The number of Ash trees continue to decline in Shelbyville

SHELBYVIILLE, Ill. (WAND)- Conservation efforts have been underway for years to save ash trees.

"Every year we do surveys for emerald ash borer we put up traps we work with the students as far as them surveying for the ash borer,” says Lee Mitchell, Natural Resource Specialist at Lake Shelbyville. “We hope to at least hold on to our ash trees as long as we can."

The Army Corp of Engineers has been working with Shelbyville high school students, to collect samples from ash trees and see if they are infected with the emerald ash borer.

"We came up with this idea to just have the students do a survey of the ash trees in their camp ground and their access levies,” added Keith Endsiley a science teacher at Shelbyville high school. “Whenever we talked about it previously they didn't know if the Emerald Ash Borer was here so we are really in that initial phase of just collecting base data seeing if it is present."

While the students and Army Corps of Engineers haven't had many tree's affected by the Emerald Ash Borer, there are ways they could become infected.

"We encourage people not to bring of fire wood from anywhere outside of our local area,” added Mitchell. “If we do find any infected trees cut them immediately and follow the recommendation which is to basically burn them."

While many of the ash trees in Shelbyville haven’t been infected with the bug yet, other diseases like anthracnose make the tree’s more susceptible.  

"It basically just causes the tree defoliate so it stresses it out and makes susceptible to other diseases and insects," says Mitchell.

What’s most important is for people to understand how close ash trees are to extinction. If you're interested in learning more about conservation efforts you can call the lake Shelbyville Army Corps of Engineers office at 217-774-3951