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2013 Invasive Species Awareness Month Teacher Toolkit

Protect the Places Where You Play - Keep Invasives Out!

purple loosestrife

Invasive species are plants and animals that have been brought into a new area and take over native ecosystems. Examples in Wisconsin are purple loosestrife, garlic mustard, gypsy moth and zebra mussel. While species often move from one place to another over time, natural land barriers prevent widespread movement. Humans have changed these barriers. For example, organisms and seeds can be transported in a ship's ballast water, on clothing, and in cars or on boats as we move from one place to another. In some cases, species are introduced on purpose. Purple loosestrife was brought to the United States from Europe in the 1800s for use as a landscape plant. It dispersed from gardens to wetlands and has taken over some wetland areas. Non-native invasive species tend to out-compete native species for resources. They lack natural predators and parasites to control them since they didn't evolve in these new areas. They truly are invaders.

Use the following Teacher Toolkit to help your students learn about invasive species and how to keep them out of our forests, prairies, wetlands and lakes. Have them share what they’ve learned by participating in the 2013 Invasive Species Awareness Month Poster Contest- Protect the Places Where You Play - Keep Invasives Out! See contest rules.

Teacher Toolkit

zebra mussel

Here are a few activities that you can use to help your students learn more about invasives before they begin working on their poster.

Activity 1-Web of Life with Invasive Impacts (Adaptation to Ducks Unlimited Lesson) – Use this activity to teach students about how invasive species can impact wetlands and change the food web.

Activity 2-Ad-libbed Aliens - Students invent crazy plants as they put together new combinations of nouns, verbs and adjectives. They will be amazed when you introduce real plants that have adaptations as bizarre as the ones they have created.

Activity 3-Wildcard Invaders Activities - Check out the invasives activities in the Go Wild with Wildcards activity guides. Invasive wildcards can be obtained by emailing State which activities you need them for and how many students you have.

Activity 4-Using the web resources below, have students identify ways individuals, groups, or your community can help keep invasives out of our ecosystems.

Invasive Web Sites
Wisconsin’s Council on Invasive Species
Into the Outdoors-Derailing Aquatic Hitchhikers video
Invasives Photos
EEK! Invasives Page
DNR Invasives Prevention Page
DNR Invasives Page

Activity 5-Have students design a poster that effectively communicates one or more ways we can prevent invasive species from taking over our native habitats and protect the places where we play.

Examples of Common Invaders:


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