Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Meet our students - Introducing Charlotte!

Hello! My name is Charlotte and this will be my first summer working in the IPM lab at the Beaverlodge Research Farm. I’m currently completing my Bachelor of Science degree in Health Studies at the University of Waterloo. Because I’m in the university’s co-op program, I have been alternating between four months of school and four months in a job placement since my second year. I’m mid-way through my B.Sc. now. I’m hoping this summer will allow me to utilize some of the skills I’ve acquired through past work terms and allow plenty of opportunities for me to learn lots of new things. 

Although we have only been at the Farm for a week, there has been lots of new information thrown at us and work to be done. For example, myself and some of the other students set up weekly monitoring sites for flea beetle and diamondback moth traps at two locations on the Beaverlodge Research Farm (Figure 1). At each of our sites, a transect of five sticky cards (each 25m apart) were deployed. Each sticky card is positioned a few centimetres above the soil surface using a small wooden stake pounded into the ground. We also set up two diamondback moth pheromone traps (50m apart) positioned ~1m above soil surface using a wooden stake.  What makes these traps extra special is the pheromone lure hung inside the trap designed to release a species-specific pheromone plume into the air to attract males. From this point on, we will retrieve and deploy need traps on a weekly basis to determine the seasonal activity levels of both flea beetles and diamondback moth. 

I also had the opportunity to go out with one of my fellow coworkers, Amanda, and help her collect soil cores for the wheat midge project. Amanda has worked quite a few summers at the Farm and was able to offer a lot of pointers to a newbie like me. Most importantly, she talked about the importance of wearing Tyvek boot covers over my shoes. This is especially important with the cooperator-growers’ fields as we must protect all fields from plant pathogens in the soil (i.e., to prevent the spread of clubroot). Upon arrival at any grower’s field, we don new boot covers as we emerge from the vehicle.  These same booties are carefully removed as we return to the vehicle to depart.  

Overall, I had a very enjoyable first week in the IPM lab! I have already been exposed to a lot of new information and I’m excited to learn more as the summer progresses. 

Figure 1. Rebecca, Cameron and Charlotte (L to R) setting up diamondback moth pheromone traps near Beaverlodge AB in May 2017.