TEAM Leafy Spurge Documentary Now Available on ARS Website
With the aid of ARS Information Staff in Beltsville, MD, the award-winning TEAM Leafy Spurge documentary "Purging Spurge: Corralling an Ecological Bandit" that previously aired on PBS, is now available on the national ARS website. TEAM Leafy Spurge representatives, working with IS Public Affairs Specialist Jim DeQuattro in Beltsville, provided the footage for inclusion in ARS’ national video archive. "Purging Spurge" was produced in 2002 by the TEAM Leafy Spurge program in partnership with North Dakota’s Prairie Public Broadcasting and was subsequently named a 2003 Finalist in the documentary category of the 24th Annual Telly Awards. The documentary, which focuses on grassland health and the impact of invasive weeds like leafy spurge, was developed to help increase public awareness of noxious weeds and to bring all segments of society on board to help control them. A VHS videotape of the documentary is available free from TEAM Leafy Spurge by contacting the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory at P.O. Box 463, Sidney, MT 59270; or by phone at 406-433-2020; by fax at 406-433-5038; or by e-mail at teamls[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov.
In cooperation with the National Geographic Channel, NPARL has posted a video clip from the channel's daily news program featuring ARS Research Ecologist Greg Sword and his Mormon cricket tracking research team. The video, which originally aired July 23 on National Geographic Today, discusses the pest tracking project conducted in Colorado this past summer by Sword and his collaborators, Dr. Pat Lorch of the University of North Carolina, and Dr. Darryl Gwynne of the University of Toronto at Mississauga. Also participating was NPARL Biological Science Technician Laura Senior. The segment includes footage of researchers "tagging" individual insects with tiny radio transmitters, relocating them, and recording data on their movements using GPS. A flightless insect, the Mormon cricket is known to be capable of traveling up to a mile a day, although a particularly hardy individual tracked by the team traveled significantly further across rugged mountainous terrain. The researchers studied three different bands of Mormon crickets, with millions of insects in each band, as they moved across northwestern Colorado near Dinosaur National Monument. Researchers hope to ultimately use the information collected to develop mathematical models for predicting band movement so that producers and other affected parties can target control methods where they're most needed and most effective.
The video is provided in .wmv (Windows Media Player) format and can be viewed on the internet in your browser by simply choosing "Click here to view this movie (6.1MB)", but to download this movie onto your computer choose from one of the three movie file sizes under the heading: "Download This Movie."