In my real life I work at Utah State University in the weed science research group. When I would tell people I was getting a degree in weed science, or even now when I tell people I work in weed science the conversation generally goes like this:
People: So, what do you? Are you in school, working?
Me: I work for the University.
People: Oh, nice. What do you do there?
Me: I work with the weed science group.
People: What kind of science?
Me: Weed science…we research weeds. You know, like those pesky plants that nobody likes? We figure out better ways to manage them.
People: Oh, right. Weed science. (nudge, wink)
(The next comment, at least around these parts is one of two options)
People: Well, you should come look at all the weeds in my yard!
People: So, what are you guys doing about dyer’s woad?
If they start to tell me about all the weeds in their yard, and if I really know the person, I may make a house call to identify what they have and let them know what they can do about it. But, in answer to the dyer’s woad question…well, unfortunately around here there are other species that have a higher priority for being managed; species that aren’t as widespread as dyer’s woad and that we have an actual chance at not only containing, but maybe even eradicating.
All hope is not lost with the dyer’s woad, though. And this weekend I’ll be fulfilling a lifelong dream (ok, maybe more like a weed science career long dream) by attending a workshop about how to use the dyer’s woad like it was intended – for dyeing things! I’ll be sure to tell you all about it – dyer’s woad and the dyeing workshop – early next week. In the meantime, check out this little news clip featuring a couple of the weed scientists I work with on a regular basis about why invasive species are such a problem and what we each can do about it.