Alaska Forest Health Observations's Journal

April 29, 2022

Bear scratching and trees

Bear scratch fever! Bears mark, scratch & even feed on the inner bark of trees in spring. Wounds create entry points for stem decays, which can eventually develop into decay hollows for future den habitat! You scratch my tree, I’ll scratch yours. #BearAware #AlaskaForestHealth

Posted on April 29, 2022 05:01 PM by awenninger awenninger | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 08, 2022

Red belt fungus & beetle-killed spruce

Many of the trees killed by #AlaskaSpruceBeetle have red belt, a decay fungus that weakens stem strength. Spring wind events in Anchorage have caused many dead spruce to snap, be sure to avoid these areas when it’s windy! #AlaskaForestHealth

Posted on April 08, 2022 09:15 PM by awenninger awenninger | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 16, 2022

Hemlock-blueberry rust

Berries leaves can be part of the life-cycle for some rust fungi! For example, hemlock-blueberry rust results in a powdery, orange rust on the undersides of blueberry & hemlock leaves. Don't worry if your patch is infected—the berries will be safe to eat.

Posted on March 16, 2022 03:56 PM by awenninger awenninger | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 14, 2022

Forest Pathologist Robin Mulvey collects samples of red alder stem decay near Juneau

Check out this video of USFS Forest Pathologist Robin Mulvey (and Banjo the dog!) collecting samples of red alder stem decay fungi near Juneau! #AlaskaForestHealth hopes to better understand the ecological diversity of hardwood stem decays in Alaska.

Posted on March 14, 2022 06:19 PM by awenninger awenninger | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Invasive Birch Leafminers

A little late sharing this post from Invasive Species Awareness Week, the week of March 4th:

It’s Invasive Species Awareness Week, so let’s learn how invasive birch leafminers overwinter in AK! These tiny sawflies survive the winter by staying insulated under the snowpack inside cocoons within their host birch leaves. #NISAW22 #AlaskaForestHealth

Posted on March 14, 2022 06:11 PM by awenninger awenninger | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 25, 2022

Where do we overwinter? Alaska Forest Health Team

Where do we overwinter? Our USFS #AlaskaForestHealth team spends all summer outside looking at trees, but in the winter we can be found doing lab work, analyzing data, or if lucky maybe catching a couple days of winter field work!

Posted on January 25, 2022 11:13 PM by awenninger awenninger | 1 comment | Leave a comment

January 24, 2022

2021 Forest Health StoryMap posted!

Fall color along the Nenana River backed by the Alaska Range. Boreal forests like this extend across 115 million acres in Alaska. Learn how #AlaskaForestHealth monitors boreal forest health in our StoryMap Forest Service photo by Lori Winton.

Posted on January 24, 2022 08:58 PM by awenninger awenninger | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 17, 2021

Adding 'Host Plant' information to your observations

Help us identify your observations by including host plant information! Some fungi and insect larvae only live and grow on certain species of plants, so knowing which plant the organism is living on can help us identify it. An easy way to add host plant information to your post is to name the plant species in the notes section of your observation. If you don't know the species of plant that's ok, but adding the general group of plants can be helpful too! For example, if you know it's a spruce, but aren't sure which one, feel free to just put 'spruce'. If the tree bark is degraded and you're not sure if it's birch or aspen, but you know it's not a conifer species, you can designate the host as 'hardwood'. Notes about the tree species is very helpful for us, so we appreciate you including it!

A more advanced way to add host information is to scroll down to the field on the lower right hand side of your observation labeled "Observation fields" (this field is located below "Annotations" and "Projects"). In the box, type and click on "Host Plant ID" and type in the species of plant!

Thank you for contributing to our project!

Posted on November 17, 2021 08:48 PM by awenninger awenninger | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 05, 2021

Hiring opportunity - Seasonal Biological Science Technicians for USFS

The US Forest Service is starting our seasonal hiring for summer 2022! Once again, Forest Health Protection will be hiring temporary Biological Science Technician (Insect and Disease) positions for seasonal forest health work in Alaska. Positions will be open November 5-12, 2021.

The job announcements are now posted on the USA jobs website at the following links:



The primary purpose of these positions is to provide support for Forest Health Protection program implementation. Major duties may include assisting in forest health surveys, insect and disease sample collection and processing, and preparation of data and reports.

Posted on November 05, 2021 05:21 PM by awenninger awenninger | 0 comments | Leave a comment

October 22, 2021

Join us for the 2021 Alaska Invasive Species Workshop, November 3-4!

The Alaska Invasive Species Partnership and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service organizes an invasive species workshop held annually in the late fall. The workshop is a forum for discussing invasive species management activities within the state, offers expert presentations about emerging invasive species science and management issues, highlights outreach efforts, and offers training for new and experienced invasive species managers alike.

The 2021 Invasive Species Workshop theme is: Join the persistence: working behind the screen to prevent and manage invasive species

The workshop is entirely virtual this year and will be hosted online November 3 – 4, 2021. There is no cost to register for this event.

View the agenda and register to attend here:

Posted on October 22, 2021 08:20 PM by awenninger awenninger | 0 comments | Leave a comment