During the in-between weeks of attending the IMC11 and ICPP 2018 conferences, Dr Irene Barnes had the wonderful opportunity to visit with Dr Jim Walla, Northern Tree Specialties in Fargo, North Dakota. The visit consisted of a four-day expedition around North Dakota, covering some 2000 km, to investigate and sample for needle diseases of pine in planted, natural and urban areas. Symptom expression was perfect for this time of year and diseases observed included Diplodia shoot blight, Dothistroma needle blight and Stigmina needle cast of spruce. A full day and challenging hike lead us to the remote, native stands of limber pine (Pinus flexilis) to investigate a recently emerged needle blight disease affecting this species. It is anticipated that several publications will come out of this fruitful collection trip and collaboration.

Some other highlights of the trip included seeing prairie dogs, wild horses, bison, a rattle snake (!), and tasting some delicious home made American partridge stew and blueberry pie.