Secretary Julie Moore
In the year I’ve spent at ANR, one of my favorite moments came at a meeting of the Endangered Species Committee, an advisory group made up of academics, working professionals and scientists who volunteer their time to help inform the Agency’s actions.
One of the Species Advisory Group chairs was describing his research to look for emerald ash borers - an exotic beetle that has been decimating ash trees in many states across the country but, thankfully, has not yet been spotted here in Vermont.
As he explained, colleagues had identified a
species of wasps
that seemed to feed solely on emerald beetles, and that, because they like hard-packed sand for their nesting sites, these wasps are often found in baseball infields. He’d gathered a cadre of citizen and professional scientists that had spent time observing the wasps returning to their nests. The team collected every third or fourth beetle that the wasps returned with. To date, they haven’t found any emerald ash borers, but have found and identified more than THIRTY different species of emerald beetles.
To me this story was incredible on so many levels – first, that there are more than 30 different species of emerald beetles in Vermont; second, that someone had taken the time to figure out there are wasps (who like to nest in baseball infields) that rely solely on emerald beetles as their mainstay; and third, that there are so many Vermonters willing to volunteer their time to collect and identify emerald beetles from the wasps carrying these beetles back to their nests.
I think each part of this story is more incredible than the last! To me it proves beyond a doubt that science is alive and well here at the Agency of Natural Resources, in our strong academic communities and in a veritable army of concerned Vermont citizens.
I hope you enjoy this issue of our newsletter which features more stories of the fabulous scientific works from those who I feel fortunate to call my colleagues.
-- Julie Moore, Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources