Ash trees, in particular brown ash (used interchangeably with black ash, Fraxinus nigra), are a cultural keystone species for Wabanaki communities and a crucial part of wetland ecosystems in the Northeast. The spread of the invasive forest pest EAB has caused 99% brown ash tree mortality in other areas of Turtle Island, and will have a considerable effect on ecosystems and traditions as it spreads through the Dawnland.

Partners of the Ash Protection Collaboration Across Wabanakik’s (APCAW) have been working for 20 years to prepare for the onset of EAB in Northeastern forests. We are committed to identifying research-informed strategies to protect the future of ash in the Dawnland that align with Wabanaki priorities. The purpose of this website is to share practical knowledge with those who seek to take actions to maintain ash on the landscape. If you’d like to receive event announcements in your inbox, sign up for our newsletter here. Read on to find information about the cultural importance of ash, seed collection efforts, and emerald ash borer (EAB) management.

Why are we called the Ash Protection Collaboration Across Wabanakik?

Courtesy of Maine State Museum

Our name emerged from collaborative conversations about the goals of our shared work. We decided to use the word Wabanakik to refer to the place where we are located in an effort to center Wabanaki language and ways of knowing. Wabanakik is a term with slightly different meanings in each eastern Algonquin language, but can be understood in English to mean either “in the location of the land which is referred to as the Dawnland” or “in the location of the People of the Dawn.” Wabanakik stretches from Newfoundland in the north, to mid-Maine in the south, and parts of Quebec in the west.

APCAW members acknowledge that we are located in the homeland of the Wabanaki Confederacy, which includes the Abenaki, Maliseet, Mi’kmaq, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot Tribal Nations. Wabanakik has a ongoing legacy of colonialism, of stolen land, broken treaties, forced removal and genocide of Wabanaki peoples which have fragmented Wabanaki relationships to land. The People of the Dawn maintain a sacred relationship with brown ash trees since time immemorial. APCAW’s work is to center, protect, and restore this ongoing relationship between Wabanaki peoples and ash ecosystems.

Who are we?

Who are we?

The Ash Protection Collaboration Across Wabanakik (APCAW) is a group of Indigenous and non-indigenous researchers, Tribal members, and forest caretakers working together to bring more awareness of the cultural and ecological significance of ash trees and efforts to conserve them. APCAW continues the initiative set forth by the EAB and Brown Ash Taskforce, which began in the early 2000s to facilitate the collaborative capacity of Wabanaki basketmakers, Tribal Nations, state and federal foresters, and others to prevent, detect, and respond to the EAB. APCAW gives platform to the work of a broad range of partners, including:

The APCAW team is made up of a group of Professors and Researchers at UMaine Orono. Click their images to view their bios and contact information:

How can you stay connected and up to date on our work?

You can reach out to any member of our lab with questions or connections. You can also sign up for our newsletter, where we send announcements about upcoming APCAW events and news.