New London, NH
A few people have asked me why the Town planted a scraggly maple tree on the Town Common earlier this fall. That little tree
(located near the edge of the sidewalk across from the Lemon Twist and Village Sports) was given to the Town by the NH Department of Agriculture as part of the NH Asian Longhorned Beetle Sentinel Tree Project.
Thomas Durkis, NH’s State Entomologist, contacted our Tree Warden Dave Carey at the end of the summer and asked if New London wanted to plant the little maple as part of the project. Since one of the goals of the project is education, Dave and Richard Lee thought that it would make sense to plant the new tree in a visible spot, which happened to be next to a failing maple on the edge of the Common.
If you have not stopped by to read the display adjacent to the tree, please do. What it will tell you is that the NH Department of Agriculture, State Urban Forester, UNH Cooperative Extension Service and the NH Plant Growers Association are partnering to raise awareness about the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB), a pest native to China and Korea that threatens our trees. The ALB attacks hardwoods, including maple, birch, and poplar, which provide much of our forest cover and roadside shade. The Department of Agriculture reports that infestations have occurred in New York, Illinois, New Jersey, and more recently around Worcester, Massachusetts.
ALB has not been found in New Hampshire, but since infestation in other states was first discovered by the public, the State is trying to raise public awareness about the beetles. Unfortunately, in most cases the beetles have had ample time to become established before detection.
According to Mr. Durkis, the sentinel tree project is based on the work of Dr. Michael Smith, an insect behaviorist working on methods to detect the presence of the ALB. Dr. Smith found that the painted maple is very attractive to ALB, hence the term “sentinel” or trap tree. The trees are apparently even more attractive to the beetle than the Norway maple, itself an invasive species thought by many to be the ALB’s preferred host in the US. The project places the sentinel trees in locations easily monitored, so if you see Asian Longhorned Beetles on this tree then we know that they have arrived. Spring Ledge Farm has its “corn” sign and the State has its sentinel trees.
Speaking of trees, among its many projects, the New London Conservation Commission (NLCC), in conjunction with Dave Carey and Richard Lee, is starting a Town nursery on Town property at the end of Frothingham Road. NLCC Chair Bob Brown discussed the project with the Board of Selectmen this spring, saying that the NLCC has ordered hardwood and conifer seedlings that they will nurture for a few years and then plant around town as needed.
These seedlings, which cost $1 apiece, will be used instead of purchasing more mature trees at $300-500 each (earlier this year, Ledyard National Bank contributed $1 towards New London’s seedling purchase for every customer who switched from paper to electronic bank statements).
Perhaps the Elkins sidewalks slated for 2012 will be landscaped with trees from our own nursery.
The NLCC has also been hard at work expanding and improving New London’s network of 30 public trails. Detailed trail maps can be purchased for $4 at the Town Office or Information Booth, or downloaded from the CC’s website, www.nl-nhcc.com (the on-line maps include trail elevations thanks to the GPS savvy and website maintenance volunteered by resident Bob Crane).
NLCC member Dan Allen has been spending his mornings working on the new Norman Trail (named after former NLCC chair Les Norman) at Clark Pond, rolling rocks to make room for a ski trail. In the meantime, Bob Brown and his son Scott have been repairing and replacing bridges on the Webb Forest Trail after completing boardwalk replacement projects at the Philbrick-Cricenti Bog (with thanks to Scott’s Yard Care), on the Lyon Brook Trail behind the Outing Club, and on the Kidder-Clough-Cleveland trail behind the old middle school. Last year, the NLCC used about 10,000 board feet of hemlock to repair boardwalks and bridges, and more is planned for 2011.
While the NLCC has received assistance from the Public Works Department, Recreation Director, Boy Scouts, and work groups from the Merrimack County Diversion Program, it could still use more hands on deck, particularly carrying building material deep into the woods trails. Bob Brown is planning the next trail work day for October 9, and interested volunteers should contact him
October 9 is also the day that New London’s trail network will host the last of the Western NH Trail Running series
(www.wnhtrs.com) organized by Recreation Director Chad Denning in partnership with six other towns that hosted earlier races. Hundreds of racers will run a 12.5km run that starts at the elementary school and proceeds down Pleasant Street and up the Great Brook Trail to the top of Morgan Hill before looping back to the elementary school via Morgan Hill Road. If you’re not running, then come out and cheer for the runners’ health and safety!
Speaking of health and safety, also on October 9 the Friends of New London Hospital, along with a number of other community groups and Town public safety departments, will be hosting the annual health and safety fair at the old middle school from 9 PM to 1 PM. The health fair will include an adult VNA flu shot clinic, informational displays, health screenings, medication safety, and other health-related demonstrations. Please come out (and watch out for the runners!).
Jessie Levine, Town
375 Main Street
New London, NH 03257
Phone: 603-526-4821 extension 13