Volunteer Day – Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Survey at Rock Run Preserve

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Meet at 11:00am at the Sandy Springs Rest Area

Lodging Available at the Highlands Nature Sanctuary – 1.5hrs from the Rock Run Preserve


What is the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA)?

Hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae), or HWA, is a tiny brown colored insect, oval in shape native to East Asia and it feeds by sucking sap from hemlock and spruce trees. Outside of its native range it is a destructive invasive species that threatens the eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) and the Carolina hemlock (Tsuga caroliniana). Accidentally introduced to North America from Japan, HWA was first found in the eastern United States near Richmond, Virginia, in 1951 and is now found from northern Georgia, to coastal Maine, and southwestern Nova Scotia, Canada. As of 2015, 90% of the geographic range of eastern hemlock in North America has been affected by HWA. 

The resulting desiccation causes the tree to lose needles and not produce new growth. Hemlocks stricken by HWA frequently become grayish-green rather than a healthy dark green. In the northern portion of the hemlock’s range, death typically occurs 4 to 10 years after infestation. Trees that survive the direct effects of the infection are usually weakened and may die from secondary causes. The presence of HWA can be identified by its egg sacs, which resemble small tufts of cotton clinging to the underside of hemlock branches.

Our Workday

We will be surveying the Rock Run Preserve’s hemlock stand for the white cocoons of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid on the underside of the Hemlock trees branches. The hemlock stand at the preserve is located on a steep hillside which we will be trekking up and down while surveying. No experience is necessary to do this survey as you will be given ID cards to help you spot the cocoons on the trees.

What to Bring

Full water bottle
Packed lunch
Day pack to carry any items you may need
Please where sturdy hiking boots as we will be climbing and surveying on a very steep hill

About Rock Run Preserve

Rock Run Wilderness is an Arc owned 400-acre region protecting the Appalachian hill country surrounding the exceptionally deep ravine of Rock Run, a small but pristine creek that flows directly out of the Shawnee Forest into the Ohio River. Rock Run lies near the southern borders of the state forest north of the Ohio River, east of Rome, and west of Buena Vista. This section of the Ohio River is known as Sandy Springs. Here the north shore of the river is bordered by wide, flat expanses of deep sand terraces.

Rock Run’s highly dissected wild Appalachian hill-country is exceptionally scenic, highly bio-diverse, and completely forested. IT IS ARGUABLY THE WILDEST WILDERNESS AREA LEFT IN THE STATE. The hillsides show exposed layers of both shale and sandstone. The lower elevations of the hills protect a hemlock-black birch forest ecosystem, the upper elevations an oak-hickory forest. A public hiking trail is scheduled to open to the public in the future, most likely in 2019. More Information on Rock Run Preserve.