Meet the Forest Care Fellow - Evan Hammon

forestEHammon2As the climate changes and more invasive species find their way to CSA’s forests, an urgent question arises: what can we do to keep our forests thriving over the years? That’s where Evan Hammon, our new Forest Care Fellow, comes in - and his expertise and connection to the area make him the perfect man for the job.

Evan was born and raised just around the corner in Frankfort, and he got his degree in Environmental Science at the University of Michigan. Though he only joined the CSA community earlier this summer, he knows his way around. “I’ve always loved the forest here,” he says with a glance out the window. “I feel really connected to the environment - the lake, the forest, the beaches, everything.” His job gives him the opportunity to understand the forest and everything to do with it - both the conservation measures done in the past, and the threats of the future. It’s important business, and as time passes, he hopes to share this information with the CSA so they can be aware of the changes happening right in their backyards.



He doesn’t have to be the only one getting involved, though; Evan is also leading plenty of activities to help the community get to know their forests better. One of his most prominent activities are his weekly forest walks, where he guides a group through the forests to point out important and interesting things about our forests (join him every Tuesday inside the Assembly Building at 10am). He’s also developing a restoration guide on how homeowners can keep their property healthy, and he offers the opportunity for him to come survey individual plots of land after the forest walks have concluded.

You can contact Evan at (231) 651 9769 or for more information about our forests. Also, see his introduction video at

Forest Care at the Assembly: 2020

Despite Covid this was an active time in the research and restoration of the CSA forest.  Lucas Nerbonne joined us as an intern during the month of July.  One of his primary projects was to map Hemlock groves around the CSA.  This species is a slow-growing, long-lived tree which grows in groves that create their own micro climate.  Did you know that there are Hemlocks that could be up to 300 years old on the assembly grounds? Unfortunately these old friends are next on the list of threatened trees.  Please be on the lookout for the unwanted invasive, the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid.  It has yet to be found in our area, but there are cases just south of us in Michigan. For more information visit If you find hemlocks along a road consider trimming lower branches so that the pest can not be transfered from via a vehicle.  
Lucas also made contact with residents of the Standish neighborhood who were part of a cottage owner pilot project, and mapped the condition of Beech trees that were treated for Beech Bark Disease by the CSA.  Beech Bark Disease treatment appears to be successful to date, so if you have a beech tree on your lot you would like to save, please contact "Tree Doctor" Dan Schillenger at  or 231-947-8921.  He will be at the assembly in September.
Garlic Mustard removal continues at the CSA.  The Ecology and Forest Care committee sponsored four volunteer events removing >50 bags of garlic mustard!  Make sure you check out the Hemlock in the background of this picture.
There is not much time left in the 2020 season, but good news, forest professionals usually treat and remove trees in the Fall and Winter months.  Please visit this resource list to find the help you need.  If you have thoughts or questions feel free to contact .

Ecology and Forest Care Committees Standish Road Area Pilot

The Ecology and Forest Care Committees are focused on educating CSA property owners/stewards about two critical problems within our forest that will change its very nature: 1) diseased Ash and Beech trees; and 2) the rapid spread of non-native, invasive plants that inhibit the growth of native plants.

Over the last 10+ years the CSA made great strides in addressing these issues on the common property. But if we are to be successful in preserving as much of the beauty, health and safety of our forest as we can, we need everyone’s help.

This summer the Ecology and Forest Care Committees will be piloting a communication effort in the Standish Road area. A communication packet, approved by the Board, will let lot owners know the approximate number of Ash and Beech trees that are on their property. It will also provide 2 maps showing invasive species in our area. Lot owners will be asked to return a response card that will help the Committees identify how well people understand these threats and the level of commitment to address them.

The Committees will also continue communication efforts with the entire community this summer. All of the educational materials from the Standish Road pilot are available on the CSA website. Click on the links below to see:

  1. Ash Borer and Beech Bark Disease flier;
  2. A Chart of Invasive Species in our area;
  3. 2017 Invasive Plant Monitoring Group map indicating the presence of all non-native, invasive plants on CSA common ground and private properties;
  4. Wood Blue Grass map indication presence on CSA common ground and private properties;
  5. A list of resources to contact to assist with remediation options

Hemlock Woolly Adelgi Survey

From the Ecology and Forest Care Committees:

The Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network (ISN) is conducting surveys throughout the region to determine the presence of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA), a potential threat to the hemlocks in our environment. They will include an appraisal of hemlocks on CSA common grounds. ISN would also like to include private properties in their search. In order to do this, they need permission from property owners.

Below is information about the insect, the timing of the survey, and the permission form required to survey the trees on your property. This form and your questions can be addressed to:

Audrey Menninga
Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network
Invasive Species Specialist
Grand Traverse Conservation District
1450 Cass Rd. Traverse City, MI 49685
Office: (231)941-0960 x18
Cell: (231) 268-4620

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid is a small insect that attaches to the base of the hemlock needles and sucks the nutrients from the tree. The hemlock senses something wrong with that branch, and does what's called “self-pruning” - it stops sending nutrients to that branch. Unfortunately, HWA is a prolific spreader once in a tree, and this causes the hemlock to eventually kill itself. It takes about 5-10 years for death to happen, however, which gives us time to treat infected trees. Right now, there have been no reports of HWA in the ISN service area (Manistee, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau) so we're being proactive right now! The closest report to us is in northern Oceana County.

Surveys start in January and run until the end of April. Property owners don't need to be on the property, though any information about the property (primarily, where the best place is to park, whether roads/driveways will be plowed) is appreciated! We walk through the property, checking up to 30 hemlocks per acre by flipping over four branches on each tree to check the undersides. It's a very easy and straightforward survey, with no damage to the trees! Because of the Michigan Invasives Species Grant Program, there is zero cost to property owners for survey.

Please compete the permission form by clicking this link and mailing it to the adddress above: Hemlock Woolly Adelgid ISN Permission Form

2018 Report - Time is running out to treat the Beech trees

The Problem: CSA forests are under continued threat! Emerald Ash Borer has killed over 10% of our forest. Now a much worse threat is upon us: Beech Bark Disease. Beech trees make up a large part of the tree canopy of the CSA and create the character of the forest we know today. The good news is that there are now options to protect and treat these incredible trees. It will cost less and may last longer than the Ash Borer treatment.BBD

What is Beech Bark Disease? Beech bark disease (BBD) is caused by both an insect scale and a fungus. First, the tree becomes covered with a white, wool-looking substance (see photo). The presence of scale allows infection by the Neonectria fungi which then kills the wood, blocking the flow of sap. Affected trees decline in health and eventually die, or they break off in heavy winds before dying – a condition called "beech snap". The earlier an infected tree is treated, the better its chances to survive. Between 3 and 10% of the beech trees are resistant to BBD. We do have resistant trees at CSA.

What is at risk? The CSA canopy is dominated by Beech trees. A number of Beech Trees at the Assembly are over 100 feet tall and were saplings around the time of the Civil War. We are now about 5 years into BBD at the Assembly. Time is running short but there is still time to effectively treat the trees. Untreated trees near roads, cottages, or other valuable trees should be removed in the next couple years before they become weak and “snap”. If we leave the trees to die they will potentially become a hazard to people and property, and become too dangerous for tree companies to easily remove. Beech trees can be very expensive to remove, and are relatively inexpensive to treat. Dan Schillinger, The Tree Doctor, has only lost 2 of >100 trees in the past 10 years.

What is the CSA doing? In 2017 and 2018 the CSA board committed $15,000 to treating beech trees on CSA property. The Forest Care committee did a survey 102 beech trees on common property. We then contracted with Steve Fouch to do treatment on 71 trees and with Dan Schillinger to treat 17 trees. Dan did a more extensive treatment removing scale and then treating with a pesticide all the way up the tree trunk. You can see metal tags of trees that were treated. We will follow up in 2019 and 2020 to compare the two treatment methods.

What can you do? Survey your property to see if there are Beech trees. Appreciate the canopy they provide. Are they scale infected? If it was to snap, would it be a risk? If you are interested in getting treated please contact “Tree Doctor” Dan Schillinger at 231-633-8733 or . You will need to mark trees with plastic tape and put your phone number and email right on the tape so Dan can follow up with you. If you have a Beech tree with no sign of scale, this is fantastic. Please let us know so we can track the resistant trees. We may want to transplant some resistant seedlings to other places in the CSA.

Take a look at the condition of the forest around you. Is it healthy? Are there young trees in the understory? Are there signs of erosion? If large trees come down will there be something to take its place? Talk to the Ecology committee about how to monitor and remove invasive species and how to care for your forest understory.