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GLIN==> Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant News: Educational Web Site Tackles AIS Crime Wave



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
September 29, 2005
 
Source: Robin Goettel (217)333-9448; goettel@uiuc.edu
Helen Domske (716)645-3610; hmd4@cornell.edu
Angela Archer (765)496-3722; amcbride@purdue.edu
 
Educational Web Site Tackles AIS Crime Wave
 
URBANA - Major arrests are needed in the fight against invading aquatic plants and animals that have hitchhiked to U.S. waters and are now on the loose. Key detectives on the case are looking for kids in grades 4-10 who want to help book these ?bad guys? for their crimes against the environment.
 
Nab the Aquatic Invader! Be a Sea Grant Super Sleuth is a new educational Web site created by several Great Lakes Sea Grant programs that provides the latest information about aquatic invasive species (AIS) through colorful characters and a crime-solving theme. "In addition to being clever and fun, the site is rich with curriculum for teachers and creative educational activities for students and other online audiences," said Robin Goettel, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) education specialist.
 
"In creating this site, our goal was bridging the knowledge gap, connecting the abundant information available on AIS with teachers and students, and presenting it in an exciting and understandable way," said Helen Domske, New York Sea Grant education specialist. The site is part of the Sea Grant Nonindigenous Species Web site, which contains a wealth of AIS information.
 
The Web site homepage (http://www.sgnis.org/kids) introduces student investigators to five detectives, each focused on specific aspects of AIS criminal cases. For example, Detective Ecofriend is an expert on the environmental effects of AIS, while Detective Dollars and Sense investigates the economic impacts of these invaders. Each character is a fun and colorful cartoon.
 
The Meet the Suspects page illustrates the 10 Most Wanted, a variety of cartoon-like criminals, including Zeke "the Prowler" Zebra Mussel, Purple "Lucky" Loosestrife and Gabby "the Lowlife" Round Goby. Each suspect has been interrogated, and the transcripts provide student investigators with critical information for solving these cases. Crime solving involves taking part in quizzes, games, and other brain teasers that test the student investigator's knowledge about invasive species and their impacts.
 
The site, which has been pilot-tested, contains a wealth of background information on AIS for teachers and students in the form of Web links. "Resources for teachers on this site are just about countless," said Goettel. "They can find links to curriculum, videos, CDs, fact sheets, books, maps, posters, and more. These resources can complement a teacher's existing curriculum, for example, the subject of aquatic invasions fits in nicely with studies on habitats and ecosystems."
 
On the Kids' Secret Headquarters page, the site provides opportunities for interacting with scientists, displaying student-created projects, solving riddles and learning the latest invader news. "The site is designed to be very interactive with opportunities to strengthen and apply new knowledge, ask questions and share creativity," said Angela Archer, IISG Web specialist.
 
"We now have funding from the National Sea Grant College Program to expand the site and provide a broader perspective by adding invasive species from waters beyond the Great Lakes," said Domske. "Sea Grant programs in Oregon, Connecticut, and Louisiana will be adding marine invaders to the list of suspects. We will also enhance the educational content and incorporate more teacher-tested activities."
 
Teachers who would like to learn more about the Web site and the issues of AIS can attend a free Sea Grant workshop on October 27 at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago. The workshop, which runs from 1:00-5:30 p.m., will cover the Web site basics, as well as how teachers can apply the activities to their current curriculum and help develop new activities for the site. For more information, contact Terri Hallesy at (217)244-8809 or thallesy@uiuc.edu. To see the workshop flyer, visit http://www.sgnis.org/kids/NAIflyer0720-FINALpdf.pdf.
 
Until October 31, teachers are eligible to win prizes that include classroom supplies, books and education kits donated by several school supply companies and Sea Grant programs, by submitting their comments about the Web site. Visit http://www.sgnis.org/kids/contest.htm to find an entry form.

 
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The Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program is one of more than 32 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, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Purdue University at West Lafayette, Indiana.
 

Irene Miles
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
376 NSRC
1101 W. Peabody Dr.
Urbana, Il 61801
(217) 333-8055
FAX (217) 333-8046