Principal Investigator: Kerry Wixted, Wildlife and Heritage Service, Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Years Funded: 2012-2015
One of the most cost-effective ways of dealing with invasive species is to prevent invasions from ever occurring. This requires the general public having knowledge of invasive species and how to prevent the spread of these species. Unfortunately, public awareness of the different invasive species and how they spread is sporadic and generally low. To help increase public awareness, the research team developed toolkits with forty lesson plans for elementary, middle, and high school students. The lesson plans cover topics such as the historical context on invasive species, how invasive species are introduced and spread, impacts of invasive species to natural areas, impacts of invasive species to students’ lives, and student and community action projects to address problems with invasive species. Toolkits also include hands-on items such as laminated plants, pelts, and shells of invasive species.
Individual toolkits were developed and distributed to schools in Delaware, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington D.C., and West Virginia. Eight additional toolkits are available for rent free of charge in the state of Maryland. Additionally, all lesson plans are readily accessible online for those without access to a toolkit.
Publications: Electronic publication, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: An invasive species toolkit for educators
Photo: Banner showing comparison of size of blue catfish and snakehead with native Maryland species. Credit: USGS and Duane Raver