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Weedbusters - Activities, Information and ... - Weeds Australia

WeedbustersActivities, Informationand Curriculum Links

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksCompiled by the Gould LeagueContributions from the following are gratefully acknowledged: Kate Blood, Sonia Edwards, Jim Grant, Richard Groves, Cindy Hanson,Leslie Hills, Sandy Lloyd, Trudi Mullett, Roberta Poynter, John Reid, Chris Rinehart, Nel Smit, Beth Truor, Janet McKenna, Salvo Vitelli,Tony Willis, Bob Winters and the Regional Pest Plant Strategy Working Group for the Dandenong Ranges and Yarra Valley.Design: Graphic PartnersLine Drawings: Sharyn MadderPhotographs: Gary LewisAuthors: Bob Winters and Cindy Hanson© Gould League Victoria and National Weeds Strategy Executive Committee 2002In no circumstances will the Gould League or National Weeds Strategy Executive Committee, their agents or employees be liable for anyspecial, consequential or indirect loss or damage arising from any use of or reliance on any material in this book.Specifically the Gould League and National Weeds Strategy Executive Committee make no representations, guarantees or warranties of anykind either express or implied in relation to the correctness, accuracy, reliability, currency or any other aspect or characteristic of the materialprovided and you should not rely on the information.Users accept sole responsibility and the risk associated with any use of the material in this book, irrespective of purpose to which such use orresults are applied.Those wishing to reproduce part or all of the text or artwork of this publication, except where permitted by the relevant section of theCopyright Act, should submit requests in writing to the Gould League. The purchasing education institution and its staff are permitted tomake copies of the pages marked as blackline master pages, beyond the rights under the act, provided that:• the number of copies does not exceed the number reasonably required by the education institution to satisfy its teaching purposes;• copies are made only by reprographic means, not by electronic/digital means, and not stored or transmitted;• copies are not sold or lent;• every copy made clearly shows the footnote: Gould League.Gould League material is produced with the assistance of staff and resources provided by the Victorian Department of Education & Training.Winters, Bob.Weedbusters : Activities, Information and Curriculum LinksISBN 1 875687 70 X.1. Weeds - Study and teaching (Primary) - Australia. 2.Weeds - Study and teaching (Secondary) - Australia. I.Hanson, Cindy, 1965- . II. Gould League of Victoria. III.Title.Further copies are available from the Gould League: contact details are below.Acknowledgments: The Gould League gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Salvo Vitelli, National Weed Strategy, Jim Grant,Andrea Lomdhol and Leslie Hagen, Gould League staff and funding assistance from the Federal Government’s Natural Heritage Trustis also gratefully acknowledged.Curriculum Profiles for Australian Schools pages 6, 8 and 10. Permission has been given by the publisher, Curriculum Corporation,PO Box 177, Carlton South, Vic. 3053 http://www.curriculum.edu.au Email: sales@curriculum.edu.au Tel: (03) 9207 9600 Fax: (03) 9639 1616Published by the Gould League of Victoria Inc.Inc. No A0011226Awww.gould.edu.auGenoa St Moorabbin, Victoria 3189 AustraliaPhone (03) 9532 0909 International 61 3 9532 0909Fax (03) 9532 2860 International 61 3 9532 2860Email gould@gould.edu.au

ContentsIntroduction – a word to teachers 4Learning outcomes 5Safety issues 12Get to know a weed expert 13Introducing students to weeds• What is a weed? 14• What do you know? 15• Would you know a weed if you met one? 16• Alien invaders 17• Weedy word watch 18• Start a weedy glossary 19Weedy word match 20Australia’s twenty least wanted weeds 21Let’s take a closer look at weeds• Flatten that weed! 22• Plant life forms 24• How’s your form? 25• Plant parts 26• Weed habitats 28• Weed habitats – Weed hunt 29• Competition 30• Weed spread 32• The problem is blowing in the wind 33• Sticky business 34• Poo! 35• What a load of rubbish! 36• Dumping weeds in bush 37• Weed seed banks 38• Seed bank robbers 39• Self-defence 40• The perfect leaf 41Weeds are everywhere!• Weeds in natural environments 42• Impacts on bush 43• Impacts on waterways 44• Weeds and biodiversity 45• Bush invaders game 48• Weeds on farms 50• Weeds affect people too 53Fight back!• Fighting back 55• Largest root competition 56• Weed pull! 57• Fighting back – mechanical control 58• Fighting back – chemical control 59• Herbicide safety 60• Fighting back – biological control 61• The sting 62• Fighting back – environmental management 63• Tips for Indigenous planting 64• Weeds as a bioresource 65• Integrated weed management 66• Community weed management 66• School ground weed survey 67• What can we do? 68Don’t keep it to yourself! 69• Weeds poster 69• Media release 70• National Weedbuster Week – Get involved! 71Glossary 72Weedbuster certificate 73Resources 74

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksLearning outcomesCurriculum profiles for Australian schoolsCurriculum profiles are designed to support teachers in meeting the learning needs of students.They provide clear statements of what students are expected to achieve in eight key learning areas(KLAs) during their first eleven years of school.Each of the eight KLAs is divided into levels of learning. This book has activities related to levels 3, 4 and 5.Most of the weed activities achieve learning outcomes in both Science and SOSE KLAs. English,Mathematics and Health and Physical Education are also well represented.The major learning outcomes addressed by this book have been placed in tables that cross-referencethem to the activities.This book uses the National Curriculum Profiles. Most states and territories have further refined thenational framework. Teachers may also wish to consult their relevant state or territory documents.5www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksLEVEL 3Key Learning Area and StrandLearning OutcomeEnglish – Speaking and Listening 3.1 Interacts for specific purposes with people in the classroom and schoolcommunity using a small range of text typesEnglish – Writing 3.9 Experiments with inter-relating ideas and information when writingabout familiar topics within a small range of text typesEnglish – Writing 3.10 Recognises that certain text types and features are associated withparticular purposes and audiencesMathematics – Measurement 3.18 Selects suitable and uniform things to use as units when measuringand a common unit to compare two thingsMathematics – Measurement 3.20 Makes sensible numerical estimates using units that can be seen orhandled and uses words such as ‘between’ to describe estimatesMathematics – Chance and data 3.24 Contributes to discussions to clarify what data would help answerparticular questions or test predictions, and takes care in collecting dataMathematics – Chance and data 3.25 Classifies, sequences and tabulates data to help answer particularquestions and varies the classification to answer different questionsHealth and PE – Safety 3.12 Demonstrates strategies that deal with unsafe or emergency situationsScience – Life and living 3.7 Maps relationships between living things in a habitatScience – Life and living 3.8 Identifies external and internal features of living things that worktogether to form systems with particular functionsScience – Life and living 3.9 Explains why some living things have become extinct and identifiescurrent endangered speciesScience – Working scientifically 3.13 Suggests ways of doing investigations, giving consideration to fairnessScience – Working scientifically 3.14 Organises and uses equipment to gather and present informationScience – Working scientifically 3.15 Argues conclusions on the basis of collected information and personalexperienceSOSE – Place and space 3.4 Describes places according to their location and natural and built featuresSOSE – Place and space 3.6 Identifies issues about care of places arising from the different waysin which they are valuedSOSE – Natural and social systems 3.13 Describes an example of a cycle within natural systems and the place ofpeople in itTechnology – Designing, making 3.2 Generates designs that:and appraising- take into account some social and environmental implications- use a range of graphical representations, models and technical termsThe Arts – Visual arts 3.21 Explores ideas and feelings through making art worksThe Arts – Visual arts 3.22 Explores and uses several art elements and uses specific skills and techniquesappropriate to the medium6www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksWhat do you know?Alien invadersGetting the words right & Weedy word matchWeeds of National SignificanceFlatten that weed!How’s your form?Plant partsWeed habitatsCompetitionCollecting weed seedsThe problem is blowing in the windSticky businessPoo!What a load of rubbish!Dumping weeds in bushWeed seed bankSeed bank robbersSelf-defenceThe perfect leafImpacts on bush & waterwaysBush invaders gameWeeds on farmsWeeds affect people tooLargest root competitionHerbicide safetyThe stingSchool ground weed surveyWeeds poster & media releasesNational Weedbusters Week* * * * * ** * * * * * * ** * * * ** * * ** * * ** * * * ** * * ** * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * ** * * ** * * * ** * * * ** * * * * * ** * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * ****7www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksLEVEL 4Key Learning Area and StrandLearning OutcomeEnglish – Speaking and listening 4.1 Interacts confidently with others in a variety of situations to develop and presentfamiliar ideas, events and informationEnglish – Writing 4.9 Uses writing to develop familiar ideas, events and informationEnglish – Writing 4.10 Adjusts writing to take account of aspects of context, purpose and audienceHealth & PE – Health of individuals 4.11 Describes how the global environment is being changed by human behaviour andand populationsdevelopment in ways that affect healthHealth & PE – Safety 4.12 Assesses options and consequences in responding to unsafe situationsMathematics – Measurement 4.18 Selects appropriate attributes and units of a sensible size for the descriptions andcomparisons which are to be madeMathematics – Measurement 4.20 Uses the known size of familiar things to help make and improve estimates, includingthose with centimetres, metres, kilograms and litresMathematics – Chance and data 4.24 Collaborates in deciding how data collection could help investigate situations andproblems, frames helpful questions and decides what data to collectMathematics – Chance and data 4.25 Classifies, sequences and tabulates data, with some grouping of data, and choosesmethods helpful for answering particular questionsScience – Life and living 4.7 Identifies events that affect balance in an ecosystemScience – Life and living 4.8 Explains the functioning of systems within living thingsScience – Working scientifically 4.13 Identifies factors to be considered in investigations, controls which may be needed,and ways of achieving controlScience – Working scientifically 4.14 Collects and records information as accurately as equipment permits and investigationpurposes requireScience – Working scientifically 4.15 Draws conclusions linked to the information gathered and the purposes of the investigationSOSE – Place and space 4.4 Describes the association of features that give rise to similarities between placesSOSE – Resources 4.6 Describes different views of individuals and groups about issues related to the care of placeSOSE – Natural and social systems 4.13 Describes responses of different elements (including people) to changes in natural systemsTechnology – 4.2 Creates and prepares design proposals that include:Design making and appraising- options considered and reasons for the choices made- images used to visualise ideas and work out how they might be realisedThe Arts – Creating making and presenting 4.21 Experiments with ideas and explores feelings to find satisfactory solutions to tasksThe Arts – Creating making and presenting 4.22 Selects, combines and manipulates images, shapes and forms using a range of skills,techniques and processes8www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksWhat do you know?Alien invadersGetting the words right & Weedy word matchWeeds of National SignificanceFlatten that weed!How’s your form?Plant partsWeed habitatsCompetitionCollecting weed seedsThe problem is blowing in the windSticky businessPoo!What a load of rubbish!Dumping weeds in bushWeed seed bankSeed bank robbersSelf-defenceThe perfect leafImpacts on bush & waterwaysBush invaders gameWeeds on farmsWeeds affect people tooLargest root competitionHerbicide safetyThe stingSchool ground weed surveyWeeds poster & media releasesNational Weedbusters Week* * * * * ** * * * ** * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * ** * * * ** * * * ** * * * * ** * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * ** * ** * * * ** * * * * * ** * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * ****9www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksLEVEL 5Key Learning Area and StrandLearning OutcomeMathematics - Measurement 5.19 Measures and makes things, using a range of graduated scales and strategies formaking measurements that are more accurate than the available equipment allowsMathematics – Chance and data 5.24 Collaborates in planning and refining survey questions and observation methods forcollecting frequency and measurement dataMathematics – Chance and data 5.25 Organises data in diagrams, tables and databases to help answer questions andgenerate new ones, using class intervals and fields provided or planned with helpScience – Life and living 5.7 Describes the role of living things in cycling energy and matterScience – Life and living 5.9 Identifies features of groups of living things that enable them to compete successfullyin their environmentsScience – Working scientifically 5.13 Selects an appropriate pathway for an investigation, given its purposes and theresources availableScience – Working scientifically 5.15 Selects ways to present information that clarifies patterns and assists inmaking generalisationsScience – Working scientifically 5.18 Proposes and compares options when making decisions or taking actionSOSE – Place and space 5.4 Accounts for similarities and differences between places by identifying factors thatmay shape their featuresSOSE – Place and space 5.5 Explains how people’s use of natural and built features of places changes over timeSOSE – Place and space 5.6 Explains why various individuals and groups have differing views on issues related tocaring for placesSOSE – Natural and social systems 5.13 Explains common and diverse features of various natural systemsSOSE – Investigation, 5.16 Recognises significant issues in an area of investigation and selects suitable wayscommunication and participationof investigating them10www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksWhat do you know?Alien invadersGetting the words right & Weedy word matchWeeds of National SignificanceFlatten that weed!How’s your form?Plant partsWeed habitatsCompetitionCollecting weed seedsThe problem is blowing in the windSticky businessPoo!What a load of rubbish!Dumping weeds in bushWeed seed bankSeed bank robbersSelf-defenceThe perfect leafImpacts on bush & waterwaysBush invaders gameWeeds on farmsWeeds affect people tooLargest root competitionHerbicide safetyThe stingSchool ground weed surveyWeeds poster & media releasesNational Weedbusters Week* * * * * ** * * * * ** * * * ** * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * ** * * * * * * ** * * ** * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * .11www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksSafety issuesTeachers should check thoroughly for, and remove, any broken glass, rusty metal, syringes or otherdangerous items before outdoor work begins. Students should report any of these objects uncoveredduring their work. Snake inhabited areas should be avoided at times when these animals are active.• Students should wear thick gardening gloves.• Clothes should be appropriate to the activity.Trousers, closed shoes, a hat and sunscreenshould be worn outdoors.• Care must be taken when working withplants that have sharp thorns, or otherhealth impacts (e.g. Parthenium weed canstimulate asthma).• Students should report any bees, wasps,spiders, snakes or other venomous ordangerous creatures they encounter inthe work area.• Students should keep a safe distance fromeach other when working with hand tools.• Students should not use motorised machines,sprays or extremely sharp hand tools.• Students should avoid moving heavy loads.• Teachers need to carry a first aid kit and amobile phone when working outside theschool grounds.• Consult state or territory health and safetyauthority for more advice.Discusssafety issues withstudents. Use aboard or large pieceof paper to developa safety code.12www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksGet to know a weed expertAll the activities in this booklet can be completed with minimal expertise and knowledge of weeds.However, your class will benefit greatly if you get in touch with a weed expert. Ideally, try to arrangea visit.A weed expert can:• identify weed species collected locally bystudents;• explain why particular species are a problem;• describe what is being done to manageweeds in the area;• highlight what students can do to helpprevent new weed problems and manageexisting ones;• discuss the benefits of students and theirfamilies becoming involved in programs suchas Landcare, Bushcare, Coastcare orWeedbusters; and• provide information material such as posters,brochures and fact sheets.Local weed experts can be found in governmentor community groups. Try to find a:When organising the weed expert to speak toyour students, make sure you provide clearguidelines. Most weed experts do not deal withgroups of young students often, and may need alittle help. The following are worth considering:• Try to limit the session to 40 minutes.• Students may like to prepare some questionsbefore the visit.• Students will be more readily engaged if thespeaker provides some personal detail aboutwhat they do, how they came to be doing it,what they like most/least about their job.• Gather a selection of weeds from around theschool ground for the weed expert to discuss.• Ask the expert if students can make a videoor audio recording of the session.• Discuss with the weed expert which activityfrom this book you want them to cover.• council environment officer,• state or territory government weeds officer,• volunteer from a local group (e.g. Landcareor ‘Friends of’ group),• regional weed strategy coordinator,• local farmer known for his/her efforts inweed control, or• state or territory National WeedbusterWeek coordinator.13www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksWhat is a weed?The activities on the next three pages (What do you know? Would you know a weed if you met one?and Alien invaders) are designed to explore students’ prior knowledge of weeds, and generate classdiscussion. Teachers who are themselves unfamiliar with weed issues should read the notes on thispage – they will help direct and stimulate initial discussions.1. What are Weeds?Weeds are plants that grow where they arenot wanted. They are plants in the wrongplace. Many weeds such as Bathurst Burr arein the wrong place almost wherever theygrow, but some weeds can be useful incertain circumstances. Radiata pine is a usefulplantation tree but a weed in bushland.2. Where do weeds come from?Most of Australia’s weeds come from placeswith similar climates such as Europe, SouthAmerica, South Africa, North America, Asiaand New Zealand. An increasing numberof weeds are Australian natives that growoutside their natural range.3. How do weeds get here?Weeds can hitchhike on camping equipment,bags, shoes and clothing, in food and grain,on cars, machines and animals; they may alsobe brought here deliberately as ornamentalplants or for their commercial value.4. Why do weeds go weedy?Many weeds are good competitors for light,water, nutrients and space. They growquickly and reproduce rapidly. Often peoplehelp weeds grow by creating conditions thatfavour them in natural areas and on farms.Many weeds also have protective featuressuch as thorns, spines and poisons whichbrowsing animals sometimes know to avoid.Most weeds are also free of natural predatorsor parasites in the new areas they invade.5. How do weeds impact on theenvironment, the economyand people?Weeds can:• change, take over or destroy naturalecosystems and farmlands,• degrade recreational areas in bush, riversand lakes,• reduce the productivity or profitability ofagriculture,• cause health problems such as poisoningand allergies to people, productionanimals and pets,• increase costs to the farmers and grazierswho produce our food, or• increase (weed control and other) coststo local government, which are passedon to ratepayers.14www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksWould you know a weedif you met one?The term ‘weed’ means different things to different people. Some weeds do not look bad, and mayeven be quite beautiful. Many students already have a good appreciation about weeds in their area.This exercise allows them to share and confirm their existing weed knowledge.AIM: To explore students’ prior knowledge of weedsYou will need:• copies of this worksheet, and• camera (digital would be best if available)or drawing materials.Discuss withstudents how theyrecognised weeds inthe four areas.Visit four outdoor areas; lawn, garden bed,play area and path. Are students able tospot plants they think are weeds? Studentscan photograph or draw the plants theyconsider weeds.Lawn• Can you see weeds? Yes/No• Where have you seen these weedsbefore?Play area• Can you see weeds? Yes/No• Where have you seen these weedsbefore?• I think there are weeds in the lawnbecause• I think there are weeds in the play areabecauseGarden bed• Can you see weeds? Yes/No• Where have you seen these weedsbefore?Path• Can you see weeds? Yes/No• Where have you seen these weedsbefore?• I think there are weeds in the garden bedbecause• I think there are weeds in the pathbecause16www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksAlien invadersAIM: To stimulate student creative thinking about weed issuesYou will need:• a pretty weed,• outdoor grassy area,• a tape recorder, and• a review of safety issues.Creative story telling• Sit the students and yourself in a circle on asuitable grassy area.• You may wish to make an audio tape of theactivity for later reference.• Present the students with a pretty weed.Explain that:• This pretty plant is actually an alien invader(this is true).• It has been caught hiding in someone’sgarden.• The plant is making itself ready to take overAustralia.• Avoid using the word ‘weed’.Pass the plant onto the next person and ask themto continue the story with one or two sentences.Keep passing the plant and expanding the storyuntil each student has made a contribution.If students get stuck prompt with questions like,“How did it get here?” “What features mighthelp this plant to become an invader”. Studentsare free to invent ‘facts’ about the alien.This alien does not come from outer space.Once the story is completed, ask the studentswhat kinds of problems the alien invader causedin their story. Tell the students that the plant isa real alien invader. This alien does not comefrom outer space, it has come from overseas orfrom another part of Australia and it is a weed.Teachers may like to highlight which parts ofthe story students created approach the truth.17www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksWeedy word watchAIM: To become familiar with words used in the study of weedsYou will need:• a large sheet of butcher’s paper, and• coloured texta pens, or a computer and printer.There are some basic weed terms with which students should become familiar. Start a glossary by writingthe following words on a large sheet of butcher’s paper. Alternatively, use a computer word processingpackage or spreadsheet package. As the class comes across these and other relevant words, add theirdefinitions to the sheet. Keep updating your glossary and display it in a prominent place for easyreference. Here are several sample definitions, to help out.Weed – a plant that grows in the wrong placeEnvironmental weed – a plant that invades and affects natural areasAgricultural weed – a plant that affects farmingSpecies – a group of similar animals or plants that interbreed naturallyCommunity – a group of animals and plants that live and interact in a given area, e.g. coastal communityEcosystem – the interaction of communities and the physical environmentBiodiversity – the variety of plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms on EarthHabitat – the area in which an organism lives because it contains all the resources it needs to surviveAustralian native plant – a plant that occurs naturally in any area of AustraliaIndigenous plant – a plant that occurs naturally in a given local areaIntroduced plant – a plant that occurs outside its natural range18www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksWeedy word watch (continued)Activity – Start a weedy glossaryUse a computer word processing or spreadsheetpackage to develop a glossary of words relatingto weeds. Keep updating the glossary file.Make a printout of the updated file and displayin a prominent location in the class for reference.Refer to the glossary on page 72.19www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksWeedy word matchAIM: To help students become familiar with the key words used in this topicSome new wordsMatch the words with the sentence:Australian native plantIndigenousEnvironmental weedBiodiversityIntroduced plantHabitatOccurring naturally in a particular placeA plant occurring naturally in AustraliaThe area that contains all the resources an organism needs to surviveA plant that invades and affects natural areasA plant that is grown outside of its natural rangeThe variety of plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms on EarthMatch the word with the picture:Grass Tree Shrub Herb Creeper Climber BulbLook at aweeds chart forexamples of somedifferent growthforms of weeds.20www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksAustralia’s twenty leastwanted weeds –Weeds of National Significance (WONS)AIM: To familiarise students with thenames and diversity of seriousweeds that affect AustraliaYou will need:• copies of this worksheet,• Weeds of National Significance poster orAustralian Weeds Strategy website access, and• atlas.These 20 plants have been chosen as Australia’smost serious weeds – they are known as Weeds ofNational Significance (WONS). Some affect farmswhile others invade bushland. Some occur on landwhilst others infest waterways. Some are inlandweeds but others are found along our coasts.Alligator WeedAthel PineBoneseed/Bitou BushBlackberryBridal CreeperCabombaChilean Needle GrassGorseHymenacneLantanaMesquiteMimosaParkinsoniaParthenium WeedPond ApplePrickly AcaciaRubber VineSalviniaSerrated TussockWillow• Do you recognise any of the names on thislist? Find out which weeds occur in your stateor territory?• Write a short report about one WONS thatoccurs in your state or territory. Where doesit come from, what does it look like andwhat are its impacts? What are people doingabout this weed? Include a drawing of theweed or cut out a picture if you can find one.• You can find out more about these weedsfrom your library, a local weed expert orWeeds Australia Search located on theInternet at: www.weeds.org.au21www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksFlatten that weed!How to make a weedariumAIM: To produce a pressed collectionof local weedsYou will need:• A4 paper,• plastic bags,• gloves,• paper towel,• scissors,• plastic sheet protectors,• ring binder,• newspaper,• flat heavy objects to be used as weights, and• weed identification materials or weed expert.An herbarium is simply a collection of pressedand dried plants. These are mounted on separatesheets of paper which also record details ofwhere and when each specimen was found.Herbariums are fun to set up and useful formonitoring plants, including weeds, in aparticular area.Setting up an herbarium for weeds (weedarium)is simple. It involves:CollectingWhen collecting plants for your weedarium, keepin mind the following:• The specimen should fit onto an A4 sheet ofpaper.• To collect safely, students may require glovesor secateurs to collect some weeds.• Collect intact specimens with undamagedleaves attached to stems and include rootsif possible. Try to collect reproductive partssuch as flowers, fruits and nuts.• Place the collected specimen in a plasticbag along with a note that states what it is(if you know) and where it was found.Pressing• Plan to press your weeds soon after collection.Specimens left overnight will start to lookvery sad.• Use paper towels to dry damp specimens.• Trim specimens to reduce their bulk and thechances of ‘mould out’.• Place weeds between separate sheets offolded newspaper. Include a scrap of paperwith some of the plants’ details so you canidentify them easily later.• Place weights on your specimens, makingsure that each one has something flatimmediately above and below. Oldencyclopaedias make good weights.• Store in a dry, well-aired place and checkeach week for mould. Change newspapersif the specimens look mouldy.• Allow four to six weeks for a good press.22www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksAlternatives to pressing• Try a ‘microwave’ press. Place plants betweentwo flat plates and zap. You will need toexperiment with times and settings.Microwaved plants tend to hold theircolour better.• You can also experiment with a flatbedscanner to capture the weed as a ‘computerimage’. This can produce beautiful images.MountingAfter four to six weeks remove the weeds fromthe newspaper and:• Tape each weed to separate A4 sheets ofpaper or card.• Make a specimen card (see below for asample) to record information for eachweed. Stick it to the A4 sheet.• Slip the A4 sheet into a plastic sheetprotector and clip into a ring folder.Common nameScientific nameWhere it was foundHow the weed may have got thereDateCollector’s name23www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksPlant life formsAIM: To recognise plant life forms and to find out how they help plants to become weedsYou will need:• copies of this worksheet;• pencils; and• access to the Internet, weed identificationmaterials and/or the Weeds of NationalSignificance poster.Many people think of weeds as herbs or grassesbut they can also be trees, shrubs, creepers,climbers, bulbs or aquatics. Different life formscan often tell us about the sort of effects weedshave. For example, weedy trees and shrubscan cast so much shade nothing can growunderneath them. Climbers can weigh down andstrangle other vegetation. Aquatic weeds can useup so much oxygen that other water creaturescannot breathe.Some life forms of weeds include:• Grasses and herbs that are small plants anddo not form woody stems• Shrubs are woody plants usually lessthan 3 m high• Trees are woody plants usually morethan 3 m high• Creepers are plants that put out undergroundor above ground runners that enable them tospread rapidlly over the ground• Climbers are plants that use tendrils or otherspecial plant parts to climb over other plantsor structures such as fences and walls• Bulbs, tubers and corms are plants whichgrow from a bulb-like organ that lies underthe ground• Aquatic plants may be free floating oranchored and require a water body for someor all of their livesYou should add these definitions to your weedglossary when you have time.Put the Weeds of National Significance into thelife form categories using the poster or thewebsite. Of the 20 WONS, how many fall intoeach of the life form categories?24www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksHow’s your form?Look at some pictures of weeds and inspect some weeds outside. How might the life forms of theseplants help them to be weeds? Complete the chart by ticking the effects you think particular life formsmight have. There will probably be more than one effect for each life form.Life formEffectTakes up spaceProducesheavyshadeClimbs overand stranglesother plantsClogs upwaterwaysDrops leavesthat arepoisonous toother plantsGrasses andherbsShrubsCreepers andclimbersWater weedsTreesBulbs, cormsand tubers25www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksPlant partsAIM: To become familiar with the parts of plantsYou will need:• a selection of weeds, and• a hand lens or magnifying glass.Each student should collect one or two localweeds. As well as stems and leaves, try to collectroot systems and any flowers or fruits. As soon aspossible, examine the weed carefully and makean A4 sized image of the weed by drawing,photocopying, scanning it on a flatbed scanneror photographing it.For each weed, label the stems, leaves, flowers,seeds, fruits, thorns, tubers, tendrils, and roots.Some ideas to consider:• Has anything been eating your weed?• Does your weed look like any other plant?• Does the smell remind you of anything?• Are there any fruits?• What animals might eat them?• Don’t try them yourself, they may bevery poisonous.26www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksPlant parts (continued)AIM: To become familiar with parts of plantsYou will need:• copies of this worksheet, and• the weed images made in the last exercise and/or fresh specimens of the same weed/s.Describe in detail one or two of the plants you have collected. Which parts do you think might help thisplant be a weed? Compare one of your weeds with those of two classmates.Name of Weed Present Shape Size Colour Smell Textureyes/noLeafStemsTendrilsRootTuberSeedFlowerFruitPrickles and thornsOther parts27www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksWeed habitatsAIM: To explore the local diversity of weed habitatsYou will need:• a local bushland area or your school grounds,• pencils, copies of this worksheet,• weed identification materials,• compass, and• hand trowel.Students are to work in small groups to describe one weed habitat in terms of the features listed in theworksheet. Students will need to do a little digging to gauge soil type and moisture. Stress the need forminimal disturbance when doing this and they need to backfill all holes when finished.Habitat gridCircle the description that best fits each feature of the weed habitat.Habitat description for…(insert name of weed)Moisture Dry Moist WetLight No shade Part shade Fully shadedAspect North South East WestSoil type Sandy soil Clay soil Soil feels like silt Soil fine andfluffyDisturbance No recent fire Black on tree Recent fire– fire trunksDisturbance Soil looks Soil sometimes Soil often dug– soil movement untouched dug or trampled or trampledCompetition Only a few plants A lot of plants Plants take upall the spaceCompare your findings with other groups. How do the habitats of weeds differ? How are they similar?Are there any conditions that all the weeds collected by the class seem to like/not like? What do yourobservations tell you about the requirements of your weed? How might the habitat be changed todiscourage these weeds?28www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksWeed habitats – Weed huntWhere do weeds grow?Use this chart to find out if the weeds in your school are more concentrated in some areas.No weeds Some weeds Lots of weedsGarden bedsVegetable patchLawnPlanter potsIn grooves, concrete paths or brick paversIn guttersUnder trees and shrubsIn cracks in asphaltCompost heapAlong the fenceThe ovalUnder the play equipmentAmong the mulchOtherOtherOtherDiscuss why some areas have more or less weeds than others.29www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksCompetitionThe rules aren’t fairAIM: To demonstrate that weeds often have an unfair advantage over other plantsYou will need:• copies of the game board,• dice, and• two sets each of 100 counters, each set a different colour for each player.Weed biology and ecology often help to explainwhy weeds are so successful. The followingexercises highlight important aspects of weedbiology and ecology.Students will be very aware of competitionwithin sport and other aspects of our society.They will often associate competition withwinners and losers. How does social competitionrelate to the sort of competition that happens innature? What sort of competitors are weeds?Competition between plants for basic needs suchas water, light, soil nutrients and space happensall the time. Native plants that belong to thesame ecosystem compete with each other andthe result is a finely balanced but dynamiccombination of particular species in particularnumbers. Pasture grasses also compete with eachother, and provided the farmer applies the rightamount of water and fertiliser, and managesstock wisely, the result will be relatively even andbalanced pasture growth. Foresters planting treesin plantations also need to think aboutcompetition between their timber species. Tomake sure trees do not compete too heavily witheach other, foresters work out the best spacingand thinning patterns for their plantings.Discussion after the game• What was the result of the game?• Who loses? Who wins?• Will the game always have the same result?Why?Further discussion• What are the students’ views aboutcompetition in society?• How is competition different in nature?• Introduced plants can compete very wellbecause they are often free of the naturalpredators, diseases or other limitations foundin their country of origin.• In nature the numbers of plants and animalsare normally kept in check due to animalseating them, disease and changes in weather.Introduced weeds go out of control becausethey don’t have their natural conditions limitingtheir numbers. Is there a parallel betweenweeds and sports cheats that use drugs?However, when weeds invade natural areas,farms or plantations, the balanced competitionbetween existing plants is upset. Because manyweeds are excellent competitors, they graduallytake over from the original plants by using upavailable light, water and nutrients.30www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksCompetition – The rules aren’t fair (continued)Rules:• To be played by two people.• Each player starts with four countersanywhere on the playing board, so longas each one is next to another.• Each counter takes up one square.• There can only be one counter on a square.• One colour counter is the indigenousvegetation and the other the weed.• Each person takes it in turns to throw the dice.• When an odd number is thrown, plantnumbers do not increase.• When an even number is thrown, plantnumbers double. New counters can beplaced on any squares that border ontosquares already occupied by the player’sexisting counters.• Weed counters can take over squares heldby indigenous counters. The indigenousplant counters are removed.• Indigenous plants cannot occupy squaresheld by weed counters.GAME BOARD31www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksWeed spreadWeeds can be spread by many natural means. Weed seeds or other parts (e.g. leaves, stems, bulbs) canbe moved to other places by wind, water and animals. For example:• Some light seeds can be blown by wind.• Rivers and the sea currents can spreadother seeds.• Seeds can stick to fur and feathers ofanimals.• Ants will transport some seeds.• The seeds in fruits can pass out in thedroppings of animals.• Broken stems or even leaves of some weedscan be washed away and grow again.Besides natural means, the activities of peoplecan also help to spread weeds accidentally ordeliberately. Accidental weed spread can occurwhen travellers pick up weed seed in clothingand baggage or when vehicles and machinerytransport seeds from one area to another.Deliberate weed spread occurs when people buy,sell or swap garden plants that can becomeweeds or when they dump garden clippings inthe bush.Collecting weed seedsAIM: To collect weed seeds forother activitiesYou will need:• stockings and large old woollen socks, and• plastic and paper bags.Some weed seeds are needed for experiments.Try a few different methods of collectingweed seeds.• Flowers produce seeds. Place some maturingflowers in a paper bag. Label the bag andplace in a warm dry position. Some weedswill release their seeds.• Place a stocking over a weed flower and tiethe bottom of the stocking around the stem.This will collect the mature seeds of someweeds.• Pull large woollen socks over the shoes ofstudents. Get them to walk through weedyareas. Pick the seeds from the woollen socks.• Some weed seeds can be collected directlyfrom the parent plant.• Once collected, make sure the seeds donot escape!32www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksThe problem is blowingin the windAIM: To find out which weeds in yourarea produce wind dispersed seedsYou will need:• large book,• various weed seeds,• low power microscope or hand lenses/magnifying glasses,• measuring tape, and• vacuum cleaner.• Examine the seeds and see if they have anyfeatures that might enable them to glide(e.g. wings) or catch the air like a parachute(e.g. hairs).• Use a hard floor surface to make a row ofdifferent seeds. A book can be used to createan air current. Rotate a large book into avertical position with the spine resting onthe floor ready to flop down. Make sure thebook will not land on the seeds. Let thebook go so it makes a fast current of air.• Watch as the seeds move and come to rest.Measure the distance the seeds moved. Didany seeds stay aloft for more than a second?Which seeds went the furthest? Which seedsfloated the longest?• Use a vacuum cleaner to remove all the seedsfrom the floor.33www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksSticky businessAIM: To discover how weed seeds spread by attaching to people and animalsYou will need:• large, old, woollen socks,• a nearby weedy area,• a microscope or hand lens/magnifying glass, and• local weed seed information.• Students place socks over their shoes and gowalking through the weedy area. Late springor autumn is a good time. Socks are takenoff and examined for weed seeds. Pick outthe seeds and look at them under themicroscope or with a hand lens.• What features of the seed enable them tostick? How would you expect these weedsto spread?• Suppose you are a burr of a plant introducedto Australia. You attach yourself to a passingrabbit or dog – or maybe you get stuck to aperson. Make up a story about your travels.You can write about your adventure, make itinto a comic strip, draw a picture of it or justtell it to someone.34www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksPoo!AIM: To investigate the role of animals in the spread of weed seedsYou will need:• fresh horse manure,• disposable plastic gloves,• potting tray or any tray with drainage,• trowel, and• potting mix.SafetyHorse manure should never come in contact withbroken skin. After the activity, dispose of thegloves and thoroughly wash hands with soap.Spread potting mix evenly across the tray.The mix will not contain living seeds providedthe bag has not been left open. Scatter smallfragments of horse manure over the potting mix.Place in a secure place outdoors. Water lightlytwice a week.Did any plants germinate from this sampleof horse manure?Can you tell what sorts of plants havegerminated?Can you be sure that no more plants willgerminate in the future?What can happen when horses are riddenthrough bushland or sold to people livingin a different area?What other animals in your area might helpspread weed seeds? Make a list.35www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksWhat a load of rubbish!Bush dumping and the spread of weedsAIM: To identify the problems caused by dumping garden waste in the bushYou will need:• clipboard and writing material, and• digital or video camera.Visit a local natural area (bushland, rainforest,etc.) where garden dumping has occurred. If youare not familiar with any suitable sites in yourparticular area, ask a weed expert or local councilfor advice and directions. Inspect the site andconsider the following:• Describe the site in terms of its location andenvironment. In what sort of habitat has thedumping taken place? (e.g. dry forest,rainforest, heathland.)• Why do you think people have chosen thissite to dump their garden rubbish?• Describe what sort of plants are in thedumped pile/s. (This only needs to bea general description, e.g. vines, daisybush cuttings, bulbs, grass clippings,vegie patch rubbish.)• Look for evidence of plants spreading fromthe original dump site and growing innearby areas. Which plants appear to bespreading? Which plants do not appear tobe spreading?• How long ago might the garden refuse havebeen dumped?• Sketch a map that tries to show the originaldumpsite and how far the weeds havespread. Include other details on your mapsuch as roads or tracks and rivers or streams.• How far might these plants spread in 1 year,5 years and 10 years from now? Can you see,or do you know, of any examples of weedspread over longer time spans that areprobably the result of bush dumping?• What local government and state lawsaddress bush dumping? What are thepenalties for breaking these laws?• How does your local tip handle gardenrubbish?• Why might people dump their gardenrubbish in the bush?• What are better alternatives for disposingof garden rubbish?• Discuss ways of stopping this very shameful‘bush crime’.36www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksDumping weeds in bush –Growing from small cuttingsAIM: To find out which weeds can easilyspread when dumpedYou will need:• one empty PET bottle per student,• garden plant cuttings,• potting mix, soil or compost,• gauze, and• rubber bands.1. Make a mini greenhouse for the weedcutting. Cut the PET bottles almost all theway around and about three-quarters ofthe way up so that they have a hinged top.Place soil, compost or potting mix inside.2. Take a leaf, stem, or section of root and buryone-quarter of it in the soil.3. Place gauze over top and secure with arubber band.4. Water regularly.5. Record which plants grow from the cuttings.Which plants will spread when people dumpgarden rubbish in the bush?Extension:Try the sametechnique withbulbs, seed heads,leaves etc.37www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksWeed seed banksOne very clever strategy employed by many of our worst weeds is the production of enormousnumbers of long lived seeds. These seeds may survive in the soil for many years without losing theirability to germinate. This makes control of these weeds very difficult and frustrating because the hugestore of seed or ‘Seed Bank’ keeps supplying viable seed over long periods of time.One way of preventing the development ofseed banks is to deliberately create conditionsthat will make many of the seeds germinate.This is called ‘raising the seed bank’ – it isbasically a means of tricking weeds into showingthemselves. Seedlings can then be easily pulled orsprayed while they are small. Common methodsof robbing the seed bank include:• firing,• clearing,• watering, and• combination of these.Some weeds with impressive soil seedbanks include:bitou bush/boneseed(Chrysanthemoides monilifera)ragwort(Senecio jacobaea)broom(Genista monspessulana and Cytisus scoparius)gorse(Ulex europaeus)parthenium(Parthenium hysterophorus)prickly acacia(Acacia nilotica)mimosa(Mimosa pigra)38www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksSeed bank robbers –How many seeds in a seed bank?AIM: To calculate the number of seedshidden in soilYou will need:• tray with drainage holes, and• spade.This exercise demonstrates the size of a weedseed bank. It is best done in late winter or earlyspring when many seeds will be more likely togerminate.1. Locate an established infestation of weeds.Hold the spade so that the handle is only30 cm from the ground. Carefully push thespade so a scrape of soil about 5 cm deep isremoved and covers the spade. Try not tobreak up the scrape too much.2. Slide the scrape of soil into a shallowcontainer with drainage holes.3. Measure the area of the scrape.4. Place the scrape in a sunny position in yourclassroom and treat as you would the fussiesthouse plant. (Weeds have an annoying habitof not growing well when you want themto.) Do not over water.5. When the seed bank starts to germinate(it may take three to six weeks) keep atally of seedlings that appear over the nexttwo weeks.6. Convert the total to a density measurementusing the following calculation:Density (D) = number of seeds per squaremetreD =no. of seedsarea of scrape (in m 2 )7. Compare your findings with similar estimatesand for the weeds you have alreadyinvestigated. Discuss ways of ‘Robbingthe Seed Bank’ i.e. reducing the numberof weed seeds in the soil.39www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksSelf-defenceAIM: To investigate how weeds are adapted to survive browsing animalsYou will need:• copy of this worksheet, and• writing material.Some plants are considered weeds because theyhave features that harm people or animals. Thesefeatures can be vital to the plant’s survival asthey discourage grazing. Find out what plants inyour area have features that can harm people.Your local hospital may have some information.Weeds have many ways to prevent animals fromeating them. Some weeds have thorns, pricklesor sharp needles. Many weeds have poisonous orbad tasting leaves. Some are difficult to chew.Some grow so quickly that animals can’t eatthem back fast enough.Find six kinds of weeds and observe them wherethey are growing. Look to see if insects, snails orlarger animals have chewed any part of the plant.In what ways might the plants defend themselvesfrom attack. Rip a piece of leaf from the weedand smell it. Remember to wash your hands.Record your observations in the table below.Name of weed Has it been How might it defend itself?or description chewed? Inspect for thorns, smell etc.40www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksThe perfect leafAIM: To compare the impact of browsing on indigenous, non-local native andintroduced plantsYou will need:• copy of this worksheet.Introduction activity• Take students outdoors wherethere are eucalypts and askthem to find a perfect maturegum leaf. It must be totallyfree of any kind of blemish onthe edge or the surface. It isunlikely that perfect maturegum leaves will be found.What kinds of blemishes areon the leaves? Now try theactivity looking at anintroduced plant.• Why is it difficult to find aperfect gum leaf and easier to find a perfect leaf from an introduced plant?• As a class, take one hundred mature leaves from an indigenous eucalypt, a non-local native eucalyptand an introduced tree. Examine each leaf in detail and record the number of different types ofblemishes on each leaf. Tally the students’ findings on the chart below.• Make a line graph of the results, using a different colour for the indigenous, native and introducedtrees. Place number of leaves (or percentage of total) along the vertical axis and number ofblemishes along the horizontal axis. What does the graph show?• Discuss why special animal or diseases from overseas are sometimes released to control weeds.The released animals or diseases are called biological control agents.100 mature Perfect 1 type of 2 types of 3 types of 4 types ofleaves leaf blemish blemishes blemishes blemishesIndigenous treeNative treeIntroduced tree41www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksWeeds in natural environmentsThere are over two thousand introduced plants that invade and damage bushland or other naturalareas. These are known as environmental weeds. Environmental weeds can affect the healthy functioningof ecosystems by competing with native plants for sunlight, nutrients and water, altering the way waterand sediments move through natural areas, changing the nutrients in the soil, and changing the way firesoccur in the ecosystem.When these basic functions are interfered with,indigenous plants, animals and insects also suffer.One important effect is a loss of biodiversity –the variety of life upon which we all depend.Some environmental weeds that are closelyrelated to local natives can interbreed with themand cause genetic pollution. Many Australiannatives that are grown out of their naturalranges may have this potential.oxygen and water itself. This can have harmfuleffects upon other living things in the aquaticecosystem. Water weeds can also affect humandrinking water supplies, boating and any otheractivities that require water. There are probablybetween 30 and 40 serious water weeds inAustralia and many of them are introduceddeliberately as fish tank and ornamental pondplants.A special category of environmental weedincludes those that affect waterways. Waterplants are very important for maintaining thehealth of streams, rivers, lakes and estuaries.They provide habitat and food for water animalsand birds as well as helping to keep water cleanfor drinking. However, sometimes water plantscan interfere with the flow of water and use upThere are over one thousand different types ofenvironmental weeds in Australia. Interestingly,many of them were deliberately brought here asgarden plants. This means that one veryimportant way of tackling the environmentalweed problem is to change the way peoplegarden, and especially, how they chooseornamental plants.42www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksImpacts on bush43www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksImpacts on waterways44www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksWeeds and biodiversityIn a natural area on land or in the water, numerous animals and plants live together. The more typesof animals and plants the greater the biodiversity. When weeds take the place of indigenous plants,biodiversity of indigenous plants is reduced. The animals that rely on these indigenous plants mayalso disappear.Example:Weeds can slowly destroy the habitat ofnative animalsHow might weeds effect akookaburra?Kookaburras need foodThey eat lizards, grasshoppers and insects.Some of these insects need native plantsfor food. Kookaburras cannot hunt wherevegetation is so thick that they cannot seetheir prey on the ground.Kookaburras need a place to nestThey nest in hollows in old trees. There iscompetition between native and introduced birdsfor nesting hollows. Introduced birds may bemore comfortable with weeds than native birds.Kookaburras need a place to sit whilewatching for preyHow canweeds affectother nativeanimals?The open branches of gum trees are ideal forthis. Introduced trees and shrubs often havemuch leafier, thicker canopies.Write about, or draw a picture or series ofpictures of, or make a play or video about,a family of kookaburras whose home is beinginvaded by weeds and the problems they face.45www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksWeeds and biodiversity (continued)Cotoneaster and blackbirdsCotoneaster is a shrub that produces bright redberries. Introduced blackbirds eat the berries.The seeds contained within the berries passthrough the blackbird, and grow from theblackbird’s droppings. Because blackbirds flyfrom one part of an area to another they spreadcotoneaster, creating more food for themselves.In this way blackbirds and cotoneaster shrubsinvade native bushland, out-competing nativeplants and birds.Vines and butterfliesThe beautiful and rare Richmond birdwingbutterfly is indigenous to southern Queenslandand northern New South Wales. It lays its eggson natives vines, that are eaten by its caterpillars,which in turn, become butterflies. A vine,Dutchman’s Pipe, introduced as a garden plant, isoften mistaken by the butterflies for the nativevine. It is poisonous to the caterpillars and sothey never live to become butterflies.(An Aboriginal cooperative has grown manymore of the native vines, and schoolchildrenhave planted thousands in their school grounds.Local people have been educated not to growDutchman’s Pipe, and the butterfly may besaved from extinction.)Bridal Creeper and Pimelea spicataWeed invasion is estimated to have caused theextinction of at least four Australian plantspecies, and continues to threaten the survivalof many others.Bridal creeper (Asparagus asparagoides) is amajor extinction threat to a native shrub Pimeleaspicata. Once widespread, Pimelea spicata is nowrestricted to about 25 sites in south eastern NSW.Several of the larger populations are threatenedby weed invasion, including Bridal Creeper.CSIRO are studying exactly how weeds affectbiodiversity, by using the Bridal Creeper/P. spicatainteraction as a model experimental system.One outcome of their work will be developmentof appropriate practices to help conservethe environment and minimise the impactfrom weeds.46www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksWeeds and biodiversity (continued)Pittosporum and lizardsPittosporum is a native Australian plant that isspreading into new areas where it is a weed, outcompetingindigenous plants. Its dark leavesgrow thickly on the branches, and heavily shadethe ground, so that some species of lizard cannotsun themselves properly, and cannot survivewhere pittosporum has invaded.Bandicoots, wrens and blackberriesIt appears that some native animals are protectedby weeds in places where there is no nativevegetation. Blackberries may be a refuge frompredators for small native birds and animals.Sometimes clearing blackberries from an arearemoves the wildlife too. Sometimes, indigenousplants need to be grown before the weedsare removed.The case studies above give an indication ofsome of the ways in which weeds can affectbiodiversity. Choose a local environmental weed.Sit in the bushland in which it is found andobserve other living things around it. If you can,find some nearby bushland without the weedand make similar observations. Did you noticeany differences? Write a story or make a cartoonabout ways in which this weed might affectlocal biodiversity.47www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksBush invaders gameAIM: To investigate how biodiversity is lost when weeds invadeYou will need:• pencils,• copies of the game board, and• dice.This dice game demonstrates how small ground plants quickly succumb to the invasion of weeds.Once weeds have taken their toll, many species of indigenous plants are totally lost.Play the bush invaders game and discuss the following:How many types of plants are left after 10 throws?How many individual plants are left after 10 throws?In this game, are some plant sizes more likely to survive?How many throws were needed to lose half the plants?If all the weeds were removed, which indigenous plants would be left to grow over the area?Follow up:Make a grid with a 100 squares and represent the plants growing back after the removal of the weedsusing these formulas:Of the plants that are left between a and e put in 50 plants.Of the plants that are left between f and i put in 40 plants.If there is at least one j left, place ten back on the board.48www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksBush invaders game (continued)Game boardj i h g f e d c b aa j i h g f e d c bb a j i h g f e d cc b a j i h g f e dd c b a j i h g f ee d c b a j i h j ff e d c b a j i h gg f e d c b a j i hh g f e d c b a j ii j g f e d c b a jRulesEach letter represents a different type of indigenous plant:a . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . is the smallest planta, b, c, d and e . . . . . . . are all small ground dwelling plantsf, g, h and i . . . . . . . . . . are shrubsj . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . is a treeThrow the dice ten times to represent ten weed invasions, each weed invasion damages the indigenousvegetation. Represent weed invasion by making a cross on the letters after throwing the dice.Numbers thrown represent:1. lose half a and b plants due to invading creeping weed2. lose half of a, b, c, d and e plants remaining due to thick grassy weed3. lose half a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, and j plants remaining due to dense shrubby weeds4. throw again and lose all plants 1 = a, 2 = b, 3 = c, 4 = d, 5 = e, 6 = f due to invading shrubs5. throw again and lose all plants 1 = a, 2 = b, 3 = c, 4 = d, 5 = e, 6 = f due to invading shrubs and creepers6. lose all plants with only one or two plants remaining because there are not enough left to breed.49www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksWeeds on farmsWeeds cost Australian primary industry at least$3.3 billion every year. This figure is probablyan underestimate. Weeds affect agriculture bycontaminating produce and competing withpasture and crop plants. Some weeds also injurelivestock, working dogs and humans. Weedinfestations reduce the value of farmland.Weeds on farms can also invade precious areasof natural bushland, either nearby or on thefarm itself. However, certain agricultural weedscan also have benefits. For example, in somecases, gorse is the only plant holding the soiltogether in heavily degraded farmland. It alsoprovides valuable shelter to stock, especiallyduring lambing, when no native vegetationexists. Blackberries can have similar functionsand are also, in some places, an importantresource for the honey industry.50www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksWeeds on farms (continued)51www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksWeeds on farms (continued)AIM: To consider the various effects of weeds on primary productionYou will need:• copies of this worksheet, and• writing materials.Discuss howweeds might affectdifferent kindsof farms and howthe farmers cancontrol them.Agricultural weeds are a major problem in Australia. Discuss how weeds might affect different kindsof farming activities. How are such weeds commonly managed? Find out by research in the library oron the Internet, or interviewing a local farmer or weed expert.Wheat cropHow can weeds become a problem?Cattle or sheep farmHow can weeds become a problem?How can the weeds be controlled?How can the weeds be controlled?Cut flower nurseryHow can weeds become a problem?Yabby farmHow can weeds become a problem?How can the weeds be controlled?How can the weeds be controlled?Fruit orchardHow can weeds become a problem?Vegetable cropHow can weeds become a problem?How can the weeds be controlled?How can the weeds be controlled?52www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksWeeds affect people tooPlants can affect human health and safety in anumber of ways. Plants that make signs difficultto see can contribute to accidents on roads.Other plants can lower the quality of the watersupplies we rely upon for drinking. Many plantscan directly affect human health by poisoningpeople. In 1994 in NSW alone some 1392 casesof plant poisoning were reported. This includedeating food plants not prepared properly,ingesting plants experimentally, or mistakingthem as food plants. Symptoms included skinconditions such as blisters, rashes and itching,breathing difficulties such as hay fever andasthma, and eye poisoning. While manypoisonous plants are natives of natural areas,many others are garden plants. Because theycan cause human health problems, these plantsare sometimes described as weeds.So what is the best way to get on top of weeds?53www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksWeeds affect people too (continued)54www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksFighting backThere are a number of options which areexplored next. Overall though, the best approachto weed management is prevention. Preventingweed spread makes sense because it:• is easier than addressing established weedproblems. Removing a few weeds when firstseen in an area is much simpler than tacklingdense infestations.• is cheaper than controlling or containinglarger infestations.• reduces the adverse impacts of weeds on theenvironment and production systems.However, the value of preventative actions canbe very difficult to explain. By nature, manypeople are more likely to react to problems thatare obvious and have immediate consequences,rather than to those that are yet to develop.Changing this perception and behaviour is oneof the greatest challenges for contemporaryweed management.While weed prevention should always bepracticed, dealing with an existing problem isanother matter. One of the ways currently usedto control weeds in Australia is manual control.disturbance.Manual controlManual control is the use of handsor hand tools, such as hoes, to dealwith weeds. This method isextremely effective for smallweed infestations. Manualcontrol is easier after theground has beensoftened by rain.In bushlandsituations it is veryimportant to minimisesoil disturbance as itfavours some weeds andleads to soil erosion.Manual controlreduces soilPeople planning to use theirhands or a tool to remove weedsshould wear sturdy gloves to avoidprickles and blisters. Some weeds suchas Sea Spurge (Euphorbia paralias) also giveout a poisonous sap that will burn the skin andsting the eyes.If you do not have a suitable area in your schoolground that has some weeds to be pulled, contactyour local council to see if there is some localgovernment land nearby that would benefit froma weed pull. You might like to adopt this patch.Before using manual control, a plan forreplanting the area with desirable plantsneeds to be worked out.Talk to yourlocal governmentenvironmentofficer.55www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksLargest root competitionAIM: To experiment with hand implements to remove weedsYou will need:• rulers or measuring tapes,• variety of household implements that could be suitable for extracting weeds, and• gardening gloves.In a garden area, have a competition to find who can extract a weed with the largest root. At this stage,students will only need garden gloves. This will require students to define a root and distinguish it fromunderground stems, e.g. couch grass has very long stems or tendrils. What technique was most useful inextracting roots?What makes a good weedextractor?Collect some butter knives, forks, spoons, pliers,tongs, plastic chopsticks and any other handykitchen utensil and workshop tool. Provide smallgroups with a selection of tools and allow themto experiment.• Which is the best tool?• What method was used to extract theweeds?Make a weed extractorUsing scrap material or one of the above utensils,ask students to design the ultimate weedextractor. If the design seems to be safe, get thestudent to make it. Once the tool has passed acomprehensive safety check by the class, test iton some weeds. Allow for any modifications andtest it again. Ask students to report on theirweed extracting tools.• Were different tools more effective fordifferent weeds?As a follow-up, use some hand garden tools andsee if they do the job as well or better.56www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksWeed pull!AIM: To demonstrate in a practical way how easy it is to make a differenceYou will need:• equipment indicated by the safety list onpage 12,• expert advice about where a suitable patchof suitable weeds can be found,• weed identification materials,• the right weather,• a camera, and• recycled plastic shopping bags or othersuitable containers for the pulled weeds.Many hands make light work, and a class ofcheerful, enthusiastic students can have a hugeimpact in a short time. Students will requirethoughtful guidance and close supervision.Students may be used to removing weeds fromthe school grounds. If the class is going to workin a bushland area, it is best to work with alandcare/ bushcare group, park rangers or councilrangers. Ask them for advice on how they wouldlike the students to be organised.Before removing weeds, a plan for replantingthe area with desirable plants needs to beworked out.SafetyRefer to page 12 about student safety whileremoving weeds. Review safety procedures eachtime students go out to weed.OrganisationHave students work in small groups. Provide eachgroup with an area. Make sure all students arewithin visual contact. Bring along a camera andtake some before and after photographs andsome shots of the kids having fun.ProcedureStudents must know which weeds are beingremoved, and which indigenous plants couldbe easily confused with them. To minimiseconfusion, ask students to pull one type of weedper outing. Make sure pulled weeds are put inbags for disposal.EquipmentMake sure all equipment is cleaned and returned.Weed disposalMake sure all the weeds are gathered anddisposed of appropriately.57www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksFighting backMechanical controlAIM: To generate discussion about mechanical control optionsMechanical control is the use of powered toolssuch as chainsaws and brushcutters or machinerysuch as bulldozers and slashers to manage weeds.Mechanical control can be very useful fortackling large weed infestations. This methodreduces the weed bulk and requires lessherbicide.For prickly or woody weed infestations that arehard to penetrate, mechanical control can also bea suitable method.Care has to be taken when using mechanicalcontrol in bushland areas or near streams.Soil disturbance can create new problems.How might these machines be used?Ask your local weed expert about machinesused for weed control in your area.ChainsawSlasherBrushcutterDigger or BulldozerWhich mechanical device would be most appropriate?Large tree Grass CreeperLarge shrub Climber Small treeAnchored aquatic plant Bulb Floating aquatic plant58www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksFighting backChemical controlA herbicide is a chemical that kills plants. Howherbicides kill weeds is not always understoodbut many of them appear to block the normalchemical processes that go on in plants.There are many different types of herbicides.Some work on a wide variety of plants – theseare known as broad spectrum herbicides. Otherswork on only a narrow range of plants – theseare known as selective herbicides.When it comes to weed control, herbicides canbe incredibly useful but must be used with care.People using herbicides need to wear protectiveclothing such as gloves, masks and specialoveralls. Some herbicides can cause painful skinrashes and burns or poisoning if they arebreathed in or ingested. Some people are veryallergic to herbicides. Sprays should not be usednear unprotected people, especially children.Herbicides can damage plants other than weeds,so they are used with extreme care in bushlandand rainforest areas, and near crops. Similarly,not all herbicides can be used safely in or nearwater because they may affect freshwater ormarine life.When using herbicides people need to takeprecautions like reading the label to make surethey use the right herbicide for the right weedand that they use the right amount. Herbicidesshould not be sprayed on windy days or in placeswhere they can wash into creeks and rivers.Many people mix a brightly coloured dye withherbicides to show others which plants they havesprayed and to warn them about touching them.Before using herbicides, a plan for replanting thearea with desirable plants needs to be worked out.59www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksHerbicide safetyAIM: To examine the many safety aspects of using a herbicideYou will need:• copies of this worksheet, and• writing materials.Go to a local agricultural or garden store and ask the shop keeper to show you some herbicides.Read the labels and take some notes. Then write some instructions for Weedo Herbicide. It shouldexplain how the herbicide is used and all the safety precautions that need to be taken.This herbicide is used for:Weedo Herbicide InstructionsRead carefullyPreparation:Equipment:Safety clothing and equipment:Weather conditions:Don’t spray near:After spraying:Store herbicide:60www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksFighting back –Biological controlBiological control of weeds involves usingliving things or their products to attack weeds.Usually these living things are insects or diseasesthat come from the same country of origin asthe weed itself. They are its natural enemiesand they are called biological control agents.Before biological control agents can beintroduced to help manage a weed, theyhave to go through a long period of testing.Many of the tests try to find out whether or notthe biological control agent will survive in itsnew home. Other very important tests try towork out whether or not the biological controlagent will eat or have other unwanted effectson plants besides the weed it is supposed to helpcontrol. This testing can take several years but itis very important that it is done properly.There are several terrible examples of whatcan happen when testing is not done properly.The Cane Toad that is threatening manyecosystems in Queensland, Northern Territoryand New South Wales, is one of many examples.Biological control agents can be very effective inreducing the vigour, competitiveness and size ofweed infestations. Less herbicide is needed tocontrol the weed. Biological control agents bythemselves rarely get rid of weeds altogether asthere would be nothing left for them to eat!Biological control is best used along with othermethods of control.Some states and territories have biologicalcontrol programs that involve community groupsand school groups in the rearing and releaseof agents.Ask your localweed expert if sucha program operatesin your area. Youmay be able tobecome involved.61www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksThe stingAIM: To examine some issues involving the biological control of weedsYou will need:• copies of this worksheet, and• writing materials.Complete one of the two stories. Cross out the story that you are not going to use.Swap and read the stories written by others in the class.Teachers should select a country and a weed to use in the following stories.Many years of research were spent examining whether a caterpillar from [insert the country you havechosen here] could be used to fight [insert the weed you have chosen here]. The next thing we did…orWe thought we found a small insect from [insert the country you have chosen here] to kill [insert the weedyou have chosen here] in Australia. To save time and money we didn’t do any research and just let them goon some farms in Australia. We were surprised…62www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksFighting back –Environmental managementEnvironmental management involves usingmethods to manipulate the environment inorder to discourage weeds. Fire can be used toremove certain weeds and to encourage natives.But fire also encourages other weeds and needsto be used carefully. Revegetation with suitablenatives can provide competition to which someweeds succumb.Successful environmental management requiresgood advice. Find out about Greening Australia,Australian Conservation Volunteers (ACV) or yourlocal Bushcare, Landcare, Coastcare, Rivercare,or other group looking after the local naturalhabitat. Ask them for some materials about thework they do. You can also find informationabout these groups on the Internet.Some weed infestations occur due to waterrun-off. Extra nutrients from gardens, paddocksor domestic drains encourages weed growth.If this nutrient supply is cut-off, the weeds areless likely to flourish.63www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksTips for indigenous plantingAdvice on indigenous planting should beobtained from local experts. Try GreeningAustralia, Landcare, your local council orindigenous nursery. Some basic principles tofollow are:• Control weeds before planting andobtain local advice about site preparation.Develop lists of plants that occur in thelocality, taking into account soil type andtopography, and find out which can bepropagated.• Make every effort to obtain seeds andcuttings from your local area, or plants thathave been propagated from your local areaor a very similar area nearby.• If you are going to propagate your ownplants, check the regulations governingpermits and the protection of native plantsand seeds in your state. Make sure thatno damage occurs to any site where yourmaterial is collected.• Attempt to create the appropriatecombination of plants. In a forest there areusually only a few trees, often many bushes,and usually large numbers of grasses andother small plants covering the ground.• Tree guards or fencing may be necessary tostop rabbits eating your plants. It is essentialthat a comprehensive maintenance programis carried out while the plants are gettingestablished. Get permission from thelandowner or manager before starting, andkeep them fully informed of your progress.Priority: to make sure that weeds do not returnto areas where they have been removed.(Weeds flourish with disturbance, and oftenrapidly regrow where they have been removed.You may also find that removing one weedspecies results in others taking its place.)Strategies:• Don’t clear large areas unless you haveplenty of time for the follow-up workthat is necessary to prevent weedsreturning in the future.• Check treated areas at regular intervalsfor new seedlings, partly removed rootsor regeneration from stumps.• Ensure a good growth of indigenous plantshas been established to compete with anyweeds that invade.• If weed growth or seedlings are found,remove them carefully, taking care not todamage any indigenous plants on the site.• Use appropriate mulching techniques.Contact your local landcare group or GreeningAustralia for further information, trainingprograms and locations of indigenous nurseries.They may also conduct planting days that aresuitable for students.64www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksWeeds as a bioresourceAIM: To stimulate discussion about making weed control profitable or cheaperOne way of controlling large weed infestationsis to harvest them and put them to a good use.For example, rice grass can be used to makepaper, insulation and dried fodder. Gorse can beused to make fuel blocks, to dye material and inthe manufacture of perfumes. Willows can beused for basket weaving. Wild olive is especiallyvaluable as a craft and cabinet timber.Can you think of uses for any of the weedsin your area? Do some research to find outif anyone is harvesting weeds in your area.Set up an experiment that demonstrateshow a local weed could be used.65www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksIntegrated weed management– What does that mean?AIM: To help students understand what integrated weed management involvesIntegrated weed management is the name given to an approach to controlling weeds. In the past, manypeople relied only on herbicides or mechanical means such as slashing and mowing to control weeds.Integrated weed management is a long-term approach to weed control based on what is most suitedto a particular situation at a particular time.A lot of integrated weed management comes down to common sense. Many of the tools we useto control weeds are new, but integrated weed management itself is not new. Indigenous peoplesin the tropics have long used a combination of methods to combat weeds in crops and food gardens.However, when herbicides became widely available after the Second World War, people thought theywere easier to use and the old ways were forgotten. Today, these old principles are being adopted bymodern science. Integrated weed management will be a ‘smart tool’ in the battle against weeds, thatcombines the best of available options, and helps minimise inappropriate use of herbicides.Select a weed you have been learning about. What do the experts recommend for its control?Is this advice a good example of integrated weed management? Why? Why not? If not, what wouldyou suggest?Community weed managementAIM: To generate discussion about and knowledge of local community groups dealingwith weedsFind out about community groups in your area that take care of land and water resources. Are theyBushcare, Landcare, Coastcare, Rivercare, community weed management groups, ‘Friends of’ groups ordo they belong to some other program? Get someone from one of these groups to tell you how theywork, who is involved and what they do about weeds. Why did the people in the group join up in thefirst place? Can your school form or join such a group? How would you organise yourselves?66www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksSchool ground weed surveyAIM: To map weed infestations in the school ground and to become more familiarwith local weedsYou will need:• weed herbarium sheets,• class set of A4 maps of school grounds,• large A3 map for collation of data, and• pens/pencils.Most community groups that deal with weedshave a plan or strategy that includes a methodfor finding out where the weeds are in thefocus area. This is called the weeds’ distribution.A picture of weed distribution is formed bymapping the weed or weeds in which you areinterested. A weed map is like any other map:it has a scale, shows direction north, a title anda key to the symbols and shading that might beused. Weed maps can be as detailed or asgeneral as you like depending on the purpose.A very general map gives people a rough ideaof what weeds are where. A more detailed mapwill show how densely weeds are growing, whatarea they cover, whether weeds are seedlingsor adult plants producing seeds and otherinformation. Weed maps are very useful forshowing information about weeds. A weedmap enables people to plan which part of aninfestation they will tackle first and to monitorwhether or not their efforts are succeeding overtime. Most community groups involved in weedwork do some sort of weed mapping.If required, information about the weed canbe recorded on paper. Information can includewhere the weeds are growing, how big theyare, and what, if any, animals are living on them.Is there any evidence of indigenous plantsremaining in the area? Samples of weeds canalso be collected to show classmates. This willhelp with recognition skills and can be a checkthat the plant actually is a weed.Back in the classroomCollate the information on the A3 or larger mapor make an overhead sheet to display the results.Use plant initials or the initials of the studentswho recorded the weed.A class set of photocopied A4 maps of the schoolgrounds and an A3 map will be needed to collectand record data.Use plant initials or different colours to distinguishbetween weeds.Each student can take an herbarium sheet and anA4 map into the school ground. Working in pairswill help to confirm the presence or absence ofthe weeds on the sheet. If the weed is found inthe school grounds its location is marked on themap using the student’s initials.67www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksWhat can we do?AIM: To develop suggested weed activities for the whole classYou will need:• maps and herbarium sheets developed inearlier exercises,• weed control information sheets for yourweeds, and• whiteboard or butcher’s paper.Discussion and planningCan our class do anything about weeds?Ask the students “Should we do anything at allabout the weeds we have found?” Draw out thestudents’ opinions and ideas through discussion.Use the map and herbarium sheets to decidewhat action, if any, is needed.These basic questions will explore what the classcould do about weeds in the school ground.• Is the weed concentrated in one area or is itwidespread in the school ground?• Will simple manual weeding help control theweed? What else can be done?• Will the weed return after treatment?• Is the weed providing habitat for anyanimals?• Is the weed stabilising soil? (Will the soilmove or slump if the weeds are removed?)• Are there any other costs or benefits for theschool ground in either removing orretaining the weed.Get the class to develop a list of possiblepriorities and strategies.Some examples of priorities andpossible strategiesPriority: to remove all weeds that do not providehabitat for animals.Strategies• Obtain weed control sheets from your locallocal government or state conservation officer.• Carefully plan an area in which to do somehand weeding.• Visit the principal, and contact thelandowner or manager to seek approval foryour plans.• Contact a student representative and writeto the school council for support andassistance for your plan.• Apply for funding fromgovernment or localagencies for your project,e.g. Landcare, parks andwaterways authorities,conservation trusts.• Plan ways to providealternative indigenoushabitat for animals so thatremaining weeds can beremoved.68www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksDon’t keep it to yourself !Weeds posterAIM: To communicate the basic issues of spreading weeds and to evaluate whatstudents have learntYou will need:• poster paper, and• craft and art materials.Although we still have a lot to learn aboutweeds, there is an enormous amount ofinformation available today. Unfortunately,one of the biggest hurdles to getting weedsunder control is that not everyone knows theyare a problem. Also, many people think weedsare just problems for farmers, gardeners andperhaps council workers who have to keep theroadsides clear of nuisance plants. If the problemof weeds in Australia is to be tackled, theneveryone needs to take some responsibility.Weeds are everyone’s problem. It is veryimportant that all people who know somethingabout weeds share their knowledge with others.Everyone with weed knowledge, includingchildren, has a role to play. Don’t work alone.Tell other people what you have found out andwhat needs to be done. Show others what youhave achieved and how you did it. Tell themhow to avoid spreading weeds.Let people know which plants may causeproblems. Discourage them from dumpinggarden waste in the bush. Ask people to reportnew weed invasions to the local council.Some methods of doing this are:• Make posters and display them aroundthe school or at a local library or shoppingcentre. These posters may show which plantsto avoid planting and their impact on theenvironment.• Write a letter or article for a local paperor the school newsletter. Write a play orput on a performance about weeds.• Give talks to other students.• Take ‘Before’ and ‘After’ photographs torecord your progress.• Organise an indigenous plants stall at yournext school fete.• Produce a video, slide set or computerpresentation about the weed problems.• Have a debate about whether people shouldbe able to plant any plants they want to intheir gardens.Encourage people to check clothing and pet furfor seeds before walking in the bush. Help themplant indigenous plants.69www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksMedia releaseAIM: To communicate weed knowledgeYou will need:• writing materials.The media, newspapers, radio and television findout about local news because people tell them.When people want their activities in the newsthey provide the media with a media release.The main purpose for the media release is tomake people in the media interested in findingout more and contacting you to do so.Schools will receive the most interest from localnewspapers. Regional country news wouldprobably enjoy a segment on students removingweeds from the environment.The media will be interested in:• a special event• students participating in an activity• raising interesting environmental challengesof which the community needs to take note.The media release should contain:• contact name or names and telephonenumber for the media to telephone• the date of any special event• the issue you would like to present in themedia• any special activities the media canphotograph or video.Mail or fax your media releases, but make surethe principal is aware of your activities as specialguidelines may need to be followed.70www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksNational Weedbuster Week –Get involved!AIM: To involve the school and general community in weeds by organising an eventYou will need:• writing materials,• posters,• media release, and• camera.Weedbusters is a national weeds educationcampaign that began in 1997. The purpose ofWeedbusters Week is to teach others what youhave learnt, show others how they can reduceweeds and show off what you have achieved.Log onto the following website to find out whatevents are occurring for the National WeedbusterWeek www.weedbusterweek.info.auYou may like to start with a discussion on howstudents organise a birthday party.Each Weedbusters week will address many similarquestions including:• When will the event occur?• What will people do at the event?• Who is invited to the event?• Do we need to obtain permission?• If money is required how will it be provided?During your Weedbusters Week or a specialevent you can:• get all the school students involved in yourfavourite weed activities• remove weeds from the school or otherenvironments• display posters in the community• use the media to explain how the school andthe community can reduce weeds• recognise the good work done by students inreducing weeds• contact your state or territory NationalWeedbuster Week coordinator for advice.• Who will organise the event?71www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksGlossaryAgricultural weed – a plant that affects farmingHerbicide – a chemical used to manage weedsAquatic plants – plants that grow in salt orfreshwater bodiesIndigenous plant – a plant that occurs naturallyin a given local areaBiodiversity – biological diversity or biodiversityrefers to the variety of plants, animals, fungiand micro-organisms on Earth, the diversityof genes within each species and thediversity of ecosystemsBiological control – a living organism used tomanage weedsBulbs/tubers/corms – plants which grow from abulb like organ that lies under the groundClimbers – plants that use tendrils or otherspecial plant parts to climb over other plantsor structures such as fences and wallsCommunity – a group of animals and plants thatlive and interact in a given area, e.g. awetland community, a coastal communityCreepers – plants that put out underground orabove ground runners that enable them tospread rapidly over the groundIntegrated weed management – combination ofdifferent types of weed control, based onwhat is most suited to a particular situationat a particular timeIntroduced plant – a plant grown outside itsnatural rangeManual weed control – use of hands or handheld implements to manage weedsMechanical weed control – use of machinery tomanage weedsNative plant – a plant that occurs naturally in anyarea of Australia; native plants can becomeweeds outside their natural rangeShrubs – woody plants usually between1 to 3 m highSpecies – a group of similar animals or plantsthat interbreed naturallyEcosystem – the interaction of communities andthe physical environmentEnvironmental weed – a plant that invades andaffects natural areasGrasses and herbs – small plants that do notform woody stemsTrees – woody plants usually over 3 m highWeed – a plant that grows in the wrong placeWeed control by environmental management –using methods to manipulate theenvironment in order to discourage weeds(e.g. fire, competition from other plants)Habitat – the area in which an organism lives thatcontains all the resources it needs to surviveincluding food, water, space, light, shelter72www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbusterCertificateDateThis is to certify that___________________________________________has helped in reducing the menaceof weeds to Australia and is nowan official Weedbuster

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksResourcesUseful resourcesAustralia wide, there is an enormousamount of material about weeds.These include books, pamphlets,posters, videos and websites.Many local councils and otherregional agencies produce weedpamphlets for their area.For information on weeds in yourarea, contact a local weed expertwho will be able to provide orsuggest materials that suit yourneeds. Local weed experts can befound in local government or Stategovernment departments ofAgriculture, Environment or NaturalResources. Landcare, Bushcare,Coast Care and Greening Australiapersonnel will also be able to assistwith weed information inquiries.Of course, your state or territoryWeedbuster Coordinator will alsobe happy to help.WebsitesThe following websites contain useful and interesting information about weeds:Gould League: www.gould.edu.auWeedbuster Week: www.weedbusterweek.info.auNational Weeds Strategy: www.weeds.org.auCRC for Weed Management Systems: www.waite.adelaide.edu.au/CRCWMSCSIRO: www.csiro.auAustralian National Herbarium: www.anbg.gov.au/anbg/anh.intro.htmlEnvironment Australia: www.environment.gov.auLandcare: www.dpie.gov.au/agfor/landcare/nlp.htmlSandy’s Links Page: www.agric.wa.gov.au/progserv/Plants/weeds/Weedsci.htmInformation about Australian Weeds at Weeds Australia Search: www.weeds.org.au74www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksNotes75www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

WeedbustersActivities, Information and Curriculum LinksNotes76www.gould.edu.auwww.weeds.org.au

For many people, weeds may seem anunlikely issue for classroom focus –after all, just how interesting canyour average weed be? Let us inspireyou to become more weed-awareas a school community, exploring thewonders of weeds.Weeds are a fascinating and excitingteaching resource waiting to be exploredin your schoolground and beyond.This activity book will have your studentsdiscovering the fascinating interactionsof weeds with the environment andthe long-term sustainability of our naturalresources. “Weedbusters” is full ofenticing activities that will engage yourstudents. The many activities achieve a widerange of learning outcomes from most KLAs.Weeds have never been so much fun.Activities, Information and Curriculum Links

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