Members of the Bethel Asian Longhorned Beetle Citizens’ Cooperative are planning a concert event to help raise awareness about ALB and raise funds for education and reforestation efforts in the Bethel area.
Bill Skvarla, a member of the cooperative, said the event, called Tree Aid, is scheduled for Sept. 16 from noon until 8 p.m.
Skvarla said Tree Aid will feature continuous musical entertainment from local musicians, food, educational booths and other fund-raisers and activities.
Skvarla said there are several reasons why members of the cooperative, which recently became a registered non-profit organization with 501c3 recognition in progress, decided to put together the event.
“Number one there is still so much anger and hurt feelings in Bethel over what has happened up to this point, we wanted to give people an opportunity to do something that was pleasurable,” Skvarla said. “Number two is the educational piece and number three is to garner additional funds to keep our cooperative moving forward.”
Skvarla said he hopes residents will come out and enjoy the music, have some food and learn more about the Asian longhorned beetle during the event.
He said the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will probably not be at the event, but there will be a variety of USDA-APHIS educational handouts available.
“We will have our own educational booths set up and be passing out fliers and information,” Skvarla said.
He said it is important to continue educating people in the area about the beetle.
“The more people that are aware of what’s going on around us the better off we are going to be,” Skvarla said.
Skvarla said every infestation has been discovered by a property owner, including the most recent infestation discovered in Stonelick Township last month.
“People need to be even more aware,” Skvarla said. “We want to do everything we can to help supplement what the USDA is doing.”
Skvarla said admission to the event is free. He said there will be opportunities to support the cooperative and donate money.
“Proceeds from the benefit are going to the Bethel Asian Longhorned Beetle Citizens’ Cooperative,” Skvarla said.
Skvarla said the money will be spent on educational and reforestation efforts in the area.
“It’s frustrating that there is no tree replanting money yet,” Skvarla said.
He said they hoped that government funds would be available already so they could begin replanting trees where thousands of infested trees were removed.
“At this time we’re trying to figure out the percentage of funds that goes to reforestation and how do we go about applying for grant money,” he said.
Skvarla said they are still looking for volunteers to help with Tree Aid. He said anyone interested can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the Asian Longhorned Beetle Citizens’ Cooperative, visit