Goals for 2005

Whitehall, Harrison & Ennis Project 2005, Madison & Jefferson Counties.        3-10-05

            We are starting to get psyched and ready for the upcoming ’05 field season here at the WHE Project!  Last year we collected:

<>-leafy spurge insects:
Aphthona spp.:  1,830,500   [1,600,000 collected on Grassrange trip with BLM]
Oberea erythrocephala
:  2,794
-knapweed insects:
Larinus minutus
:  31,073
Cyphocleonus achates
: 2,431
Agapeta zoegana
: 605
<>            We also started two new knapweed insectaries to grow the root boring weevil Cyphocleonus achates, one in Harrison and one in Ennis.  Knapweed insectaries are quite labor intensive but we feel that the combined benefits of bio-control insects, community involvement plus IPM education, are worth it!  It just flat looks good when the Counties and the schools are cooperating to “do something!”
            This coming year we will again try to reach or surpass our goals.  To do this we will involve: 1) two teachers in Whitehall (Todd Breitenfeldt and Mike Battaiola) plus three students, 2) one part time teacher (Dan Jones) in Harrison plus two part time students, and 3) one full time teacher (Mellissa Newman) in Ennis and one full time student.

1. We will maintain and improve our knapweed insectaries (which will involve much transplanting of knapweed to replace those plants killed by the insects, mostly at WHS) and add another insectary bed to the Ennis operation.  With the insectaries in Ennis and Harrison starting to produce weevils this year and some of our field release sites producing large numbers of weevils, we hope to increase our Cyphocleonus achates collections.
[Watering, fertilizing and “weeding the weeds” still seems rather odd…. But, watching knapweed croak is worth it!!]

2. We will probably collect slightly fewer Oberea erythrocephala and Larinus minutus because we are finding these established throughout both counties.  These bio-agents readily fly and rapidly disperse themselves over large areas.  Stop on buy, have a chat and collect a few if you are passing through!

<> 3. We will collect leafy spurge flea beetles Aphthona spp. locally (these collections usually contain many Oberea) and take a class trip to Grassrange with the BLM and our summer class teachers.  We hope to collect “massive” numbers at this awesome “super site!”  Attending teachers will be able to take home a large percentage of these flea beetles to jump-start their own program.
4. We will try and increase our Agapeta zoegana numbers using the fancy new insect collection vacuums purchased for the program by Jefferson County.  We are collecting these nifty yellow moths out of the insectaries and at several field sites.
5. We will hold the second annual 3-day plus 2 Whitehall Project Summer Class (July 11-15th) for teachers and any anyone else who wants to learn all about how to replicate any of the WHE Project strategies.  Through our NWTF/NRCS grant, 10 teachers will receive travel, room and meals for the 3-day class and/or all 5 days if they also want to collect flea beetles in Grassrange.  We will spend the first three days in Whitehall practicing all that we do with the WHE project and then travel to Grassrange and collect leafy spurge flea beetles with the BLM.  Attendees will take home several species of bio-control insects along with the knowledge needed to start a Program in their area.
6. We will hold several public bio-agent collection days, depending on insect timing and numbers.  These provide a great chance for IPM education and give landowners “ownership” of the insects they collect and release themselves.
7. We will attempt to contact all the Counties landowners who have release sites and monitor as many of these with them as we can.  If numbers warrant we will: 1) help them redistribute their insects, 2) make collections for others, or 3) hold public collections.  We do much IPM education with these visits and will augment their release sites if needed.  This is great PR for the Counties!!
8. We will document, photograph, GPS and GIS map all release sites and keep records of these at both counties and all 3 schools involved.
9. In order to be more self-funding, we will charge a $25 fee for each in County release/augment and will sell insects to out of county folks for $50 or $100 if numbers warrant.
10. We will work with the other existing programs in Townsend, Coalstrip and Augusta.  Augusta is adding a monitoring/redistribution component to their insectary program this summer and we will help them.
11. We will hold several 1-day how-to seminars at schools/counties that request them.  This will include an overview of how to do the WHE Project strategies followed by a community meeting.  Teachers can earn continuing education through U of M Western for attending this class.  Our first seminar is scheduled for April 9th in Ravalli County, Victor School.
12. We will write a weekly article about the WHE Program and IPM for 4 local newspapers.  We often use articles written by High School Students for the mtwow.org web site, feel free to use these also!!  These articles and all announcements will be posted on the Whitehall_Project email newsgroup.  You can find this group by going to Yahoo- Groups and searching for: Whitehall_Project. (don’t forget the underscore_).
13. We tie this all back in to IPM education in the local schools.
Remember our goal: “An insectary, bio-control and weed education program associated with schools in at least every County in Montana!”
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