Through a project using Google Maps, students learn a new way to interact with information
Brian Schutte, assistant professor of weed physiology in the Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Weed Science, is incorporating a more modern and interactive approach into one of his introductory courses. He created a pest database using Google Maps.
"The objective for this course is for students to observe and study weeds, pests and plant diseases in different agricultural environments," Schutte said.
Students taking the EPPWS 100L course last semester took several field trips, covering areas east of "A" Mountain all the way to the NMSU Leyendecker Plant Science Center. The areas covered were chosen for their diversity; some included chile or cotton fields. Others were selected because they are very particular to southern New Mexico with crops such as pecans or alfalfa or rangeland environments.
The Google Maps database shows fine details of pests around campus. Users can zoom into a specific area and click to see a photo and a summary report on a particular pest. At the end of the semester, students edited the map, adding information about the pest biology and management.
"When we post things online, we post them to the map, so we get to see where many species are and it helps us correlate with different areas," said Sara Kelley, who is majoring in agricultural biology. "I've learned a lot of the differences about ways to manage pests that is easier on the environment."
Schutte said using this interactive tool provides students with a better idea of the different environments in the area that require pest management and shows them the importance of pest management.