For Immediate Release: October 8, 2014
Contact: Lynne Richmond
(TEANECK) – The New Jersey Department of Agriculture today unveiled a new exhibit at World of Wings in Teaneck designed to educate the public about invasive pests threatening trees in New Jersey.
The display, located at the entrance to the museum, has giant pictures of an emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle, with cutouts for children to put their faces into the scene. Along with the fun activity, there are signs explaining the threat the insects pose to state trees and how to contact the New Jersey Department of Agriculture in case people spot the bugs.
“The exhibit at World of Wings is part of the Department’s outreach efforts to stop the spread of pests responsible for killing millions of trees in our region,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher. “Once the public knows what to look for, they can assist us in finding signs of invasive insects, helping to contain infestations.”
Florence Rutherford of World of Wings with the NJDA's Paul Kurtz and George Nelson of USDA
The concept and design for the display came from Paul Kurtz, Department entomologist and Forest Pest Outreach and Survey Program Manager. He worked with the World of Wings, as well as the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange and the Cape May County Zoo in Cape May Court House to locate displays at the facilities to reach a greater number of people. Each exhibit cost $3,000, with funding coming from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Pest Outreach and Survey Program.
World of Wings opened in December of 2012 as an entertainment and education center focused on butterflies, amphibians and reptiles. One major attraction is the Butterfly Atrium, which features butterfly species from around the world, many of which are at risk of extinction. James Yoon of World of Wings said the invasive pest display fits well with the museum’s mission.
“Families come to look at the display as they enter,” said Yoon. “It’s good for taking pictures and educational for the kids.”
The Department of Agriculture works to suppress and eradicate harmful insects that kill trees in New Jersey. Currently, the Department is tracking infestations of emerald ash borer in Mercer, Burlington and Somerset counties. Asian longhorned beetle was successfully eradicated in the state by the Department, USDA and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection last year.
Most invasive insect discoveries in the United States have been made by private citizens. In both the New Jersey emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle infestations, members of the public alerted authorities.
To learn more about emerald ash borer, visit the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s website at http://bit.ly/Zc948l or the USDA’s site at http://bit.ly/1sXM3CW. For Asian longhorned beetle information, go to http://asianlonghornedbeetle.com.
Report signs of these beetles to the Department of Agriculture at 609-406-6939.