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Beetlemania: The Hunt for the Emerald Ash Borer & Asian Longhorned Beetle

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The Vernon Greenways Volunteers will conduct their sixth annual tour of Vernon’s Rail Trail looking for a possible infestation of the Emerald Ash Borer and Asian Longhorned Beetle on Saturday, September 17 at 9 a.m. (Rain date September 24).

These invasive species have been found as close as Worcester, MA (Asian Longhorned Beetle) and right next door in Ellington (Emerald Ash Borer). The Ellington sighting brings immediacy to our efforts. The goal is to find them in year one of their infestation when they can be more easily controlled. Year four or five is too late. We will be looking for damage to trees caused by these invasive beetles. If suspicious areas are found they will be examined by our Group Leaders and, if appropriate, marked for closer examination. Bring binoculars if you have them or, if not, we will supply.

The process will be lead by Rose Hiskes, Diagnostician & Horticulturist in the Entomology Department of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and Carol Grasis, Resource Conservationist for the USDA. Both will bring co-workers who will serve as Group Leaders.
Breakfast items served at 8:30 a.m. Training will be provided. Project specific T-Shirts will be supplied. If you have participated in prior years please bring your T-Shirt.

If you have questions or plan to attend, please contact Don Bellingham, Lead Person of the Vernon Greenways Volunteers, at (860) 872 6061 or vernongreenways@att.net.

Vernon Rails to Trails Mural Dedication

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On Saturday June 4th (Trails Day) the dedication of the mural at the Route 84 underpass of the Rockville Extension of the Rail Trail took place. Before the dedication Middle School Epoch Art Students and one of the eight contributing local artists presented art displays.

Speakers at the dedication included: Don Bellingham, Project Director/Vernon Greenways Volunteers Lead ; Mayor Daniel Champaign; Dave Smith, Pratt & Whitney Executive; Sherri Nevins, Vernon Middle School Art Teacher/Epoch Art Program founder, and Jeff Slobodien, Lead Artist.

This was the culmination of one and 1/2 years of planning by the Mural Committee (Don Bellingham; Sherri Nevens; Jeff Slobodien; Sandra Justin, The Vernon Arts Commission, and Michelle Hill, Vernon Youth Services) and one year of execution by the artists. The project was funded by a $5,000 grant from Pratt & Whitney.

Beverages and dessert items were served post dedication. The ceremony was attended by approximately 50 people. This area had been abused by obscene and objectionable material graffiti for years and the dedication plaque says it best “Art Transforms an Abused Space”.

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Vernon Greenways Volunteers In Action

Listed below are some of the events and activities of the Vernon Greenways Volunteers this year. Our season began in the Spring and continues into October.

The following photos will give you an idea of the type of tasks the Vernon Greenways Volunteers undertake. They are from 2015 work parties. Click on the images for larger size.

Spring cleanup at the Warren Avenue Planting. One of the eight we maintain on the Rail Trail.
Spring cleanup at the Warren Avenue Planting. One of the eight we maintain on the Rail Trail.
Install footings prior to relocation of bridge in background to its new site.
Install footings prior to relocation of bridge in background to its new site.
Prepare Rt 84 underpass for execution of 2,500 Square Foot Mural.
Prepare Rt 84 underpass for execution of 2,500 Square Foot Mural.
Trail Maintenance Team repairs erosion on Rail Trail near Maple Avenue.
Trail Maintenance Team repairs erosion on Rail Trail near Maple Avenue.
Rt 84 underpass mural will be done by students from Vernon's public schools and local artists. Jeff Slobodien, Lead Artist, is shown here touching up the first student panel at the mural.
Rt 84 underpass mural will be done by students from Vernon’s public schools and local artists. Jeff Slobodien, Lead Artist, is shown here touching up the first student panel at the mural.
Weed Whacking Team working on Dart Hill North Hiking Trail behind Vernon Gardens.
Weed Whacking Team working on Dart Hill North Hiking Trail behind Vernon Gardens.
Removing garlic mustard, an invasive, from Dart Hill South Park's Stone Dust Trail.
Removing garlic mustard, an invasive, from Dart Hill South Park’s Stone Dust Trail.
Move an eighteen foot five hundred pound bridge to a new site on the Hockanum River Linear Park Trail.
Move an eighteen foot five hundred pound bridge to a new site on the Hockanum River Linear Park Trail.
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