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GLIN==> Environmental Education



Posted on behalf of Irene Miles <miles@uiuc.edu>

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Beware! Invaders! ESCAPE Offers Break from Classroom Routine
www.iisgcp.org/edu

This week's lesson asks the question, Can There Be Too Much of Something
Pretty? Next week, the focus might be Don't Stop for Hitchhikers! or maybe
Interview with a Vampire.

Game boards, rap music, art, puzzles and experiments are just a few of the
fun and informative activities created for K-12 classrooms in the new Sea
Grant teacher compendium that focuses on the impact of invasive non-native
species in aquatic environments.

Non-native (or exotic) species can have devastating affects on ecosystems
when their populations grow in numbers and begin to displace native species.
Some have caused serious economic problems.

"ESCAPE, short for the Exotic Species Compendium of Activities to Protect
the Ecosystem, is part of our overall campaign to teach youth about exotic
species issues and help them explore ways to solve these real world
problems, said Robin Goettel, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant communications
coordinator.

The collection is comprised of 36 hands-on multi-disciplinary activities,
each providing a lesson on aquatic nuisance species, but with a dose of fun.
"Playing a game is a good way to sneak up on kids with learning," said Sarah
Leach, a teacher in Mendota Heights, Minnesota, about one of ESCAPE's board
games, Beat the Barriers. "The kids enjoyed the activity and learned quite a
bit about the organisms involved, and about human interactions with
ecosystems."

The activities were first developed in 1998 by 125 teachers that attended
exotic species day camps, held in five Great Lakes states.  These camps
provided teachers the opportunity to see exotic species in their natural
settings and to learn the latest scientific findings.

>From there, the activities were reviewed by both scientists and educators in
agencies and academic institutions throughout the United States. The
activities have also been pilot tested in 39 states. They meet National
Science Standards.

"We received outstanding feedback from teachers. The revisions made in
response to this thorough evaluation have helped us develop a well-rounded,
easy-to-follow collection of activities," said Valerie Eichman,
Illinois-Indiana education project assistant.

"One of the most useful features of the compendium is that in a clearly
labeled file folder, we have provided pages of information that are easy to
duplicate for class hand-outs," said Eichman, who is a former grade school
teacher.

In addition to fact sheets and activity instructions, the compendium
contains a CD with rap and folk music, video tapes, a color poster of the
Great Lakes and a box of zebra mussel shells. Zebra mussels are a source of
ecological and economic problems in many freshwater bodies.

"We feel we are providing an avenue for teachers to spark student interest
in exotic species issues, teach basic skills, and present academic topics in
a new way. Any of the ESCAPE activities can be incorporated into established
lesson plans or used on their own," said Goettel.

If you are interested in learning more about the compendium or the many
other Sea Grant educational products, visit the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
Web site at www.iisgcp.org/edu. Click on the ESCAPE icon to see sample
activities or to order the compendium. The cost is $58 plus shipping. A
laminated color version of ESCAPE's two game boards costs $10. The special
game boards purchased together with the compendium is available at a reduced
price of $65. If you have questions, contact Eichman at (217) 244-8809 or
email eichman@.uiuc.edu

The Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program produced ESCAPE in
partnership with Michigan, Minnesota, New York and Ohio Sea Grant Programs
through a National Sea Grant College Program Strategic Initiatives Grant.

--30--

The Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program is one of 30 National Sea
Grant College Programs.  Created by Congress in 1966, Sea Grant combines
university, government, business and industry expertise to address coastal
and Great Lakes needs.  Funding is provided by the National Oceanic
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U. S. Department of Commerce, Purdue
University at West Lafayette, Indiana, and the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign.



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