Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Can't We All Just Get a Longhorned?

Chicago is recruiting teenagers in the search for the Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis), according to this article in the Chicago Sun-Times. Teachers and summer youth program leaders with middle and high-school students are being encouraged to sign up for a five-day Beetle Busters curriculum developed by the USDA, a local museum and a marketing group. The teens will be trained to search for the beetles and will also learn how to do community outreach to teach others about the invasive insects.

The one odd thing about the campaign is that there have been no longhorned beetles found in Chicago since 2003, making the chances of one of these teens coming across an Asian longhorned beetle pretty small. The area cannot be declared ALB-free until five consecutive years with no new discoveries (2008), so the extra pairs of eyes are certainly a good idea. But I wonder if this makes developing a volunteer campaign particularly tricky, since you need to find additional ways of engaging the teens when there is likely going to be no positive feedback from discovery.

Thanks to monopolist for the punny title :-).

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