Air Date: Week of December 10, 1999
This week, facts about the boll (bole) weevil. Eighty years ago a monument to the insect was erected in Enterprise, Alabama, but most folks still regard it as a pest.
CURWOOD: It's Living on Earth. I'm Steve Curwood
(Music up and under: "Dixie Land")
CURWOOD: Eighty years ago this week, in Enterprise, Alabama, folks dedicated a monument to an insect. That's right. About 5,000 people were on hand for the unveiling of the twelve-foot statue which features a woman in a flowing gown proudly displaying, in her uplifted hands, a beetle with a long snout, otherwise known as the boll weevil. The monument's inscription reads, "In profound appreciation of the boll weevil, and what it has done as the herald of prosperity." The prosperity was the result of the weevil's work, after the critters destroyed almost 40 percent of cotton crops across the South. Farmers in Enterprise reacted by planting other crops, like peanuts, and raising cattle. The diversification led to an agricultural boom. But not many folks outside Enterprise, Alabama, see the bright side of boll weevils, and the war against the arthropod is still being waged. In a recent publication of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a section on eradicating the pest is called, "Deliver Us From Weevil." And with help from Carl Sandburg, that's this week's Living on Earth Almanac.
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