ARTICLE PROVIDED BY DENVER PARKS & RECREATION
DENVER - What happens when you give a bunch of tree nerds access to a camera, Denver’s beautiful Cheesman Park, a metallic emerald ash borer suit and a local hip hop legend? Apparently one Smart Ash music video.
Working with the Denver Botanic Gardens in collaboration with Johnny 5 of the Flobots and a cast of well-trained volunteer actors from the Denver City Forester’s Office, a division of Denver Parks & Recreation, the Be A Smart Ash campaign unveiled a music video in February aimed at promoting awareness about emerald ash borer (EAB).
Feasting on the common ash tree and having decimated forests in more than 25 states and parts of Canada, EAB is now the most destructive forest pest in U.S. history. While the invasive pest has not yet been found in Denver, it was discovered in Boulder in 2013 and also found in Longmont in 2016.
“What that movement pattern tells us is that it’s simply a matter of time before EAB arrives in Denver,” said Sara Davis, Program Manager with Denver’s Office of the City Forester. “So right now, even before it’s discovered it Denver, EAB is posing an immediate threat to the metro area’s 1.45 million ash trees.”
Given that roughly 1 in 6 Denver trees is an ash, the city is concerned many Denver residents may not even be aware they have an ash tree — let alone know how to defend it against EAB.
The BeASmartAsh.org website was created in the Spring of 2016. Residents can use the website to peruse an interactive map and identify whether there is an ash tree on or near their property, determine the best way to defend an ash tree against EAB, find a certified, local tree professional and learn to identify the signs of an EAB infestation.
Should you need to remove your ash tree – and even if you don’t – residents can also go to BeASmartAsh.org to apply for a free tree. The planting of those trees is part of an effort by the Denver City Forester’s Office to diversify Denver’s tree canopy and further defend it against future pests.
“We’ve learned a lot from other cities who are dealing with EAB infestations,” Davis said. “The biggest lesson that we’ve learned is that we want to be proactive.”