invasive Forest Pest Information
That’s where Emerald Ash Borer University comes in. EAB University is a series of free webinars that bring information on the latest issues surrounding EAB and other invasive forest pests to anyone needing the information. The webinars are given by scientists and experts in the field, and anyone with a computer with Internet access can view them. EAB University was developed by Michigan State University, Purdue University and the Ohio State University communications specialists who have been dealing with the invasive pest since it was discovered in North America in 2002, and is funded by the USDA Forest Service, Forest Health and Economics Division. Webinars are much like a presentation given at a conference, but the conference room encompasses the world. Participants are able to comment and ask questions via a “chat” function during the webinar, and the presenters provide contact information for anyone needing additional information.
EAB University was launched in 2010, and quickly became a hit. More than 1,200 people registered for the sessions, and those who weren’t able to “attend” the live webinars were able to watch the recorded sessions, which are archived on the www.emeraldashborer.info website.
New this year – expanded curriculum covers more invasive forest pests
This year, EAB University has expanded the curriculum to include webinars on other wood-boring pests and diseases, such as hemlock wooly adelgid, thousand cankers, Asian longhorned beetle and viburnum leaf beetle.
Extension educators, arborists and tree care specialists have offered EAB University webinars as part of their education and outreach meeting schedules. Continuing education credits are available for many of the live webinars. These sessions are the next best thing to having the experts in person.
Visit Emerald Ash Borer University on the www.emeraldashborer.info website. You can watch an archived webinar, or mark your calendar for an upcoming session of interest. These webinars bring experts from around the country right to your computer, anytime and anywhere. Thanks for your
interest in keeping those bad bugs at bay!