>Caution: Low Flying Planes

>I stopped to fill the minivan with gas before the prices rose to the mythical four point oh oh. No time to wash the windshield, not if I wanted to pick up a cinnamon hazelnut coffee at the convenience store. Hey, there are priorities, ‘en so? (Sorry, slipped into Wisconsineze sprinkled with Yooper for a moment. Der hey. Yah.)
Nourishment, er, coffee in hand, I headed off to an early morning staff meeting at school where we got the news that inspired today’s title: we were to expect small aircraft flying over our school building and grounds that morning.
They weren’t really flying over us, exactly. The plane was spraying an organic pesticide (is that an oxymoron?) on the park next door to eradicate an alien pest we call the Gypsy Moth. Nowhere near as glamorous as the gypsy known as Esmeralda, the larvae to these moths will destroy a tree within two springs if given the chance. Our DNR doesn’t want to give them the chance.
The official memo and voice mail, sent out by recorded phone call the night before, had encouraging words like like, “we will keep our students in school, with windows shut…” “…formulation is generally not harmful to people, pets, or other wildlife species.”
“Homeowners in these areas are also encouraged to stay indoors during the treatment…”
Our district attempted to get the spraying scheduled for a weekend or after school is out, but the Powers That Be said they couldn’t wait.
It was a little creepy for my class, sitting in the windowless computer lab hearing the plane swooping over our heads repeatedly. My students were only 3 years old when the World Trade Centers were attacked, but they’ve learned enough to make them feel a wee bit nervous about the situation. I explained it, including the fact that it wasn’t supposed to be dangerous, and that the spraying would be done before recess. Again, priorities, ‘ey? The DNR rep had fortunately scheduled the spraying intentionally for times when there would be no students outside.
After recess, all students washed their hands in case they’d had contact with playground equipment coated with the pesticide. The DNR on-site dude said something to the principal that she felt she must pass on to us.
“He did mention you might want to have your cars washed as it might leave a film on them.”
I knew there was a good reason I didn’t wash the windshield this morning!

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2 thoughts on “>Caution: Low Flying Planes

  1. >I am not sure, but I am guessing you live in Wisconsin. Lots of trees, right?

    Well here in Maine, we suffered a 4 year period back in the early 90s(?, late 80s where Gypsy Moths had their way with the countless numbers of trees around us. There are still annual hits in small areas on a regular basis.

    Panic ensued when the first big hit happened. Everyone rushed out to buy these traps that filled up so fast, many folks bought them by the gross it seemed. There was also a stupid idea of a tacky yellow strip pasted to the trunks to keep them from climbing up the tree. It was like everyone in southern Maine had tied a yellow ribbon in honor of someone not missing but might be in the future. And still the trees in their dooryards ended up de-leafed.

    Being lazy and of a temperment to take things as they come, I did nothing. Cussed at them as they noisliy munched away at my beautiful Red Maples. Fumed some while dealing with their poop that covered the ground in black on rides through the pines. But in the end, I lost no more trees than anyone else.

    It was explained to me that generally their infestation will often only kill the trees that are struggling to begin with. I have to agree. The 3 big trees I lost had been stressed for years. The Moths just hastened their demise.

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