Symposium to examine importance of ash trees in North America

January 28, 2010

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue University departments of Entomology and Forestry and Natural Resources will host a conference on the importance of the ash tree in North America.

The Symposium on Ash in North America will take place March 9-11 at the University Plaza Hotel in West Lafayette, Ind. Topics covered will be the distribution, management, location, biology, genetics and social aspects of ash trees.

Along with Purdue, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service is sponsoring the event. The symposium is particularly suited for people in forestry-related industries but is open to anyone who has an interest in ash trees, said Jodie Ellis, Purdue's exotic insects education coordinator and a conference organizer.

"We're anticipating a wide range of people," she said.

Registration for the conference is $140 and is due by Feb. 18. After that date, the fee will be $180. Conference-reserved rooms will be available at the University Plaza Hotel for $89 per night until Feb. 6.

For more information on registration and travel accommodations, visit http://www.fnr.purdue.edu/ashsymposium/

"Although most of our excellent speakers will focus on the biology of ash trees and industry matters, there will be a few surprises," Ellis said.

Presenters also will include Native Americans who will talk about the importance of the ash tree to their culture. An executive from Hillerich & Bradsby Co., makers of Louisville Slugger baseball bats, will be the symposium's keynote speaker, and Ellis will discuss ash in lore and mythology.

"Ash is a hardwood native to North America. It is significant environmentally and economically," said Lenny Farlee, Extension specialist for the Purdue Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center.

The ash species plays an important part in urban and rural forest development. The trees provide numerous products and benefits to communities and natural landscapes.

"Right now, the whole ash resource is under threat from an introduced beetle called the emerald ash borer," Farlee said.

While the emerald ash borer will be discussed, it will not be the main focus of the conference.

"Of course you can't have a conference like this without mentioning or having something about emerald ash borer in it, but this is broader than that. That's what makes it unique, and that's what makes it important," Ellis said.

Writer: Julie Preble, 765-494-8402, jmpreble@purdue.edu

Sources:  Jodie Ellis, 765-494-0822, ellisj@purdue.edu

                   Lenny Farlee, 765-494-2153, lfarlee@purdue.edu