Plant and Pest Questions Addressed in Creative YouTube Series

Entomologists and plant specialists get creative as they answer questions about pests and plants

July 14, 2023, 9:18 am | Chris Kick

AMES, Iowa – Building off his fame as a poet of plant science, Sebastian E. Bartholomew is now hosting his own YouTube show.

“The Undergrowth,” recorded by the Integrated Pest Management team with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, features plant and insect experts at Iowa State, in conversation with Sebastian Bartholomew, aka Adam Sisson, an industry extension specialist with the IPM program.

“Sebastian asks silly questions about insects, interspersed with serious questions, to create sort of a melding of the educational and the ridiculous together,” said Sisson. “He is a humorous character, and his humor helps make the topics he discusses more interesting and palatable.”

Video preview image.Sebastian’s first episode features a conversation with Zach Schumm, an insect diagnostician with the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic at Iowa State, talking about insect identification, behavior and management.

The second episode features Ashley Dean, education extension specialist in entomology with ISU Extension and Outreach, discussing a statewide insect monitoring effort designed to alert farmers about crop pests.

Additional episodes are also planned, featuring Erin Hodgson, professor in entomology and extension specialist in entomology at Iowa State, and Chelsea Harbach, plant disease diagnostician with the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic.

The videos are professionally filmed by Brandon Kleinke, media production specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach, and shared on Instagram by Joey Cornelis, program assistant with the IPM program. Keaton Hewitt, IPM program illustrator, provides artwork.

Although Sebastian hopes to grow his YouTube show, he is still actively promoting his poetry, with a second season of poems expected in the near future.

Sebastian recently won two awards for communication efforts focused on his poetry – issued by the National Association for County Agricultural Agents. He was recognized, along with his collaborators, for an online book called “At Field’s End: The Pictures and Poetry of Plant Disease,” as well as his “Phytopoety Video Series.”

Iowa State IPM videos are available on the IPM YouTube channel. Subscribe today, so you don’t miss out on an upcoming episode.

Other IPM related programs, projects and information can be found at Iowa State’s Integrated Pest Management website.

For more information, Adam Sisson can be reached at

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