Learn about the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid at NYPA on March 8

Join Mine Kill State Park staff, regional biologists and the Student Conservation Association on Saturday, March 8, to learn about the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) and its terrible effect on New York’s eastern hemlock trees.
Interested parties will witness an informative and engaging presentation on the history, origins and current status of HWA in New York State by Cornell University Professor, Mark Whitmore. Following the presentation, participants will split into groups and learn how to survey hemlock trees for the presence of HWA. Data collected from the survey will be used to construct a comprehensive management plan for HWA at Mine Kill State Park.
Additional surveys will provide further information on the status effort to contain HWA and preserve as many of Mine Kill’s beautiful hemlocks as possible.

Park discovery
HWA was first discovered in the park in 2011 and has since been located in many different areas surrounding Mine Kill State Park and New York Power Authority Blenheim-Gilboa property.
HWA, a tiny insect native to Asia, lives and feeds on eastern hemlock trees (Tsuga Canadensis). Originally detected in the Southeast Appalachian Mountains in the 1960s, HWA is capable of killing an otherwise healthy eastern hemlock tree in a matter of a few years. Many species of hemlock can survive infestation, but eastern hemlock is susceptible to the pest, which latch onto the trees and consume the stored starches that the trees need for growth and survival
HWA is of particular cause for concern for New Yorkers, as New York is one of the most heavily forested states. And with hemlocks being the fourth most abundant tree species in both the state and region, the loss of hemlock stands would have a major impact in the Catskills, which rely greatly on forests for wood products, tourism, and ecosystem services. Additionally, the death of large stands of hemlocks could pose an increased wildfire risk and the risk of tree fall, both of which are major concerns for state parks and the DEC.

Presentation follow-up
The HWA presentation and survey will begin at 10 a.m. at the New York Power Authority Blenheim-Gilboa Visitors Center, located approximately one mile north of Mine Kill State Park along Route 30. Following the presentation in the NYPA theater, volunteers will be provided with measuring tape, survey forms and a map of the area. If you have a GPS or smart phone with a GPS application, please bring it to collect location coordinates for the survey. Volunteer groups will survey a wide area of hemlocks surrounding the Blenheim-Gilboa Reservoir and Mine Kill Creek. All volunteers will return to the NYPA visitors’ center by 1:30 p.m. to conclude the survey. A complimentary chili lunch will be provided to all volunteers following the survey.
All volunteers who are interested in participating should contact the park office to register at 518 827-8690. Please remember to bring proper hiking attire, footwear, snacks and water.