TEAM Leafy Spurge: Working Together to Purge Spurge Summer 2000 Field Season

Smile, You’re on the BBC
A film crew working on a documentary about invasive species and biological control toured parts of Montana and North Dakota with TEAM Leafy Spurge this summer.

Rancher and kids being interviewed
Sentinel Butte, N.D., rancher Dale Maus told the film crew that leafy spurge nearly forced him out of the ranching business. The success of leafy spurge flea beetles, however, has made it economically possible for Maus to continue ranching.

The two-person crew filmed leafy spurge infestations, a flea beetle distribution and biocontrol training session, flea beetle collections and releases, and interviews with several ranchers, land managers and others who are waging the war on leafy spurge. "Brilliant!" the two British film makers exclaimed every time they got a good shot. "Everything went great," said TLS program coordinator Chad Prosser. "In fact, it was just about perfect."

The film crew had originally scheduled a two-minute slot for TEAM Leafy Spurge in the 30- minute documentary. They were so impressed with what they saw, however, they ultimately decided to dedicate more than twice that amount of time to TEAM, flea beetles and spurge.

The documentary will be featured on the British Broadcasting Company’s "Earth Report," which reaches an audience of more than 167 million people in 220 countries. The show is expected to air sometime in January; watch the TEAM web site for additional details.

To promote public awareness of the problems caused by leafy spurge in particular and noxious weeds in general, TLS attended two major trade shows with its travelling TEAM Leafy Spurge display. The Marketplace of Ideas in Bismarck, N.D., and Montana Agri-Trade Expo in Billings, Montana, provided exposure to more than 60,000 people and an opportunity to host several informational/educational seminars (biological control, multi-species grazing, sheep cooperative feasibility).

TLS also attended several smaller, "hometown" events relating to agriculture. These events provide TLS personnel with one-on-one opportunities to interact with ranchers and landowners who are looking for solutions to spurge problems.

TEAM Leafy Spurge will be attending several similar events in the fall/spring of 200-2001.

Chad Prosser speaking with two ranchers.
TLS program coordinator Chad Prosser talks with ranchers at a biocontrol training session.

Technology transfer:
Grass roots efforts work and work well when transferring technologies to end users, says TLS program coordinator Chad Prosser. "This is our third year on the ground, and it’s now very clear that going out to talk directly with our customers is one of the most effective informational and educational tools we have," Prosser said. "You have to have good support materials, like our new biocontrol manual, to make it work, and when you do, it’s a very effective way to communicate ideas." TLS regularly participates in tours, seminars, symposiums, trade shows and "just about any outlet we can find to get the word out, get people interested and provide information," Prosser said. Events like Spurgefest ‘99, which was held last summer in Medora, N.D., and will be repeated in the summer of 2001, are "time consuming but well worth the effort," he said.

TEAM Leafy Spurge personnel are in the process of planning "Spurgefest II," a sequel to the successful "Spurgfest ‘99" event held in Medora during the summer of 1999.

Spurgefest 2; June 19-21, 20001; Medora, ND

"We’re really excited about Spurgefest II," said Gerry Anderson, co-principal investigator of the TLS program. "We’re confident it will be even bigger and more successful than the original Spurgefest, and that’s a pretty tall order to fill."

Like its predecessor, Spurgefest II will be held in Medora, N.D., home to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Included on the agenda will be tours of TLS research and demonstration sites, speakers, informational/educational seminars, and presen-tations of data collected by TLS program participants.

Watch the TEAM website at for updates about Spurgefest II. A pre-registration form should be posted by mid to late-September, and additional details will be posted as they become available.

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