Noxious Weed Views and Behaviors in Montana after 25 Years of Public Education
Mangold, Jane M.
Frame-Martin, Shantell A.
Raile, Eric D.
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In 1994, a general population survey was conducted to evaluate Montanans’ knowledge about noxious weeds, and results from that survey launched an ongoing statewide education campaign. In 2019, we conducted another general population survey to assess the views and behaviors of Montanans as they relate to noxious weeds and to identify new approaches for disseminating noxious weed information. We also asked questions to evaluate changes over the 25-yr period, although our ability to make direct comparisons is subject to limitations. We implemented a mail-based survey in March through May 2019. The response rate was 18%, with 830 responses from 4,582 valid mailing addresses. Just under half (48%) of respondents report “little” or “no” knowledge about noxious weeds, which would constitute a 19-point improvement since 1994. A large majority (68%) of respondents indicate that noxious weeds are a “serious” or “very serious” problem, and appreciation for the range of negative impacts associated with noxious weeds is considerable. Most respondents (61%) identify humans as contributing “a lot” to noxious weed spread, and respondents report that their behaviors to prevent the spread of noxious weeds have increased over time. While the 1994 respondents rated television, newspaper, and radio as the best ways to disseminate information about noxious weeds, respondents now also recognize methods such as websites and social media pages as effective. Our survey identifies a need for increased educational messaging for women and people in the 18 to 39 age group. Overall, our results indicate that individuals who have seen different forms of advertisements and have participated in educational programs are more likely to consider noxious weeds a serious problem and to engage in behaviors to stop their spread.
Mangold JM, Frame-Martin SA, and Raile ED (2021) Noxious weed views and behaviors in Montana after 25 years of public education. Invasive Plant Sci. Manag 14: 262–269. doi: 10.1017/inp.2021.35