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Invasive Species: You’re Not Welcome Here!

Originally appears in the Winter 2017 issue

LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING! Invasive species look beautiful, unique, and harmless and to too many, they look great in a garden or fish tank. They shouldn’t be fooled. Invasive species are non-native organisms that take over native habitats. They cause severe damaging effects to ecosystems of native plants and animals.

The following lesson plan will help third through fifth graders to distinguish between native versus invasive species. They will look at the impacts of invasive species on native ecosystems, and learn strategies to minimize those impacts. You can harness your students’ enthusiasm to protect endangered species by discussing ways in which people can help endangered animals through the removal or prevention of invasive species. At the conclusion of the lesson, the students will make their own public service announcement video about invasive species and explain what people can do to address this global biodiversity issue – and share it with the school.

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Amy Paul teaches 4th grade at CA Frost Environmental Science Academy in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She developed this unit as part of her graduate work with Project Dragonfly at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in conjunction with the Denver Zoo.

Notes
1. Mason, K., James, K., Carlson, K., & D’Angelo, J. (2010). The invasive plant species education guide. The Science Teacher, 77(4), 32-36.
2. Lampert, E. (2015). Invented invaders: An engaging activity to teach characteristics and control of invasive species. The American Biology Teacher, 77(1), 73-77.
3. Horan, R., Perrings, C., Lupi, F., & Bulte, E. (2002). Biological pollution prevention strategies under ignorance: The case of invasive species. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 84(5), 1303-1310.
4. Hopwood, J., Flowers, S., Seidler, K., & Hopwood, E. (2013). Race to displace: A game to model the effects of invasive species on plant communities. The American Biology Teacher, 75(3), 194-201.
5. Clavero, M. & Garcia-Berthou, E. (2005). Invasive species are a leading cause of animal extinctions. TRENDS in Ecology and Evolution, 20(3), 110.
6. Dextrase, A. & Mandrak, N. (2006). Impacts of alien invasive species on freshwater fauna at risk in Canada. Biological Invasions, 8, 13-24.
7. Lampert, E. (2015). Invented invaders: An engaging activity to teach characteristics and control of invasive species. The American Biology Teacher, 77(1), 73-77.
8. Dabb, M. & Flint, C. (2010). Public reaction to invasive plant species in a disturbed Colorado landscape. Invasive Plant Science and Management, 3, 390-401.
9. Lightbody, M. (2008). Investigating Invasives. The Science Teacher, 75(8), 56-60.
10. Stepien, C. (n.d.). Invasive Species Game. Retrieved March 23, 2015, from www.utoledo.edu/nsm/lec/gk12_grant/Invasive_Species_Game_.html
11. Gr8 Lakes Restoration (2011). Little things big problems: Invasive plants in our parks. Retrieved August 17, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=BHInIQrO3cA
12. Pennsylvania Wild Resource Conservation Program. (n.d.). Cosmo’s world: Invasive species. Retrieved March 20, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyvPxU6LUu0
13. Don’t Move Firewood.Org. (n.d.) You wouldn’t take rewood to Graceland. Retrieved March 22, 2015, from www.dontmovefirewood.org/videos/you-wouldnt-take-firewood-graceland.html
14. Don’t Move Firewood.Org. (n.d.) The interview. Retrieved March 22, 2015, from www.dontmove rewood.org/videos/interview.html
15. Invasive Species Specialist Group. (n.d.). Global invasive species database. Retrieved February 20, 2016, from www.issg.org/database/welcome/
16. Canadian Wildlife Federation. (2016). CWF: Invasive species terrestrial. Retrieved January 09, 2016, from www.cef-fcf.org/en/resources/encyclopedias/ invasive-species
17. Invasive Animals Limited. (2014). PestSmart. Retrieved March 03, 2016, from www.pestsmart.orgau/pest-animal-species.