Here in the Mealor lab, all of us are prepping for what is sure to be a crazy busy summer field season. Considering we’re already halfway through May, summer is bound to fly. There will be fence-building, seed-counting, grazing, clipping, weighing, measuring, rating and more. Just last week, we were building fences for a grazing project set to begin the first week of June. Because it is May in Laramie, Wyoming, the recent snow storm that put fence-building to a halt this week was not unexpected.
The sun is out now. The snow is melting. And we are all poised on the jittery brink of productivity, waiting for the pastures to dry enough to allow our vigorous efforts to continue. Is today the day we rush back into the field? Tomorrow? Is there one more snow storm on the horizon before summer begins? Hopefully, we have had our last snow storm for the summer so the calm before the storm of summer field work can end, and we can all stop holding our breath.
There is one guarantee for the Mealor lab when it comes to the summer field season, and this is TRAVEL. We travel all across Wyoming to help with each other’s research. It is definitely fun and interesting to explore the vast expanse of the state, but all of that time in a truck does get old. So I would like to tell a little story about a time this spring when we avoided some travel, knowing that lots and lots of it was right around the corner…
It was spring in Laramie, Wyoming.
A treacherous and snowy time.
If you haven’t picked it up yet,
Yes, this story’s told in rhyme.
The Cheatgrass Taskforce is a group of folks
From all across the state,
From different agencies and districts,
Discussing cheatgrass and its fate.
Its members were emailing back and forth
About a meeting long overdue.
But when should they have this meeting
And where should they travel to?
And then there came a suggestion,
Why travel somewhere far?
Why risk a snowy venture
When we can have a webinar?
In Brian Mealor’s outer office
Will Rose and I took our places.
We presented research one by one
To a screen instead of faces.
There were only minor glitches
So most were able to hear
And they typed their questions via chat
And we answered loud and clear.
The webinar was successful!
The information was received!
And we did not have to travel!
Brian, Will, and I were relieved!
If I’m being honest, I have never liked the idea of webinars. They have always seemed awkward to me, and I worry about technology failing and dealing with technical issues. And I would be lying if I said this webinar didn’t feel awkward. After all, I was sitting in front of a computer in a room by myself giving my presentation to a screen, knowing there were multiple people watching me (maybe even laughing at me in the privacy of their offices). But it was pretty great! We got the information out there. I even had people offer to share data and help with my research. And I didn’t have to go anywhere!
So the next time you are struggling with the decision of braving perilous roads to disseminate valuable information or scraping for every last opportunity to tie up loose ends in the office and enjoy home-cooked meals before a summer on the road, do not be afraid. Try a webinar!