The Greater Arkansas River Nature Association will present a lecture on “Exploring Spruce Beetles” from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday in Fellowship Hall at Salida First Presbyterian Church, 7 Poncha Blvd.

The Colorado State Forest Service reports that the spruce beetle is responsible for the death of more spruce trees in North America than any other natural agent.

The spruce beetle population has reached epidemic proportions locally, according to a GARNA press release.

U.S. Forest Service silviculturist Alex Rudney and Colorado State Forest Service forester J.T. Shaver will speak on the progress of the spruce beetle outbreak in the San Isabel National Forest, particularly on Monarch Pass, discuss spruce beetle biology and life cycles and look at the probable future of the high elevation spruce forests in and around Chaffee County.

Rudney and Shaver have combined experience of more than 30 years of forestry in California and in or near the San Isabel, White River and Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison national forests of Colorado.

A follow-up field experience will take place at 11 a.m. Jan. 17 as part of the Ski with a Naturalist program at Monarch Mountain, to learn about spruce trees and signs of beetles and their damage at Monarch. Ability to ski and a lift ticket or season pass are required for the free Ski with a Naturalist program.

Cost of the lecture is $3 for GARNA members and $6 for nonmembers. To register for the lecture, visit garna.org/calendar/thursday-lecture-series-beetle-and-forest-health/.

For questions, contact GARNA at info@garna.org or 719-539-5106.

Greater Arkansas River Nature Association will present lectures every second Thursday.

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