YARMOUTH — The invasive browntail moth has become such a pervasive nuisance that a group of residents has decided to take matters in their own hands and tackle the problem head-on.

Calling themselves the Browntail Brigade, residents Mary Post, Caroline Myers, Matt Chappell and a few others hope to leverage both town funds and private donations to support projects designed to remediate the moth problem.

The Town Council was set to hold a special meeting Thursday, after The Forecaster’s deadline, to vote on releasing $25,000 set aside in the Tree Fund to allow Yarmouth Community Services to begin the process of treating trees on public lands and rights of way.

The resolution the council was to consider would also authorize the town “to accept and expend any additional private donations which may be offered for (a) browntail moth treatment program for public lands and along public streets.”

Town Manager Nat Tupper said councilors seemed generally supportive of the idea of releasing funds to Community Services to combat the moth infestation, but said changes could be made to the proposal during Thursday’s debate.

Meanwhile, the Browntail Brigade is busy planning its first fundraising event. A buffet dinner will be held at Gather, 189 Main St., from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 1. Tickets are $45 and $15 for kids under 10.

The Moth Busters event will also include a silent auction, fun raffles and sponsorship opportunities. Go to www.yarmouthcommunityservices.com to buy a ticket or for more information.

“As many of you know, the browntail moth has infested Yarmouth, making it almost unbearable to be outside during warmer months,” the Moth Busters promotional flyer reads.

The fundraiser, the flyer adds, will help “YCS stretch their budget. The funds donated will go directly to moth eradication this year.”

The group said it hopes to raise enough money next week to thoroughly treat Main Street, as well as Sandy Point Beach and Royal River Park, “so that people can enjoy the (these) outside spaces safely.”

The browntail moth caterpillar is not only destructive to trees, but its hairs are also hazardous to human health and can cause severe skin rashes and difficulty breathing. Once confined to limited coastal areas, the moths are moving inland at a rapid rate.

Post said she came up with the idea for the Moth Busters fundraiser after hearing from friends and neighbors about how the browntail moth is “ruining their quality of life.”

After getting a lot of “positive feedback,” Post said she contacted Chappell, who owns Gather, to find out if he would be willing to host the Moth Busters event.

Myers said her family is relatively new to Yarmouth, but having heard stories about his carefree, outdoor-centered childhood from her husband, who grew up in northern Maine, she “couldn’t wait to be able to give that gift to my young boys.”

But, Myers said she soon began to hear from multiple people around town that “being able to play outside during late May and June had become a luxury because of (the browntail moth.)”

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 780-9097 or [email protected]. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KIrishCollins.

Caroline Myers, left, Matt Chappell and Mary Post are part of Yarmouth’s new Browntail Brigade. They hope a fundraiser May 1 will attract funds to support a robust spraying program, at least on public lands and rights of way.

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