300 tree inventory volunteers needed in Maple Grove

The emerald ash borer (EAB), an invasive pest that has already killed millions of ash trees in the northeastern United States, has made its way to a number of Minnesota counties, including Hennepin County. Though it has not yet been sighted in Maple Grove, it is only a matter of time when it will be.

In order to get a handle on what economical and environmental impacts the bug will have when it does reach Maple Grove, we need to know how many trees, potentially, it could affect. That is why the city is undertaking a project to inventory all residential and business boulevard and front yard trees in Maple Grove. To do this we need volunteers.

The city’s hope is that people, by volunteering, will gain valuable experience, useful skills, and develop an enhanced recognition of the importance of the urban forest in the community. Additionally, the city hopes that volunteers will gain a better understanding of their critical role as a volunteer and steward of the community’s urban forest ecosystem. People like that make communities a better place to live, work and play.

Understanding the number of trees, species, and general age of trees will help identify susceptibility to catastrophic events, which will help generate a timeline and map of tree removal, planting, create species diversification and to apply for grant funds.

Volunteers will need to attend a training session and commit to inventory trees in a particular area a few hours a week. The volunteers will only inventory boulevard and front yard trees. They will not enter any backyards. Volunteers will be required to fill out a volunteer application and agree to a background check. People don’t need to be a Maple Grove resident to volunteer.

Volunteers will work in teams of three and will work out a time schedule with their teammates to inventory their assigned section(s) of Maple Grove. All training and equipment will be provided.

Once the inventory is complete, the city will have a much better idea how many ash trees could potentially be affected by the emerald ash borer and will also know tree counts of other tree varieties since other plant pests are on the horizon.

If anyone would like to volunteer for this very important project, give either Frank Kampel (763-494-6365) or Marilyn Arnlund (763-494-6091) a call.