Save Georgia’s Hemlocks issues call for volunteers to help at Anna Ruby Falls

Deadly, invasive insect infesting trees            June 5, 2016

Deadly, invasive insects are threatening hemlocks at Anna Ruby Falls near Helen. And to stem the tide and treat the trees against the pest, volunteers are asked to join the efforts of Save Georgia’s Hemlocks, a nonprofit working in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service.

Introduced from Japan, the hemlock woolly adelgid feeds on sap of the eastern hemlock and Carolina hemlock found in 18 states from Georgia to Massachusetts. An estimated 90 percent of the geographic range of the eastern hemlock has been impacted, according to researchers in the department of etymology at the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Hundreds of thousands of hemlocks across North Georgia have been killed by the insect, said Bob Pledger, vice chairman of Save Georgia’s Hemlocks.

“There are still about 500 trees in the park that haven’t been treated for the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid since 2009, and they desperately need treatment this spring if they are to survive,” Pledger said in a statement.

Hemlocks on public lands such as national forests, state parks and recreational areas are being treated with carefully managed programs of chemical and/or biological controls, according to the Save Georgia’s Hemlocks website.

A third volunteer project will be 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 11 to treat the trees in a safe and effective manner. All participants will receive a brief initial training.

“These outings are always rewarding as volunteers get to enjoy a fun day in the woods, meet other good people who care about protecting our environment and gain the satisfaction of knowing that their efforts will help preserve the beauty and health of our natural resources for years to come,” Pledger said.

To volunteer, contact Bob Pledger at or 706-212-2833.

For more information, visit or call the Hemlock Help Line at 706-429-8010.

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