Planting the Future

Emerald ash borer at Island Cottage Woods Preserve

Genesee Land Trust's Island Cottage Woods Preserve in Greece is a hotspot for migratory songbirds. This 61 acre property provides the trees, shrubs and vines that these birds love. Birds use large wooded areas along Lake Ontario like Island Cottage Woods Preserve as stopover habitat; a place to rest and a place to eat. This gives them the energy and rest they need to make their incredible journeys. But due to a pesky invasive insect, many of the trees on the property will die in the coming years.

With a changing climate, new threats are emerging to our woodlands and forests. One of the largest threats are non-native invasive species. These species can drastically change the natural systems around us. Often they can grow faster, spread quickly, and damage our native plants and animals. At Island Cottage Woods Preserve and around the country one invasive species that is causing large impacts is the emerald ash borer, or EAB.

EAB attacks ash trees -- a very common tree at Island Cottage Woods Preserve. The larvae of the insect creates galleries in living ash trees, which girdles the tree, and kills it by restricting the flow of water and nutrients from the roots to the leaves. The woodlands of Island Cottage Woods Preserve are over 80% ash, meaning that in a few years this property will look very different and could lose the benefits it provides to migratory birds. Once the ash trees die and come down, more invasive species including shrubs like multiflora rose, honeysuckle and autumn olive will seize the opportunity and out-compete our native shrubs and trees.

To combat these impacts Genesee Land Trust is planting over 2,500 native trees and shrubs throughout the Preserve to ensure this valuable habitat for migratory birds is preserved. In a few years, the hope is that these native trees and shrubs will fill the canopy and play a similar role to the woodlands as the ash do today. In concert with invasive shrub management, our hope is that this project will create a more resilient habitat for migrating birds well into the future.

Interested in learning more about this project or volunteering? Contact Kevin Farrell at  


Visit Island Cottage Woods Preserve >>

Learn what trees and shrubs you can plant to help birds >>

Get more information on the emerald ash borer from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation >>

News | Contact facebook   
Genesee Land Trust Events & Activities
<April 2018>