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Hear From The Experts At May 8th Tree Symposium

The fourth annual Estes Park Tree Symposium will take place from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 8 at the Estes Park Conference Center, located at the Holiday Inn at 201 South Saint Vrain Avenue. This educational event is free to the public and will include lecture sessions, panels and booths focused on forest-related topics including pine beetles, wildfire, landscaping, tree identification, biology, natural history and more.  The event is sponsored and organized for the benefit of the public by the Town of Estes Park and its Estes Park Tree Board.

The 8:30 a.m. keynote presentation, “Mountain Pine Beetle: The Bug That Forgot How to Read” will be presented by Dave Leatherman. The program will be an entertaining and informative update of his standing-room-only presentation at the last two Symposiums. He will cover the ecology of beetles, their history in the Estes Valley, the present situation, and prospects for the future.  Leatherman was the Forest Entomologist for the Colorado State Forest Service from 1974 to 2005. He is a leading authority on pine beetles and has traveled more than one million miles in Colorado, studying and tracking the insects.

At 9:45 a.m., Sky Stephens of the Colorado State Forest Service, Steve Blunt with the Colorado Department of Agriculture and Scott Zurn of the Town of Estes Park will follow up on Leatherman’s presentation with a program entitled “Got Beetles? What to Do.” They will discuss the best treatment options for containing beetle infestations and protecting your property.

Also at 9:45 a.m., Keith Wood of the Colorado State Forest Service will present a program on tree care, “Healthy Trees: Planting, Watering, and Caring for Trees.” Learn from an expert how to best care for your trees. This program will be repeated at 2:30 p.m.

At 10:45 a.m., join Tim Buchanan, Fort Collins City Forester, for an opportunity to learn to identify the native trees of the mountains and understand their natural history in a program called “What Tree is That? Identifying Native Trees.”

Also at 10:45 a.m. is “What Makes a Tree a Tree: Tree Biology 101.” Ralph Zentz, forester for the City of Fort Collins, will discuss the physiology of trees in a way all audiences can understand and appreciate. This program will be repeated at 2:30 p.m.

A third presentation at 10:45 a.m. is a panel discussion by government agency representatives, “All Hands on Deck: Beetle Mitigation.” This is an opportunity to learn what the Colorado State Forest Service, U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain National Park, Larimer County and the Town of Estes Park are doing to combat beetles. This program will be repeated at 2:30 p.m.

The programs continue at 1:00 p.m. with “Selecting Plants for the Estes Valley.” Dave Schulze of Alpine Gardens in Fort Collins will feature the trees and other plants that do best at high elevation. He will discuss diversity in tree planting, an important topic in a time when native pines are threatened.

At 2:30 p.m., three of the morning programs will be repeated to give attendees a second opportunity to see them. They include “Healthy Trees” by Keith Woods, “What Makes a Tree a Tree” by Ralph Zentz, and the panel discussion “All Hands on Deck.”

At 4:00 p.m., Dave Leatherman returns to the podium with the final program of the day. He will speak on other threats to trees during his presentation, “Beyond Beetles: Other Insect and Disease Issues.”

For more information on the Estes Park Tree Symposium, please visit or call 970-577-3588. To receive Town news in your e-mail inbox, please e-mail

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