A battle to treat and save diseased trees in forested areas within the City of Grand Haven is bolstered by a strong Grand Valley contingent lending expertise, fundraising efforts, physical labor and more.
The Lakers lending a hand include: Lawrence Burns, professor of psychology, who along with his teenage son, Nathan, have developed a fundraiser to help treat the trees in their city; Ali Locher, associate professor of natural resources management, whose research has helped city officials and others working on the trees understand the depth of the problem; more than 80 forestry students to date also working on the research; and computer science students developing a website for the fundraiser.
All of that help is appreciated by Derek Gajdos, director of public works for the City of Grand Haven. Gajdos said the ongoing threats to the hemlock (woolly adelgid), oak (oak wilt) and beech (beech bark disease) trees that are in three areas of the city – Duncan Woods, Mulligan's Hollow and Lake Forest Cemetery – are not only worrisome, but a large strain on city resources.
Locher's work has been instrumental in trying to manage these unique old-growth urban forests that are so crucial to the environment as well as the city's character, Gajdos said. And the funds raised through the efforts of Burns and his son are helping to augment city resources; Gajdos said Burns also is treating some oak trees on the city's behalf.
The threats from these infestations are relentless, Gajdos said, adding the oak wilt has recently been expanding rapidly. It also kills quickly.