In this issue:
Beetlemania comes to GMF:
Hemlock Woolly Adelgid might have met its match
Interns get juiced about beetles
Intern days with McClean Wildlife Refuge
Annual intern picnic
July rainfall
Celebrate GMF at the Forest Fête
More forest events....
Beetlemania Comes to GMF!
Beetle Release at GMF to
Address Invasive Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Dr. Carole Cheah, entomologist ​from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and longtime researcher of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) at Great Mountain Forest, has recently seen infestations of HWA cropping up all over the state.

GMF, with its colder climate, had been fairly successful in warding off this pest in interior old growth hemlock trees near Wampee Pond. These trees are difficult for HWA to access and are located where forest temperatures are more extreme. "However, two mild winters in a row have led to an increased infestation in GMF's hemlock areas that have been pest free until now, and this is alarming," observes Cheah.

To address the infestation at Wampee Pond, Cheah donated 100 lady beetles Sasajiscymnus (= Pseudoscymnustsugae for release on HWA-infested trees. These biological control agents, originally hailing from Japan, have been tested and released in CT since 1995 as HWA predators. 

They are bundled in hemlock foliage and tied to the branches of hemlock trees during release. The hope is that they will overwinter, breed, increase numbers, and begin to reduce the HWA population. GMF interns Rissa and Joe helped Cheah with the beetle release.

According to Cheah, to significantly kill HWA at GMF, critical temperatures of -11°F are needed or several days below 0°F, temperatures we've failed to reach in recent years.
The small but mighty ladybeetle: predator of the dreaded HWA (photos courtesy of Dr. Carole Cheah)
Interns Joe and Rissa tying bundles of ladybeetles to the infested Hemlock trees near Wampee Pond.
Interns Get Juiced about a Beetle
While out checking wildlife cams, interns Joe and Caleb came upon a rather large beetle that neither had seen before.

After photographing the specimen, they queried Forest Manager Jody Bronson, which led to a call to Chris Maier, Ph.D., an entomologist with the CT State Agricultural Experiment Station.

Maier identified the large long-horned beetle as a female of  Stenocornus schaumii.

Without seeing the specimen firsthand, Maier speculates that the larvae of this non-pest insect may feed upon ash trees killed by Emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire).
This species previously has not been seen or studied in Connecticut. Maier hypothesizes that Stenocorus schaumii might become more common given the amount of decaying ash trees in forests.
Intern Exchange with McClean Game Refuge
Builds Connections
By Caleb May

The Great Mountain Forest intern program has, for years, relied on the help and knowledge of outside sources to expand the understanding of the natural world around us.

This summer Great Mountain Forest teamed up with McLean Game Refuge to spend two unforgettable days on the properties. Forest Manager Jody Bronson, who has overseen the evolving GMF intern program since 1990, believes, “An internship is not only about hands-on education. Giving GMF interns the opportunity to interact with the interns at McClean Wildlife Refuge helps both the students and foresters engage in thoughtful conversations about their chosen career paths. This will equip them to make sound informed decisions about the future of the forests that we are all responsible for.”

Although McLean has visited Great Mountain Forest in previous years, this was the first time the interns at GMF visited the Refuge. It was a truly amazing experience to be able to spend the day in a totally new setting and helped educate us on the various forests around CT and how they differ. 

First, McLean interns Sam, Todd, Ryan, Michael, and Shannon made their way to GMF with McLean director Connor Hogan. We spent a day sharing information about the history, wildlife, plant life, and mission of our forest. We explored the sugar house and sawmill, investigated a large American Chestnut that had succumbed to the blight, and learned about forest management techniques to keep a happy and healthy working forest. We also finished with 43 different bird species spotted. 

Then GMF interns Rissa, Joe, and I ventured to Granby, CT to visit their property. Although both places are in Connecticut they feature very different topography, soil types, elevations, climates, and flora and fauna species. We examined the sand plains that are prevalent at McLean and walked among giant White Pines that towered 150 feet above us while learning about what McLean does and the different research projects the interns there are leading, such as a macroinvertebrate and flora survey.

Rissa observed, “We are spoiled at GMF to have such a unique forest. However, being able to see McLean Game Refuge was a chance to expand into some of the other unique landscapes and forest types in CT. One of the most memorable areas to me was along a small part of the river bed where we identified as many different tree species as we could. Most interestingly, this area was without American beech, which can often overwhelm the forest floor at GMF.”

Joe also expressed his thoughts on the change of locale for the interns, “I really enjoyed seeing the diversity of trees McLean had to offer, there were several different species that I have seen on occasion but not as frequently. At McLean, they seemed to be all over. It was very interesting to see trees that are more suitable for the sand plains.”
Jody presenting axes to interns to carry forward in their careers
(Left) Tamara welcoming guests to the annual celebration
A chance to connect with GMF's supportive community
Annual Intern Picnic Returns for Class of 2021
The annual intern picnic returned to the Mountain Office this year under sunny skies. Board members, staff, interns and their families, and program donors gathered for a BBQ (planned to perfection by office manager Heath Hughes) to celebrate another successful year of the program and the work of Rissa Currie, Joe Rupe, and Caleb May.

GMF Executive Director Tamara Muruetagoiena and Board Chair John Coston welcomed the guests and expressed gratitude for those who fund the program and the staff who share their valuable knowledge with our future forest professionals.

In his final year of overseeing the internship program, Forest Manager Jody Bronson playfully quizzed interns on forest knowledge and continued the tradition of presenting each intern with their own axe for the price of one penny, a tradition you can read about here in an essay by GMF board member David Leff.
Each year, interns create a plaque to hang in the Forest Office to commemorate their time at the forest. This year, Rissa took it up a notch and put her artistic talents to work.

GMF is grateful to all donors who support our internship program. You're helping to pay it forward for future generations of forest and wildlife professionals. Your support helps them to carry on the important work of sustainable forest management and stewardship of the natural world.
Raindrops Kept Falling on Our Heads

GMF's weather observation gives context for the copious amount of rain that fell in the northwest corner in July. Here are some of the data that forester and weather observer Russell Russ collected last month, in comparison to the longitudinal data GMF has recorded every day since 1932:
  • 13.05" of rain fell in July 2021, making it the wettest July
  • The 89-year average July rainfall is 4.33"
  • July 2021 is the 8th wettest month of any month over the last 1,075 months
Upcoming Events at GMF
CT DEEP Hosts Forest Mapping and Photography Workshop for Land Managers at GMF
On Friday, August 20 from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m., the CT DEEP Division of Forestry will be conducting a workshop on forest mapping and photography with your phone. Hosted at GMF and conducted by CT DEEP Western District Service Forester David Beers, this workshop will introduce participants to the Avenza mapping app. The session is for professional land managers.

For more information, requirements, and to register click here. If you have questions, contact David Beers at or call him at 860-965-8975.
Save the Date
Yoga @ the Forest
GMF Mountain Office Lawn
Saturday, August 28 @ 9 a.m.
$20 per person
Invitation to follow
Forest Notices

Welcome to the forest!

GMF is a place of peaceful co-existence for everyone

  • Keep your dog on a leash and if you pack it in--pack it out.

  • Sign in at kiosks at the East and West Gates.

  • Watch for inclement weather notices on social media.

If you have any questions, email
Stand with the Trees!
Donate to Great Mountain Forest.
Your generosity makes our work possible!
GMF is critical to the environmental and economic sustainability of the region as well as an important contributor to research and education about climate change and environmental health. Help us support the forest as a vital natural resource and a place for those who love the woods.