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Script 61.8

Notes to broadcasters

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This program is part of a series of scripts in this package involving the characters Philip (Program Host) and Dr. Compost (Peter Composter). Philip is from the city. He has a weak stomach and is sceptical about farming methods. Dr. Compost is from the countryside but has a university education in agriculture. He puts science on a pedestal, but remains true to his farming roots. The dialogue between Philip and Dr. Compost is meant to be humorous and friendly.

Wild animals that eat crops can cause significant crop losses. There are simple techniques to protect crops from animals and pests that do not require a lot of work and are easy to maintain. Sometimes it just takes a few adjustments to a traditional method to make it more effective.

Ask members of your audience for their stories and ideas about protecting crops from animals. Invite them to your studio or, if possible, make some field visits to see audience ideas in action.

Script

Characters

Philip Kwan:
A city radio host
Dr. Compost, Ph.D
(Peter Composter): Agricultural specialist in his 70s, somewhat forgetful. He has a farming background but with a university education. His problem is that, sometimes, he digresses from the topic. Nevertheless, the information he provides is always interesting, useful and practical.
Kapele (Caller #1):
Woman farmer

INTRODUCE THEME MUSIC AND FADE OUT (10 seconds)

Philip
-Good day, dear listeners. Our guest today is Dr. Peter Composter, an agricultural specialist known to many of you as “Dr. Compost.” Today, we are going to take phone calls and Dr. Compost will answer questions from our listeners.

Dr. Compost
-Did I ever tell you about the origin of my name, Composter…? It all started when…

Philip
(interrupts)Yes. Now, why don’t we start right away with our first caller. Are you there? Hello?

Caller #1
– Hello. Thank you for taking my call. In our village, by the river, we have so many kinds of birds: parrots, blackbirds…

Philip
(interrupting)Sorry, what is your name, please?

Caller #1
-Kapele.

Philip
-What is your problem with the birds, Kapele?

Caller #1
-They are eating the seeds in my garden! I have a scarecrow, and it is a big one, very scary, too. But it doesn’t seem to work.

Dr. Compost
– Hmmm. Tell me something. When the wind blows, does your scarecrow move at all?

Caller #1
-No.

Dr. Compost
– Then I know how to solve your problem. You see the birds think that your scarecrow is dead because it is not moving, not even when the wind blows.

Caller #1
– Aha! I understand…

Dr. Compost
– I have a suggestion. Why don’t you get rid of all the junk and hay you used to stuff your scarecrow, and leave just an empty shirt flapping around? It will not take much of a breeze for that shirt to start moving around because you can hang it from a tree – 2 metres above the ground – on a piece of firm string. You can either put the shirt on a hanger, or, if hangers are in short supply, Kapele, here is what you can do. Tie a string to the middle of a stick. Hang the stick horizontally so it looks like your shoulders. Hang the shirt on the stick.

Caller #1
-What kind of shirt do you recommend, long-sleeve or short sleeve?

Dr. Compost
– It doesn’t matter. As long as it is one of your old shirts… or one of your neighbour’s shirts(laughs)

Philip
(annoyed)Peter…

Dr. Compost
– But note a few things now. You must not use just one shirt but a few. And all of them should be a different colour. And be sure to button up the shirt.

Caller #1
-What if the shirt doesn’t have buttons?

Dr. Compost
– Not a problem. As long as the front is fastened and the shirt does not get caught in the tree branches, your scarecrow will work.
Philip: Paul is on the other line. He wants to know what to do if he doesn’t have any trees in his garden?

Dr. Compost
– You can place a long stick or pole in the middle of your garden on an angle, slanting a little. That way, when you attach the shirt to the string, it will be hanging free from the top. There is another way you can do it, too. Place two tall poles, one on each side of the garden, stretch a long string between them, and tie the shirts to this string. And Paul, if I were you, I would hang the shirts up just about the time that the birds start thinking about attacking your crop. This way, the birds don’t get a chance to get accustomed to your swinging shirts, and to realize that they are not real people.

Philip
-Peter, we have a 12-year-old boy on the line who says he wants to participate in scaring birds. Dominic says he will be a better help than any old shirt if he uses his slingshot on the birds.

Dr. Compost
– Dominic, I will advise you to do what my nephew does when he gets bored. He takes a bamboo cane and splits it on one end – to about halfway down the cane. He sticks it in the ground with the split end facing upwards at a spot where the birds are of particular nuisance. A long string is tied to one half of the split cane. Adam hides in the bushes and, upon pulling and releasing the string, he produces a loud sound as the two split halves slap together. That scares the heck out of the birds. Dominic, this is a better way of scaring the birds than using slingshots.

Philip
-On that note, I would like to thank all of our participants today. A big thanks to Dr. Compost who is generously volunteering his time for our program.

Dr. Compost
– My pleasure.

BRING UP THEME MUSIC AND FADE OUT

Acknowledgements

Adapted by Sunny Ray, Toronto, and Belinda Bruce, Vancouver, Canada, from Farm Radio Network script 12-10, Preventing bird damage in garden crops, 1986, and script 23-6, Make a bird scarer, 1991.

Reviewed by Vigneswaran Theivendaram, Agricultural Specialist, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.