At one time, long rows of old ash trees shaded Larry Tracewell’s Ohio neighborhood in the summer. 

They surrounded his woodshop, too, having grown tall and mature after being planted more than 25 years ago.

But in the past 10 years, these ash trees started thinning out due to infestation of the Emerald Ash Borer Beetle. Larry himself was forced to cut down the 18 trees around his own factory.

The Emerald Ash Borer, a beetle that feeds on Ash trees, was discovered in Michigan and Canada in 2002. Many suspect the Ash to have stowed away in solid wood packing material from Asia.

Shortly after it was discovered in North America, federal and state regulatory agencies initiated quarantine and education activities. By June of 2013, infestations were known in twenty states and two Canadian provinces. At present, the most promising long-term approach for reducing populations in North America is biological control.

 More about Ash Borers: 

As Chestnut Goes, Ash Follows

Emerald Ash Borer blog by Dan Cassens Purdue University

Ash Borer Meets Killer Woodpecker
Forest Service Advice on Using Fallen Trees

At Caretta Workspace, Larry and his team design and manufacture innovative workspace solutions in their desks, tables, shelves, coat racks, and lamps. The desks, tables, and accessories transform cluttered workspaces by concealing cables and power strips in the furniture piece itself.

Many of their designs feature solid hardwoods, harvested locally in Ohio. As a commitment to sustainability, Caretta only purchases the material from local suppliers who carry the Forest Stewardship Council Chain-of-Custody certification from the Rainforest Alliance’s Smartwood Program.

Though most designs are crafted with cherry wood, Caretta frequently uses ash. In an effort to get the most out of each tree, Larry and his team have been crafting the Vanishing Ash LED Desk Lamp with leftover pieces.

A tribute to the trees that once towered over the Midwest, the lamp stands in the shape of a mature ash trunk. When viewed from the front, the limbs disappear, giving the lamp the appearance of an ordinary streetlight.

At the base of the lamp, an engraving reads, “The traditions of the Ash Tree are steeped in magic and folklore.”

Tracewell notes that the traditions and folklore of the ash tree extend as far back as ancient Greek and Norse mythology, as a symbol of knowledge, wisdom, and justice. He is hopeful his design will be a way for the traditions of the Ash to live on in history.

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