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Invasive Pests Exhibit Opens at South Mountain Recreation Complex in West Orange

Andrew Cumming

Sunday, August 24, 2014 • 12:04am

WEST ORANGE, NJ -  New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher unveiled a new exhibit near the Pollinator Pathway along the walking trail at South Mountain Recreational Complex on August 22. The passive education area exhibit focuses on two invasive pests in the state of New Jersey: the Asian Longhorned Beetle, (now eradicated in NJ), and the Emerald Ash Borer, which has recently been found in Somerset County.

Said Douglas H. Fisher of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “It’s wonderful to see the growth of forest pest exhibits and displays." It was Fisher's hope that public education programs would help preserve indigenous trees and vegetation under attack by invasive pests.

A grant was recently awarded to the USDA to begin the process of eradicating the Emerald Ash Borer in New Jersey. The exhibit provides information on both the Asian Longhorned Beetle and the Emerald Ash Borer. Joining the NJ Secretary of Agriculture were Turtle Back Zoo Director Brint Spencer, Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, State Forester Lynn Fleming, Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo and several other notables.

According to Fleming, the Emerald Ash Borer infests numerous types of ash trees mainly in the northern part of New Jersey. “There are twenty-four million ash trees in New Jersey,” said Fleming. “Getting the children involved is very important.”

 The Emerald Ash Borer is neither stinging nor biting, but it poses a serious threat to forest health. Taking pictures of possible Emerald Ash Borers can help the USDA identify areas in which a problem exists. It is also crucial to take precautions with firewood, as these invasive pests often live in it. The USDA works with the EPA to handle infected trees and possible infestations.

DiVincenzo, casually dressed in khaki shorts and a baseball cap, posed with children from the Zoo Camp and approved of the new exhibit. "This is the place to be,” he said of South Mountain Recreation Complex. “This is a destination.” 

For more information on the Emerald Ash Borer and to read the NJSDA press release, go to: http://www.state.nj.us/agriculture/news/press/2014/approved/press140521a.html.

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