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Black Ash


black ash
Second Emerald Ash Borer Conference /
Black Ash Basketry Conference

May 16, 2008 • Plainwell, Michigan

Since the discovery of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in 2002, Michigan has lost over 20 million ash trees, and the numbers continue to rise. The entire lower peninsula of Michigan is under a “no ash movement” quarantine, and the EAB continues to spread and infect entire ash lots, eventually killing off once healthy, thriving ash trees.

For hundreds of years, Native Americans of Michigan (Anishnabe) and Natives from all over the North Eastern United States have been using black ash trees, Fraxicus nigra, for basket weaving. These baskets have been used for centuries for utilitarian purposes such as market baskets, berry-picking baskets, fishing creels, baby baskets, laundry baskets, and sewing baskets. Today they are still used in a variety of ways and are also collectible baskets as pieces of art.

The EAB is threatening the livelihood of a centuries-old traditional native art form, and we are working together to inform about EAB, learn what can be done to slow the spread, and ways we can preserve black ash basketry for generations to come.

The Conference will be on May 16th, 2008, open to the first 200 people. This is open to the public and any and all who wish to come and learn and work with us.


May 16, 2008: Conference, EAB meeting in the morning sessions and black ash basketry in the afternoon sessions.

May 15, 2008: Native Black Ash Basket weavers Meeting, 6pm-9pm for basket weavers. Please indicate your interest on your registration form, as well as your tribal affiliation, and black ash experience. Meeting details will be sent upon receipt of your registration form.

May 17, 2008: Black Ash Basket Market at the Monterey Center in Monterey, Michigan. 9:00am - 4:00pm where baskets from the presenters at the Conference will be available for purchase. Map.

Conference Location

Plainwell Comfort Inn Banquet Facility
622 Allegan Street
Plainwell, MI 49080


  • 8:30 - 915am: Registration
  • 9:15 - 10:00am: Emerald Ash Borer Presentation by Dr. Deb McCullough of Michigan State University
  • 10.00 - 11.00am: Seed Collection Presentation by Dr. David Burgdorf, Plant Materials Specialist, USDA-NRCS
  • 10:45 - 11:00am: Break
  • 11:00 - 11:25am: "Regulation Q-37 and Other Measures Necessary to Prevent Incoming Invasive Species" by Faith Camp ball, Nature Conservancy
  • 11:25 - 11:50am: Discussion: uses of ash, what can be done with dead ash trees while following regulations? Presenting the speak, "No Ash Movement" in Michigan. Answers to our questions about what the Emerald Ash Baskets means to us in Michigan, and what other states can expect
  • 11:50am - 12:15pm: Q & A Session
  • 12:15 - 1:00pm: Lunch, available onsite, included in registration fee
  • 1:00 - 1:30pm: Short Recap and 15-minute film featuring the harvesting and processing of a black ash tree for basketry
  • 1:30 - 2:10pm: Demonstration of actual processed material woven into a basket by Native basket weavers (John Pigeon, Kelly Church, and Renee Dillard)
  • 2:10 - 2:45pm: Steps being taken by Native peoples to study preservation of black ash materials, logs, seed collecting
  • 2:45 - 3:00pm: Break
  • 3:00 - 3:30pm: Open Questions to Presenters
  • 3:30 - 5:00pm: Open stations with presenters and basket weavers for one-on-one discussion with audience
  • 4:30pm: The drawing will take place with the raffle ticket included with registration. Must be present to win.

Registration Form

Click to download form: pdf or word document


Email: artcove @

Mailing Address:
Kelly Church
P.O. Box 118
Hopkins, MI 49328

Phone: (269) 673.9561


Conference Registration and Confirmation: May 5, 2008

Previous 2006 Emerald Ash Borer Conference Information

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