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Plant Wars: Invaders of the Lost Park

Originally appears in the Fall 2014 issue

Picture this: a yellow school bus rolls up to your local park, and out rolls a group of students.  The first words out of one boy’s mouth: “Is that the Creeping Thistle?!  When do we get to pull it out?  Is there Ox-eyed Daisy here?  We can help pull it out too!”  A young girl exclaims, “We learned all about invasive plants in the Plant Wars show and they said that we actually get to help get rid of some!”

Perhaps you have a strong invasive species education program and want to see it expand its reach. Or maybe you have an enthusiastic drama class and want them to try some educational theatre.

In the winter and spring of 2012, our provincial parks agency and municipal Invasive Species program brought these two interests together by partnering with a high school drama class to learn and deliver invasive species interpretive programs to local elementary schools. This partnership allowed us to create strong stewards in our high school students, reach over 1350 elementary students, and engage the community in invasive species education and eradication.

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Daniella Rubeling is passionate about community engagement, parks and the natural world.  With a Bachelor’s in Animal Biology, a Masters in Environmental Education and Communication, and 14 years of experience in interpretation, she currently works as the Interpretive Supervisor for Alberta Parks in the Kananaskis Region.

Reprinted from Teaching about Invasive Species