Going on a weed hunt

April 21, 2020

Students in Robert “Bob” Hartzler’s Agronomy 217: Weed Identification course have been given an excuse to take a break from sitting in front of their computers and get outside.

Hartzler, professor in agronomy, said the purpose of the class is for students to learn to identify weeds, which usually involves going on class field trips. With the switch to online learning, he wanted to find a way for students to learn to identify weeds in person, rather than just looking at weed pictures online. Thus, the idea to send students on a weed hunt was born.

Wherever students are located, they must go on a weed hunt, taking pictures of their findings, identifying them, and submitting the pictures and information electronically. Hartzler will then provide feedback on whether or not the students’ weed identifications are correct.

In addition, Hartzler said he’s considering doing a virtual weed walk to show students how easy it is to find weeds if they know what they’re looking for, especially during this time of year when weeds are just beginning to emerge.

While the weed hunt and the class overall have been going well so far, Hartzler said he will miss the opportunity to share in person with students his passion for weeds.

“I like to show a lot of enthusiasm about weeds and make students think ‘how can someone be so enthusiastic about weeds?’” Hartzler said.