Skip to content

1st Grade Ashvocates Help Spread EAB Awareness in Denver

DENVER — Ashvocates at Denver Public Schools’ Downtown Denver Expeditionary School (DDES) hit the city streets to learn more about ash trees, Emerald Ash Borer  (EAB) and ways to combat the borer. These students know that the impending arrival of the EAB is nothing to kid about.

“We should protect ash trees,” a DDES first grader said. “Ash trees make oxygen and shade. And without ash trees, we’d be so hot! Please help save the ash trees!”

The Expeditionary Learning approach to teaching and learning makes subjects come alive for students by connecting learning to real-world issues and needs. By utilizing Downtown Denver as a campus, DDES students were able to identify, touch and feel many of the ash trees lining the public streets. When asked how to treat trees for EAB, one student said, “You can put special medicine in the trees.”

Although there are no natural controls to halt the feast of the EAB, EAB treatments, when properly administered by a licensed tree professional, are 90 percent effective.

The students learned how to tell if a tree is infested with EAB by looking for D-shaped exit holes, wavy trail lines, bark falling off the tree and Northern Flickers (type of woodpecker), among other things.

“The EAB bores into the ash tree and lays eggs. The eggs then turn into larva and eats the trees which kills the trees,” said another first grader.

To bring the issue to life back into the classroom, students also developed “wanted” posters with drawings of EAB and ash tree leaves for easy identification.

EAB Denver students

There are 1.45 million ash trees in the Denver metro area that are at risk for emerald ash borer infestation, with 330,000 of them in the City and County of Denver. Early detection is key to managing the threat posed by the EAB.

“If we don’t have ash trees, we won’t have ash wood to make baseball bats,” a student said. “We have to stop the emerald ash borer and tell other people about the bug.”