Sena describes her project that she led for 26 students…”This fall my class inventoried invertebrates in the stream on our school property. We plan to add the information to the stream web site in the next month. We then studied the New Zealand mudsnail, knowing it has been found in rivers in our county. The kids then made posters explaining what the snail is, where it is found and why it creates problems when it is in a watershed”.
“The students wrote about the species for the posters we made. Having their writing be for a real purpose and knowing it would be displayed in the community resulted in more motivation and a better end product. The very dry section of our science textbook on habitats, adaptation, food chains/webs and classification of animals came alive when we went to the stream and later talked about all of those concepts in the context of the New Zealand mudsnail. The kids were fascinated by this little creature that could cause such big problems and many of the “pieces” we had learned about became parts of a much bigger mental picture”.
Sena hopes that educating the next generation about invasive species will impact the community in a positive way. Currently, the posters work towards the fight against the New Zealand mud snail in the local watershed and children are most likely spreading the information to their parents.
Sena plans to continue conduct a yearly invertebrate survey of our creek and post the results on stream web. The class will also incorporate invasive species into the classroom life science unit.