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Free invasive plants tool kit for teachers

by Beverly James, University of Florida IFAS

Science and agriculture teachers across the nation now have a new tool to teach students about invasive plants, thanks to researchers with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

The Florida Invasive Plant Education Initiative at the UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants (CAIP) has partnered with The Aquatic Plant Management Society (APMS) to produce a 16- minute video presentation, “Silent Invaders,” for teachers to introduce students to the concepts of invasive aquatic plants and their management with examples from across the United States. “Silent Invaders” provides a basic introduction to invasive plants, along with the key concepts of aquatic versus terrestrial and also native, non-native and invasive plant species, said Dehlia Albrecht, UF’s Florida Invasive Plant Education Initiative coordinator.

“Students will learn how some invasive plants spread, and how they are impacting waterways, lakes, rivers, wetlands and natural areas such as parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands,” Albrecht said. “The video ends with positive actions one can take to help prevent the spread of invasive plants in our own neighborhoods,” she said.

In addition, there is a Teacher’s Guide, Teaching Points, Keyword Chart and Definitions, and Guiding Questions (along with an answer key) suitable for upper elementary, middle school and high school students, Albrecht said. These tools align with Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core Standards, she said.

The video and supporting documents can be found at http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/education/silentinvaders.shtml.

The Florida Invasive Plant Education Initiative offers more than 70 lesson plans and activities, and other educational resources for teachers and informal educators. The tools are available at http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/education/.

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