Make a Positive Environmental Impact for Invasive Species Awareness Week!

National Invasive Species Awareness Week runs from February 26th to March 1st.

Each year, this week-long environmentalist initiative helps raise awareness about invasive species, the impacts they have on our ecosystems and environments, and ways scientists, governments, and citizens across the world can help prevent their spread.

Invasive species can be non-native plants, animals or insects that have been introduced to an environment, ultimately causing ecological damage to habitats and other species. They can also be native species that become harmful to their own environment due to human impacts on their food web or habitat. Locally, invasive species can be found in the mountains, lakes, rivers, forests and even residential communities of the Adirondacks. These invaders include aquatic animals like the Round Goby fish, insects such as Emerald Ash Borers and Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, and plants like Hydrilla.

Educating ourselves and creating actionable plans to help prevent and reduce the harm invasive species cause is an important part of being a good environmental steward. From cleaning, draining, and drying our boats to keeping our hiking boots and fishing gear clean between uses, or taking part in surveys to report invasive plants and insects in the wild, we can all be part of the solution.

Learn about invasive species across the Adirondacks, New York State, and the nation using the classroom-ready resources, videos, and activities featured below. Then check out our list of local ecological & conservation organizations to see how you can get involved!

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Learn About Invasive Species

Invasive Species and Non-Standard Measurement

Grades K-2
Students learn about invasive species and the basic needs of plants in this STEM activity from Cyberchase. In the accompanying activity, they use non-standard measures and demonstrate their understanding of plants’ needs and invasive species.

Green Invaders! | Spot on Science

Grades 3-8
In this Spot on Science, Dr. Emily Rauschert, Assistant Professor of Plant Ecology at Cleveland State University, explains the qualities of invasive plants and how they are harmful to other plants, ecosystems, humans, and the economy. She also shares samples of bush honeysuckle, phragmites (common reed), English ivy, and giant hogweed!

Plant Ecologist and Civil Engineer | Great Job!

Grades 6-8
Visit the uniquely beautiful Cuyahoga Valley National Park and follow Plant Ecologist Chris Davis as he works to rid the park of invasive plant species, and bring back vibrant native species to the park. Afterwards, we tag along with Janet Popielski, a Civil Engineer at the park, as she shows us her work on a natural – and nearly invisible – wastewater treatment plant.

Warming Climate and Invasive Species

Grades 6-12
This video examines the relationship between climate change and the spread of insects and plant diseases, especially as it relates to the Menominee Indian Tribe’s forest, located in northeast Wisconsin. Menominee descendants explain that as typical weather patterns are being interrupted, changes occur that threaten the growth of the forest that the Menominee manage for both current and future generations. 

Biological Invaders

Grades 9-12
Modern transportation is a major threat to many of the world’s native species—invasive organisms stow away in ballast water on ships, cargo, and airplane wheel wells. This video segment from Evolution: Extinction! features Hawaiʻi’s efforts to prevent the brown tree snake from emigrating from Guam. Domingo Cravalho and Lester Kaichi of the Department of Agriculture are featured, and scientist David Burney comments.

Activities, Games & More

Invaders! | Plum Landing

Grades K-5
Players identify and remove invasive species from ecosystems around the world, in this interactive game from Plum Landing. But they must act quickly, before the invasive species use up all the resources!

NY iMapInvasives Tool

Grades 6-12
NY iMapInvasives is an online, collaborative, GIS-based database and mapping tool that serves as the official invasive species database for New York State. View a public map, create an account, and start reporting invasive species near you!

Building A Biodiversity Timeline

Grades 9-12
Identify and evaluate solutions for reducing human impacts on the environment and biodiversity in this interactive lesson and corresponding interdisciplinary research activity from WGBH. As you create your own timeline, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of humans and the environment and the impact human activities can have on biodiversity.

Lesson plan – Invent your own device to battle invasive species | PBS NewsHour

Grades 9-12
Stunning fish who were once kept as pets are destroying Florida’s coral reef ecosystem. In this PBS NewsHour lesson plan, students will learn how scientists are using a new invention, a lionfish zapping robot, to combat this harmful invasive species. Students will learn about the invention process and design their own invention to help deal with invasive species in their communities.

Statewide Stories: Impacts & Solutions to Invasive Species

What are Invasive Species? | Uninvited: The Spread of Invasive Species

Grades 6-8
Discover what happens when invasive species are introduced to local ecosystems that lack the natural controls to combat them. Check and bolster student understanding of invasive species with a video excerpt, cloze activity, and time-stamped answer key. Expand student learning with an optional research activity and online resource page. Educators can connect this lesson to topics focused on invasive species found in New York State utilizing additional background reading and linked resources from statewide agencies.

Invasive Species: The Round Goby | Mountain Lake Journal

Grades 6-12
There’s growing concern that an invasive fish, the round goby, is getting closer and closer to an important lake in upstate New York. In this resource, we discuss the threat an invasive species like the round goby could pose to Lake Champlain’s ecosystem, the economy of the surrounding area, and how environmental groups believe the State of New York should address this issue.

Investigating Invasive Species Impact on Algae Blooms | Bloom

Grades 6-12
Explore the origins and impact of Zebra and Quagga Mussels in the Finger Lakes. These invasive mussels, originating from Europe, might be altering the lakes’ chemistry. While they are suspected of contributing to Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), scientists say conclusive evidence is still pending and ongoing research required to fully understand mussels’ role.

Balancing Harvest and Habitat: Sustainable Forest Management | Mountain Lake Journal

Grades 6-12
Join us as we visit a white pine tree stand in upstate New York and speak to Professor René Germain, an expert in the management of natural resources. Follow along to learn about how foresters go about harvesting lumber sustainably and how invasive species, like the white pine weevil, could be the true threat to our forests.

Local Ecological & Conservation Organizations

Lake Champlain Basin Program 

The Lake Champlain Basin Program coordinates and funds efforts that benefit the Lake Champlain Basin’s water quality, fisheries, wetlands, wildlife, recreation, and cultural resources, in partnership with government agencies, private organizations, local communities, and individuals.

The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy is a global environmental nonprofit working to create a world where people and nature can thrive. Through their work they focus on innovative solutions to climate change, protecting and restoring forest, and helping communities build resilience. The Nature Conservancy has a local chapter in New York State focused on initiatives across the Adirondacks, Central and Western New York, and the New York Metro area.

Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program

Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) is housed under the Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. APIPP works with a dedicated network of over 30 cooperating organizations and hundreds of volunteers to minimize the impact of invasive species on the Adirondack region’s communities, lands, and waters. APIPP leads research, management, and community skill-building around invasive species affecting the Adirondack region.

The Adirondack Council

The Adirondack Council is focused on the protection of the Adirondack Park though research, education, advocacy and policy with a mission to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park. To protect the Adirondacks, the Council uses the best science, the law, and an understanding of political decision making, to educate, inform and motivate the public and those who make public policy.