The Ash Forest Project

The ash is one of North America’s most important trees: a foundation of environments, ecosystems, economies and cultures with millions of years of evolutionary history on this continent. But all 16 known ash species native to the United States are now threatened by an invasive insect known as the emerald ash borer. While trees throughout much of the eastern U.S. have been killed, there are still large, intact ash-dominated forests in places like the eastern shore of Maryland and northern Minnesota. And many species of ash tree, mainly in the Western U.S., have yet to be reached by the ash borer, but are likely to be vulnerable to it too.

For more than two years, photographer Leslie Brice and I have documented ash-dominated wetland forests in Maryland. Some have already been devastated by emerald ash borer, and others are still intact. We are now working to produce a photo exhibit highlighting the beauty and importance of these little-known ecosystems. Through events at DC-area galleries and other spaces, we hope to draw attention to these remarkable places and inspire people to get to know them and protect them.

If you would like to support or get updates on this project, please email gpopkin@gmail.com and indicate your interest. We will send announcements as our project progresses. Thank you!

Photos by Leslie Brice