Cactus warriors Ian and Lee have just returned home after attending the Victorian Weed Society conference, held in Echuca. Both thought it was an excellent event. “There was a really broad range of topics covered” said Ian, “we heard about new ways to tackle old weeds, including different biological control agents and new herbicides. Plus, great stories about community engagement and really frightening stories of new and emerging weeds”.
Costa, from the ABC’s Gardening Australia program, was the MC for the conference. Lee presented a talk at the conference telling everyone about the amazing community awareness work our warriors have done over the past 14 years, and our current project to establish the Cochineal insect as a new biocontrol tool to help destroy Wheel Cactus plants. Costa was won over by the cactus warrior’s float in the recent Maldon Easter Fair Parade, especially our very own cochineal insect sitting underneath her white umbrella!
Lee was very impressed by the very welcoming and inclusive atmosphere, and was buoyed by meeting many young people who are passionate about overcoming weeds and the future of our environment. Lee said “Learning about how all of us citizen scientists can use the ‘Atlas of Living Australia’ (ALA) and how useful it can be was a highlight, but all the topics were very interesting”.