August's Forests, Plants, and Land Conservation News

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
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Forests, Plants, and Land Conservation News

This Month's Topics:

  • Streamside Tree Planting Successes
  • Check for Signs of Asian Longhorned Beetles
  • Morgan Hill Trail Users Rejoice
  • Meet the White Meadowsweet
  • Remember to Report Turkey Sightings in August
  • New York Forest Pest Updates
  • Keep the Outdoors Litter-Free
  • Urban and Community Forestry News
    • Community Highlight - Glenville, NY
    • Grant Opportunity
    • Fall ReLeaf Workshops
    • What We're Reading

Streamside Tree Planting Successes

A woman and a child digging a hole to plant a treeEvery year, DEC's Buffer in a Bag program provides free tree seedlings for New York State landowners to plant along their waterways. Each planting helps create healthier streams by establishing vegetated buffers along stream or river banks that reduce erosion, protect water quality, and support healthy fish populations.

The seedlings are trees and shrubs native to New York that are grown at DEC's Colonel William F. Fox Memorial Saratoga Tree Nursery. Since the start of the program in 2019, a total of 550 participants, in cooperation with their friends and families, have planted 17,950 trees.

Each planting is an important act of stewardship that protects our forests and waters. To celebrate this year's participants and recognize the National Association of State Foresters' Centennial, we've put together a short video that is available on our YouTube channel. These 100 photos showcase the hard (yet often fun!) work of our program participants.

To find out more about DEC's Buffer in a Bag program, visit our website.

Photo by Buffer in a Bag participant @farmfete

Check for Signs of Asian Longhorned Beetles

An Asian longhorned beetle in a poolDo you own a pool? You can easily help DEC keep an eye out for the invasive Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) in New York! Through the rest of the summer, please check your pool filter for any insects that resemble ALB, and report suspects by emailing photos to us at You can familiarize yourself with lookalike species using resources on our website (PDF).

No pool? No problem - you can still help! Check your yard or neighborhood trees for signs of ALB and let us know if you find anything suspicious by emailing us at

ALB are wood-boring beetles native to Asia that were accidentally introduced to the United States through wood packing materials. These pests attack a variety of hardwoods, including maples, birches, and willows, among others. The beetles have caused the death of hundreds of thousands of trees across the country. The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets worked diligently to managed ALB infestations in the state, successfully eradicating them from Brooklyn, State Island, Manhattan, Islip, and Queens. ALB is still actively managed in central Long Island, and there are active infestations in Massachusetts, Ohio, and South Carolina.

Morgan Hill Trail Users Rejoice

the completed new parking lot at Morgan Hill State ForestRecently, DEC's Region 7 operations crew based out of Cortland sub-office completed a new, year-round parking facility at Morgan Hill State Forest in the Onondaga County town of Fabius. Located at the intersection of Shackham Road and State Forest Public Forest Access Road, the parking area will serve all visitors in every season.

As outlined in the Hill and Hollow Unit Management Plan, creation of additional visitor parking and winter parking were major concerns of the public. With the recent surge in fat tire winter mountain biking and an expanding single-track bike trail system, it became evident to DEC land managers and the Town of Fabius Highway Department that the site needed a safer alternative to parking on the shoulder of the road.

Additionally, the new parking area will serve the snowmobiling community for those looking to trailer up to the forest and have quick access to the trail system. The site also provides access to the nearby Finger Lakes Trail and North Country National Scenic Trail.

Get to Know New York's Natives: White Meadowsweet

white meadowsweet in a fieldWhite meadowsweet (Spiraea alba) is a native flowering shrub that blooms in much of New York State during July and August. The plants grows to be about four to six feet high and is found in sunny areas with damp soils such as meadows (as the name suggests), fields, and wetlands.

White meadowsweet can be identified by its five-petaled white or pinkish flowers. A splash of stamens cause the flowers to appear fuzzy or frilly from afar. The stem has lance-shaped alternative leaves that are toothed around the edges. This member of the rose (Rosaceae) family is popular with a variety of butterfly species and is a common sight across the eastern United States and Canada.



Remember to Report Turkey Sightings in August

A turkey in the wildWhile you're out exploring the forests and fields around your home this summer, be sure to keep an eye out for wild turkeys, and let DEC know what you see.

Reported observations of wild turkeys are used to track changes in abundance and productivity (number of poults produced per adult hen) over time and in different parts of the state. It also helps forecast hunting prospects for the coming fall season and for subsequent spring seasons. When you see turkeys in New York this month, let us know! Download survey forms from DEC's website or submit your observations online. Thanks for your help!

New York Forest Pest Updates

This month, DEC announced the first findings of invasive emerald ash borer (EAB) in Warren County, Adirondacks and invasive hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) in Washington County, Adirondacks. Each of these small yet destructive insects infests and kills our native trees. EAB target North American ash species and HWA attacks hemlock species. Eastern hemlock trees make up approximately 10 percent of our Adirondack forests.

DEC encourages residents of the Adirondack region to pay close attention to signs of either of these invasive insects and to report potential detections to DEC by emailing To help prevent the spread of these and other invasive forest pests, please follow the New York State firewood regulation by using heat-treated or local firewood.

For more information on EAB and HWA, including identification tips and treatment options, visit our website:

Keep the Outdoors Litter-Free

Wtrash scattered across a beautiful forest hen you PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL, keep the areas you visit litter-free by always taking your trash home with you, or placing it in the proper designated receptacles if available. Be prepared - make sure to plan ahead and bring a trash bag with you, as the majority of hiking areas do not have trash bins. Litter's not just an eyesore, it also poses a danger to wildlife and delicate ecosystems. On your next adventure, be sure to follow these tips and Leave No Trace:

1. Carry out what you carry in. Don't leave trash, food, gear, or any other personal belongings behind. This includes "natural-seeming" garbage like apple cores and banana peels.

2. Trash your trash. Carry your trash in a bag you brought with you so you can dispose of it at home. Use designated receptacles when available. Never put trash in outhouses or porta potties.

3. Use designated bathroom facilities when available. If traveling, use the rest area closest to your destination before you arrive. Learn how to dig a cat hole and safely dispose of human waste for the times when nature calls and a bathroom is not available.

4. During the COVID-19 public health crisis, take extra precautions when picking up trash you find on the trail. Wear gloves, and make sure to sanitize your hands when you are done.

Thank you for doing your part to help keep NY's outdoors wild and beautiful!

Urban and Community Forestry (UCF) Corner

Community Highlight - Glenville, NY

two men in neon jackets and winter clothing stand near a newly-planted tree in GlenvilleThe Town of Glenville in Schenectady County is celebrating its centennial this year by planting 200 trees as part of an extended Arbor Day celebration. Town staff are planting 100 trees in parks and on town property, and the remaining trees were given away to residents. A committee helped select the trees from DEC's Colonel William F. Fox Memorial Saratoga Tree Nursery to ensure the trees were native, diverse, and a good fit for their intended planting sites. A NYS Urban Forestry Council Quickstart Grant partially funded the trees and also helped Glenville recently become a Tree City USA. You can read more about this project on the NYS Urban Forestry Council website.

Photo by the NYS Urban Forestry Council

NYS Urban Forestry Council Offering New Grant for Tree City USA Communities

The NYS Urban Forestry Council is pleased to announce grants available for communities to plant large specimen trees or a grove of trees in a prominent location within the community. New York State communities that have been a Tree City USA for at least the past five years may be eligible for grants of up to $1,000. The application deadline is September 14, 2020. To read about this opportunity, visit the NYS Urban Forestry Council website

Fall ReLeaf Workshops

Our fall workshops are going virtual! Registration details will be coming soon, but mark your calendars for the following online workshops happening this September and October:

  • NYC (Region 2) ReLeaf Workshop: Part 1 October 2nd, and Part 2 October 9th at 9 a.m.
    • Join us for "Creating Connections: Volunteers and Professionals" where we'll be joined by speakers from the Natural Areas Conservancy, Snug Harbor, and the Greenbelt Conservancy. The program includes a key note from Andrew Reinmann of the Environmental Sciences Initiative, CUNY Advanced Science Research Center at Hunter College, as well as virtual tours of Snug Harbor Botanical Garden and the Greenbelt Native Plant Center. (Continuing education credits for ISA and CNLP pending)
  • Finger Lakes (Region 8) ReLeaf Workshop: September 23rd at 10 a.m.
    • Join us for "What's Eating My Trees?" to learn about the gypsy moth outbreak in Western NY this summer. DEC Forest Health will provide updates on gypsy moths in NY, Professor Scott Kenaley from Finger Lakes Community College will explain the biology of trees and how they respond to stress, and arborist Noreen Riordan of Bartlett Trees will share insights and what to expect from an arborist inspection. (Continuing education credits for DEC pesticide applicators, ISA, SAF, and CNLP pending)

What We're Reading