Due to pandemic, CSU’s annual weed science tour goes virtual

In-person events have been one of the many things put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, but not everything is grinding to a halt. The College of Agricultural Sciences’ Weed Research Lab has taken a different approach to its annual field days, which usually tours people through fields across Colorado’s Front Range. It’s bringing the fields to folks across Colorado via YouTube.

“We first thought we could have people stop at the sights on their own,” said Rachel Seedorf, graduate student and co-organizer of the virtual experience. “We thought they could go on their own time, and at each spot, a QR code would link to a video with more information on that site. Now, a lot of the places we’re showcasing, people can’t go due to the restrictions COVID has brought. So, we’re making it a virtual tour and putting up a video from each site.”

Similar to the college’s Department of Animal Sciences and Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, which utilized YouTube to bring audiences its annual Bull Sale and campus flora tours, respectively, the Department of Agricultural Biology’s Weed Research Lab is following suit, which can be viewed beginning the week of July 13 via its Virtual Tour landing page.

According to Seedorf, the videos will include contact info for presenters in the video description. There will also be a variety of different videos offered, from bare-ground and total vegetation management to landscape restoration, including pollinator habitat restoration, annual grass control, and increased forage for grazing livestock and wildlife.

Purpose of the field tour

“The annual tour is an opportunity to showcase the inherent mechanisms of natural herbicides to eradicate invasive weed species, but also work toward restoration,” said Seedorf.

The event shows the amount of work and effort that goes into revegetation. It also helps people see the process and benefit of controlling weeds, the wildlife aspect of it, and the effects on the systems after weed control.

In typical years, an audience of county and state weed managers, lobbyists, and industry folks tour multiple fields during the experience. The group will meet at one field in the morning, and throughout the day, tour five to six separate locations, with county weed managers, wildlife and pollinator specialists talking about various findings and explaining the importance of weed management.

This year, the audience can expect the same rich information, but from the comfort of air-conditioned homes.

If you’d like to learn more about the Weed Science Lab, visit its website here.