Weedy education

A new interactive computer game challenges players to control an infestation of weeds on a farm by making a range of difficult financial and practical decisions.


The game, designed at The University of New England for the Cooperative Research Centre for Australian Weed Management (Weeds CRC), was launched at the University during National Science Week.


Called “Weed Wipeout”, the game was developed by Susanna Greig, who is based at UNE as the Educational Officer for the Weeds CRC.


And now, anyone can play the game at home, as it can be accessed free from the Weeds CRC’s Web site: www.weeds.crc.org.au.


“I wanted to develop an educational tool that was fun for students, and that helped them to learn about weeds and weed management without realising they were learning,” Greig explained.


UNE agronomist Associate Professor Brian Sindel said that some of his university students had tried out the game. “They benefited from it, were challenged by it, and appreciated the insights they gained,” he said.


He emphasised the magnitude of the challenge posed by weeds for Australian agriculture.


“Weeds cost the Australian economy $4 billion a year in lost production and weed-control expenses,” he said. “It’s critical to educate the general public about weeds, and the best way to do that is through the schools.”