Last year I wrote about my BBSRC funded Crop Protection Summer School, CROPSS and how pleased I was with the positive response of the students to working in, what to them, was a totally novel subject area.
Like last year, the Summer School started on Sunday afternoon, with an introduction from me about why crop protection was important and how Integrated Pest Management is all about ecology, NOT spraying and eradication, something I have been banging on about for many years and which needs to be reiterated again and again, so here I am reiterating it yet again 😊.
We then had an excellent dinner at our local pub, The Lamb Inn, and continued with an outdoor Pub Quiz.
Food, drink and a quiz – perfect for a sunny Sunday evening
To make things easier for the Quiz Master, me, the quiz was all picture rounds. The first round was all about charismatic megafauna (almost all answered correctly), then common British wild flowers (about 60% correct), common British trees (50% correct), common British insects (30% correct), I think you can see where I am going with this😊 Catering for the rest of the week was in our excellent campus refectory and as last year, the students were all very complimentary about the quality and quantity of the food and the choices available.
As with last year we had specific days allocated to the main crop protection areas; agronomy, entomology, nematology, plant pathology, weed science and spray technology. In the evenings we had a speaker from ‘industry’; Dr Lucy Broom, a former student of mine who works at Oxitec, Rob Farrow from Syngenta, David George from Stockbridge Technology Centre, Nicola Spence the Chief Plant Health Officer and Neal Ward from BioBest. They were all very well received and had to answer a lot of interesting and very well formulated questions, both in the classroom and in the Student Union Bar afterwards.
I am certain that I speak for us all, when I say the students and staff involved found it a very rewarding week. The weather was glorious as you can see from the photographs, which I will, in time honoured tradition, let tell the story.
Heigh ho, heigh ho it’s off to sample we go
Entomology in action – sweep nets and Pooters
Glorious weather, just right for looking at light trap catches with Heather Campbell and suction sampling with Andy Cherrill
Looking for weeds in the cereal variety trials with John Reade
Labs and classroom
Darts in the bar and chasing fluorescent beetles in the dark
The students loved the course and we loved their enthusiasm and commitment.
I should have taken this picture when we are all there 🙂
And, finally, Just to remind you why we need a well-trained and youthful cadre of crop protection scientists.