Alaska Forest Health Observations's Journal

December 20, 2023

New Alaska "Invasive Slugs" Online Course

Interested in learning more about slugs in Alaska? UAF Cooperative Extension Service has a new self-paced online Invasive Slug course! This course covers the biology, impact, and management of slugs as well as decision tools for reporting invasive slugs in Alaska. The course modules are available to view for FREE.

https://invasiveslugs.open.uaf.edu/

The full course catalog includes several classes on invasive plants and forest pests as well, click here to view the full catalog. All course material can be viewed for free by clicking "view course content for free" beneath the course description (no registration needed to view for free) https://alaskainvasives.org/?page_id=1133

Several of our courses are also available for continuing education credits toward recertification for Alaska Certified Pesticide Applicators (fees do apply to the course for those folks needing a pesticide applicator CEU certificate; CEU-seekers will need to pass a quiz after completing the modules before receiving their certificate). Instructions for registering to obtain CEUs is available at the top of the full course catalog.

Posted on December 20, 2023 07:27 PM by awenninger awenninger | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 30, 2023

2022 Forest Health Conditions in Alaska Report is now available online!

The 2022 Forest Health Conditions in Alaska Report is now available online! Each year the USFS Alaska Region Forest Health Protection program publishes a report of insects, diseases, and invasive plants impacting our forests based on surveys both they and other partner agencies have conducted in Alaska. Follow the link below to view or download the 2022 Forest Health Conditions in Alaska Report: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd1152332.pdf

To browse the full catalog of these reports, both past and present, as well as view interactive StoryMaps and forest health highlights click here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/r10/forest-grasslandhealth/?cid=fsbdev2_038884&width=full

Posted on November 30, 2023 04:55 PM by awenninger awenninger | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 29, 2023

Alaska USFS Forest Health Protection is hiring!

Do you enjoy working outside, and have an interest in forests, insects, or pathogens?!

The US Forest Service will be filling several permanent seasonal Biological Science Technician positions in the Alaska Region through an Open Continuous Recruitment effort, including a position located in Fairbanks that supports Forest Health Protection. The Fairbanks-based position will be involved in survey and monitoring efforts for forest insect and disease damage and a variety of office and laboratory tasks that support field efforts.

Forest Health will be evaluating potential candidates from the following vacancy announcement: https://www.usajobs.gov/job/760222500 . Please share with all who may be interested!

Other positions within the agency may be hired using the same vacancy announcement. Additional announcements for similar positions can be found at www.USAjobs.gov

A webinar recording is available with more information and details about navigating the Forest Service hiring process and can be viewed here: https://vimeo.com/showcase/9309003/video/707052737

For questions about working with Forest Health Protection please reach out to Jessie Moan (mary.moan (at) usda.gov).

These are ANILCA positions, so candidates will need to have lived/worked in Alaska to qualify.

Posted on November 29, 2023 05:35 PM by awenninger awenninger | 2 comments | Leave a comment

October 12, 2023

2023 Alaska Invasive Species Workshop, November 7-9 in Sitka, AK

The 2023 Alaska Invasive Species Workshop will be help November 7-9 in Sitka, AK.
Visit the website for more information and to register! https://alaskainvasives.org/?page_id=134

Posted on October 12, 2023 10:18 PM by awenninger awenninger | 0 comments | Leave a comment

February 21, 2023

Green Alder Sawfly - Bug of the Week

Green Alder Sawfly - Bug of the Week from UAF Cooperative Extension Service's IPM Program.

Bug of the Week
This week’s bug of the week is the Green Alder Sawfly, Monsoma pulveratum. The species, like its name suggests, likes to feed on alder. Here in Southcentral Thin-leafed alder seems to be the alder of choice. In the spring one to five eggs are laid by females on newly emerging leaves usually in mid to late May. The larvae hatch in a couple weeks, they are bright green and after feeding all summer will grow to about 2 cm. They hang out on the lower leaf surface and blend in very well, often overlooked. Towards the end of summer the larvae will drop to the ground and excavate a cavity to ride out the winter in the relative warmth of the soil. In the spring they pupate and the adult females emerge and look for new alders. In North America the species is parthenogenic, so no males. The adults resemble small black wasps, and are often overlooked unless you are a sawfly person.

I mention this species now as next week is the North American Invasive Species Management Association (NAISMA) Invasive Species Awareness Week. All states have invasives, and managing and IDing them is hard. Green Alder Sawfly is a recent invasive species for us, first showing up in Alaska in 2004 where it was first found in agriculture samples from Palmer. It really made its mark in 2007 at the Palmer Hay Flats after some severe defoliation was noted. The species is commonly found in Europe, and the Alaska find was the first time it was found in the US, and only the second time it was found in North America. Currently it has spread down the BC coast and into Washington and Oregon. Being European and unfamiliar it takes time to ID, and the first published reports of the species were not until 2010. We warn about invasives all the time but we have to remember that invasives are not invasives where they are usually found. We are the vectors, bringing new plants and animals into areas where they can prosper. It's a good idea to try to curb moving bugs, plants and seeds around, and keep an eye out for the unfamiliar. It may be the next new invasive bug.

You can submit unknown pests (plants, insects, diseases, etc.) through the UAF Citizen Scientists Monitoring Portal: www.alaskapestreporter.org

Posted on February 21, 2023 07:04 PM by awenninger awenninger | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 16, 2022

Checking your purchased Christmas trees for live insects

With the holidays approaching many cut trees and wreaths are being shipped up to Alaska. Sometimes small insect visitors tag along with the tree and "wake up" once exposed to warm indoor temperatures. We like to keep an eye on some of these potential pathways for unintended insect introductions to help prevent introductions of potential threats to our forests. If you find live insects in a purchased cut tree or wreath you can send a photo and notes about your observation to UAF Cooperative Extension Service at alaskapestreporter.org

Happy holidays!

Posted on December 16, 2022 10:25 PM by awenninger awenninger | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 10, 2022

Including host plant information in your observations

A friendly reminder to please include host plant information with your observations! Some fungi and insect larvae only live and grow on certain species of plants, so knowing which plant the organism is living on can help us identify it. An easy way to add host plant information to your post is to name the plant species in the notes section of your observation. If you don't know the species of plant that's ok, but adding the general group of plants can be helpful too! For example, if you know it's a spruce, but aren't sure which one, feel free to just put 'spruce'. If the tree bark is degraded and you're not sure if it's birch or aspen, but you know it's not a conifer species, you can designate the host as 'hardwood'. Notes about the tree species is very helpful for us, so we appreciate you including it!

A more advanced way to add host information is to scroll down to the field on the lower right hand side of your observation labeled "Observation fields" (this field is located below "Annotations" and "Projects"). In the box, type and click on "Host Plant ID" and type in the species of plant!

Thank you for contributing to our project!

Posted on November 10, 2022 11:20 PM by awenninger awenninger | 3 comments | Leave a comment

October 28, 2022

2021 Forest Health Conditions Report now available!

Each year the USDA Forest Service publishes a report on the status of insects, diseases, and invasive plants affecting our forests based on surveys and other work conducted with partner organizations. The 2021 Forest Health Conditions Report can now be viewed or downloaded from this link: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd1068027.pdf

A full catalog of these reports, both past and present, can be viewed here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/r10/forest-grasslandhealth/?cid=fsbdev2_038884&width=full

Posted on October 28, 2022 03:48 PM by awenninger awenninger | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 26, 2022

Upcoming virtual event, this Wednesday! Spruce beetle semiochemical webinar with Dr. Jackson Audley, USFS

Interested in learning more about ongoing spruce beetle research in Alaska? Dr. Jackson Audley, researcher with the U.S. Forest Service, will be joining us at 5pm on September 28th, 2022 to present his recent research into semiochemical repellants for spruce beetle in Alaska. Semiochemicals are chemical signals produced by animals or plants that affect the behavior of other organisms. Jackson and his colleagues with the U.S. Forest Service and Alaska Division of Forestry & Fire Protection have been working to identify whether some of these compounds, such as those produced by non-host trees or by other species of bark beetles, may chemically camouflage spruce trees in a way that prevents the tree from being attacked and killed by spruce beetles. Join us to hear more about how Jackson evaluates spruce beetle response to semiochemicals in both Alaska and the Rocky Mountains.

This webinar is hosted by the UAF Cooperative Extension Service in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service. Registration is free and open to the public. The webinar will be held virtually over Zoom, follow the link below to register for this virtual event: https://www.alaskasprucebeetle.org/upcoming-events/

Posted on September 26, 2022 09:43 PM by awenninger awenninger | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 20, 2022

USFS Forest Health is hiring! Deadline to apply is September 30th

The US Forest Service will be filling several permanent seasonal positions in the Alaska Region through an Open Continuous Recruitment effort, including positions that support Forest Health Protection. These positions perform a variety of field, office, and laboratory tasks that support the mission of the Forest Service. Please share this information with anyone who may be interested!

Forest Health will be evaluating potential candidates from the two listings below. Please note the closing date of September 30, 2022. Other positions within the agency will be hired using the same vacancy announcements. Additional vacancy announcements for similar positions can be found at www.USAjobs.gov

1: Open to anyone who has lived or worked in or near the geographic boundaries of Southcentral or Southeast Alaska and has special knowledge or expertise concerning the cultural and/or resources of at least one of these areas: https://www.usajobs.gov/job/653199000

2: Open to the public: https://www.usajobs.gov/job/653197700

A webinar recording is available with more information and details about navigating the Forest Service hiring process and can be viewed here: https://vimeo.com/showcase/9309003/video/707052737

Posted on September 20, 2022 06:41 PM by awenninger awenninger | 0 comments | Leave a comment