Maine Government News
Forest Invasive Species Group Receives National Recognition
March 22, 2012
AUGUSTA—A Northeast-based forest pest outreach group’s efforts to reduce the spread of invasive species received national recognition recently. The Forest Pest Outreach and Survey Project (FPOSP) targets accidental pathways which could spread invasive species, including the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) and emerald ash borer (EAB), insects that have already destroyed millions of trees across the US. Maine has been a key partner in this effort from the beginning.
The Outstanding Invasive Species Outreach and Education Award for 2012 was presented during National Invasive Species Awareness Week in early March, at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Washington, DC. The award was given “in recognition of FPOSP’s significant achievement in advancing the awareness and understanding of terrestrial invasive species.”
The cooperative interagency group is composed primarily of state and federal forest health and agricultural resource managers, who work with non-governmental partners to form a broad partnership. This has produced a comprehensive, coordinated, region-wide forest pest outreach and detection program. The project, funded by the USDA, began in 2009 with nine states in the Northeast, and has since expanded to 15 states, some as far away as Minnesota.
In accepting the award for FPOSP, Maine Department of Agriculture State Horticulturist, and a project co-lead, Ann Gibbs said, “This project clearly demonstrates the importance of partnerships in dealing with forest pests. Most new detections of invasive forest pests, including ALB and EAB, have been made by members of the public. It is therefore very important that government agencies work together with the public as we try to manage these pests. This project has provided the opportunity for networking across the state and a large region of the country.”
Some of Maine’s accomplishments include:
• Organizing governor proclamations promoting August as ALB awareness month
• Using trained volunteers to conduct invasive insect detection surveys in Portland, Bangor, Lewiston, and Sebago Lake State Park
• Providing information to producers on ALB for Maple Syrup Sunday
• Working with Acadia National Park and state parks to develop outreach sessions on forest pests
• Using award-winning costumes at events and helping publish a children’s book on ALB written by fifth grade students from China Middle School
• Providing information to the woodlands division of JD Irving that they sent out to their wood suppliers
• Facilitated showing the documentary “Lurking in the Trees” on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network
It is important to note that, to date, neither ALB nor EAB has been found in Maine.
Contact: Ann Gibbs, 207-287-3891, firstname.lastname@example.org
Captions for the accompanying photographs:
1. Maine Department of Agriculture State Horticulturist Ann Gibbs accepting the Outstanding Invasive Species Outreach and Education Award for 2012 on behalf of the Forest Pest Outreach and Survey Project.
2. The Outstanding Invasive Species Outreach and Education Award for 2012.