You are here

Wool-wearing villains

Wednesday, July 31, 2013, by Justin Vendettuoli
Printer-friendly version

Clashing, crashing, smashing--the once hearty hemlock heaves its now crippled form to the forest floor. What brings this mighty tree to its knees? Was it the axe man, his barrel chest booming with each thunderous blow? Was it the furious gusts of a gale going through the eastern hemlock stand, singing songs of sorrow?


The culprit creeps covertly along unsuspecting branches, before driving deep its dark feeder into the base of a hemlock needle: an invasive insect, a vile villain, the herald of misfortune for hemlocks all along the eastern lands. They drain the vigor from their victims not for vengeance, but for an unrelenting and unreasonable will to have all hemlocks bow before their kind. It's the hemlock woolly adelgid! These white wool-wearing devils must have their advance stalled, so I study their ways.

Under the stalwart and seasoned guidance of David Orwig, master of forestry and adelgid whisperer, I train in the scientific arts of ecology. A heroic and knowledgeable figure, Orwig, knows the secrets held in the hemlock stands, passed down by researchers of years gone by. Seeking out sickly stands and those still full of vigor I harvest hemlock roots, foliage and the wicked wool wound 'round the needles.

I divined the truths the adelgid wished to withhold.

With this knowledge in hand I produced a persuasive power point presentation with which to teach the throngs of researchers, students, and staff. Through trial and fire then oration and presentation, I came through with elation!

Making this blog post on the finals days for the REU students here at Harvard Forest has prompted my mind to wander through a string of hilarious, beautiful, amazing, terrifying, and all around awesome moments I've been part of over these past few months. That's what my time here has been for me, an important mix of new experiences and people.

I am a better person for having been here. I am still coming to grips with the fact that I may never again see some of the tremendous people I've met this summer. Everyone has preformed admirably and I continue to be impressed learning about all the very interesting research being done by others here. I leave Harvard Forest another year older and a good bit wiser.

Justin Vendettuoli

Quirky Q&A with Justin

Have you ever donned a horrific hairdo? Once in the 4th grade my aunt gave me a classic bowl cut, and I looked like a little mushroom head. It was quite silly and I wanted nothing to do with it, so I had it cut down to get rid of it, which ended up being pretty much a buzz cut. I looked ridiculous and the barber said I should never shave my head; it would look weird.

You have the choice to live with a gorilla who knows sign language or a dog who sings lullabies, which do you choose? That dog would get so annoying. Think of how much a dog barks daily, and now replace all those barks with lullabies. That would get old fast. What if you are just hanging out on the couch watching a movie and your dog is singing lullabies and you are lulled asleep and miss the best part of the film? The gorilla and I would just sign and laugh at it and go do cool stuff, like rock climbing and dancing.

Blog tags: 


Justin Vendettuoli is a very interesting writer, he writes with a lot of passion and knowledge. He makes the things he writes about come alive by using very descriptive words. It seems to me that he loved doing what he did over the summer and learned a lot from it and he really expressed that well in this blog. The type of science he was doing is very interesting, just reading this blog I learned something. I learned about the hemlock woolly adelgid. I learned that they are tree eating bugs that like feeding on hemlocks on the eastern lands. This was a very well written blog by Justin Vendettuoli.

The style of writing made the blog very interesting. I have never heard of these trees before reading this blog. This blog help me learn a lot about these trees and got me very interested in this topic.

I thought that this was a very creative writing style. I liked how the author used vivid adjectives. On the other hand, I learned about the hemlock wooly adelgid has been destroying hemlock trees along the east coast and that Harvard has conducted research projects to learn about this insect and its target.

I really like this article it was fun and interesting and makes me want to learn more about these insects!!

I like how you saw something that needed help and you acted. You took the necessary steps and you got help. You got it done. Not bad Justin!

i liked how the writing style was different than other blogs. it was more relaxed and funny than other blogs. i did not know that there was a hemlock woolly adelgid that could take down hemlock trees. i liked how they had to harvest hemlock roots, and foliage to analyze it.

Generally, most scientific articles are dry, clinical, and not particularly enthralling. However, I was pleasantly surprised upon reading this article. The author took a subject of an insect infested tree and turned it into a compelling and entertaining article. He also managed to put it on a personal level when he discussed the people he met along his investigation. It is reassuring to know that there are scientists dedicated to protecting our environment.

I really like you're style of writing. It's creative and draws the reader in. The insect, the hemlock woolly adelgid, sounds interesting and I want to know more about it. :)

Very enjoyable read! I'm big into books with storylines, and it's a pleasant surprise when my homework is to read an article that is written in a story-like format. The introduction was an amusing hook, and the content itself was interesting as well as informative. I learned something new today, and I had fun doing so!!

I'd also like to mention (sorry for a second comment) that I like the way that the premise is not just to discover more about how the woolly adelgid fells the hemlock trees, but also to find out how to prevent the destruction and preserve the environment. I just think that's sort of cool. Okay, sorry, I'm done for real this time!

The style of writing used in describing what was observed made it seems very intriguing. The account of the way the adelgid sucked the life out of the tree was almost like a story, which made learning the information fun. I think it would be fascinating to observe trees and their enemies because trees are everywhere around us. It would be interesting to know more about them, through scientific study, to better understand them. If I had to run chemical tests or experiments on anything, I would prefer to do it on trees because in a certain sense they are not as complex as animals.

I think that Justin the blogger made this topic very interesting and exciting with his excitement and fun vocabulary that he used in the blog.

The blogger in this article is explaining his experience at Harvard Forest. He teaches people about the vile villain and its affects on the hemlocks. The type of science Justin studies is ecology, also he studies foliage, roots, and the needles of the trees. He runs alchemical experiments on the materials he collects. He continues to learn more and more about the ecology and trees he studies!

I like the way he uses a lot of adjectives to describe the trees and I feel bad for the trees when they contact the wool.

I think the article was very well written; it was very descriptive. It is amazing how an insect can bring down a whole tree, but I agree that it's not good, especially since the insect doesn't even benefit from it.

Add new comment