Pine ‘Beetle Mania’ " Does it have a ticket to ride in Grand County? |

Pine ‘Beetle Mania’ " Does it have a ticket to ride in Grand County?

Janet Day / Talk of the Valley

Beetle Mania. My little idea about turning something bad into something good by starting a Pine Beetle Days celebration has, like the bugs themselves, taken wing.

There have been plenty of goofy or fun ideas ” have a band play only Beatles songs during the festival ” but also some serious thought being given to the idea. Look for something to come together for next summer through the efforts of a few local women who love a good laugh.

And while I’m trying to get people to lighten up and make the best of a problem that no one can change, the effect the pine beetle is having on the state’s high country has now reached the serious halls of academia.

The Fall schedule for the University of Denver’s Enrichment Program (what we used to just call adult education) includes a session about “Colorado’s Mountain Pine Beetle Battle” in its “Species on the Brink” series. The pine beetle seminar, held Thursday night, Sept. 18, offers to educate people about “the biology, ecology, signs, symptoms and management relating to the mountain pine beetle and the trees it attacks.”

The class, presented by Ingrid Aguayo, forest entomologist for the Colorado State Forest Service, poses this alarming question: “Can Mother Nature defend herself against this epidemic?” Well of course Mother Nature can. It’s what Mother Nature does. One bunch of trees die out and another takes its place. Just look at Yellowstone National Park or old clear-cut areas to see that in action. Mother Nature just takes her time doing it.

A better question, I think, is whether humans can defend themselves from the epidemic. Dead trees are already toppling over in my neighborhood. A long-dead tree fell from one rarely used property onto the power lines of its neighboring and also rarely used property after this past weekend’s rains loosened the soil. Both of those non-resident owners have a surprise waiting for them the next time they come up here. How many dead trees are going to land on power lines, across roads or on homes this winter?

Photo Fest. The rate at which trees may topple over makes the Middle Park Land Trust’s annual photo contest not just a nice fundraiser but an important vehicle for documenting the natural beauty that this county still has. The 12th annual Purely Grand Photo Contest holds its reception on Friday to honor the winners and all of the photographers who participated. The reception will run from 4-7 p.m. at Streamside Art in Granby. A silent auction lets you bid for the winning photographs while the rest of the artwork will be available for sale.

Toe to Toe. I’m always perplexed by the way developments get named. It so often seems to be a memorial to the displaced flora or fauna. But a particular bug in my bonnet as I walk and bike around the Valley is the attempt to gentrify or Anglicize some developments. What is it with new developments named “Something Pointe?” What’s with that E at the end? Sterling Pointe, Founder’s Pointe. The word “pointe” isn’t as quaintly British as developers seem to think, but is in fact French, derived from classical ballet and meaning the tip of the toe. So does that mean the developments are really the Founder’s Toe or the Sterling Toe? The marketing possibilities for that translation are endless.

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