White Bear Lake, MN –  Wildlife Forever has partnered with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) to launch the 2019 Don’t Move Firewood Outreach Campaign. This campaign is focused on stopping the spread of invasive species that can travel in or on untreated firewood.

DMF for Press 2Emerald ash borer, a destructive insect brought over from Asia, has killed millions of ash trees throughout the Eastern US and Canada. On July 31st of 2019, the MDA confirmed a new infestation of emerald ash borer in Nobles County, adding it to the 18 counties already under quarantine due to this invasive insect. Emerald ash borer larvae can survive in firewood for up to two years. Best practices to stop the spread include buying firewood where you burn it and only moving firewood that has been certified by the MDA or US Department of Agriculture.

Gypsy moths are another invasive insect to be on the lookout for in Minnesota. They are voracious eaters and impact over 300 species of trees and shrubs. Gypsy moths lay egg masses hidden on both living and nonliving objects. Be sure to check firewood and any other outdoor objects before moving them from an area infested with gypsy moths. While they are still rare in Minnesota, their lack of natural predators will allow this pest to thrive if its spread is not stopped.

Dane Huinker, Conservation Program Manager of Wildlife Forever said, “Wildlife Forever and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture know the importance of getting this information to the public will be vital to stop the spread of emerald ash borer and gypsy moth. This year, the Don’t Move Firewood reminders will be present on highway billboards, gas stations, on TV and radio as well as in popular print advertisements. Clear and consistent messaging is the best way to protect our forests.”

Jennifer Burington, a Plant Health Specialist with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture said, “Minnesota should be proud of our slow spread rates of these invasive pests compared to those observed in neighboring states. We can attribute this to our aggressive education and outreach activities and management practices. However, we cannot become complacent about invasive insects. It is important that we continue to manage their populations and slow their spread for the long-term health of our ecosystems.”

About Wildlife Forever (WF): Wildlife Forever’s mission is to conserve America’s wildlife heritage through conservation education, preservation of habitat and management of fish and wildlife. As a non-profit, 501c3 charity, for over 30 years, WF supporters have donated millions of dollars in all 50 states plus Canada, to conduct fish, game and habitat conservation projects. By investing resources on the ground, recent audits reveal 94% of every dollar supports our conservation mission. Please Join Today!  To become involved and learn more about the award-winning programs, including work to engage America’s youth, visit www.WildlifeForever.org.