DNR grant to help Phillips plan for emerald ash borer, involve students in experiential learning projects

WJFW.com: Forty-year-old ash trees line Highway 13 entering Phillips from the south. But these same trees are at risk of the deadly emerald ash borer.

EAB hit the city of Rhinelander in fall 2014, making Oneida County the first county in the Northwoods with the pest. Price County has yet to find the beetle, but naturalists in Phillips are planning ahead.

Phillips has offered people the chance to adopt and care for ash trees in town, and the town is also looking into using chemicals to protect some of its most important trees. Meanwhile, the city has been removing ash trees that are already weak, sick, or dying.

“We’ve been taking those out, probably 10, 12, 15 trees a year,” said Phillips Tree Committee chair Marjory Brzeskiewicz. “We don’t have a huge ash population as far as numbers of trees, but it does make up 17 percent of this urban forest, so that’s a little bit high.”

A new $25,000 matching grant from the DNR will help Phillips create a plan for fighting the emerald ash borer. The grant will also allow the city to work with Phillips schools. Students will help with a citywide tree inventory, learn about urban forestry, and plant trees.

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