Invasive Species Prevention and Awareness Starts in the Classroom

Invasive Species Prevention and Awareness Starts in the Classroom

Curriculum is a powerful tool to help reach students along with family and friends

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (September 30, 2021) Wyoming Weed and Pest Council has partnered with the Wyoming Alliance for Environmental Education to develop a comprehensive invasive species curriculum for first to fifth-grade students. A series of three, interconnected lessons have been developed for each grade level. The lessons are highly interactive, grade-level appropriate and develop progressively higher levels of understanding about invasive species while addressing relevant Wyoming State Science Standards.

“Education is one of the most important tools we have to prevent the spread of invasive species,” said Meta Dittmer, communication and education program coordinator for the Teton County Weed and Pest District. “We want to reach kids at an early age to encourage a lifetime of stewardship and to encourage them to share what they’ve learned with family and friends – the feedback we have received from teachers has been overwhelmingly positive.”

The program makes it easy for teachers to incorporate invasive species curriculum into their lesson plans throughout the year. The lesson plans are designed to teach students about the negative impact of invasive species in a way that is fun, interactive and highly educational.  

The program is currently in its fifth year and has reached more than 2,000 students at schools throughout Teton County, including an immersion school where the program is taught in both English and Spanish. The invasive species curriculum aligns with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and other relevant education standards such as Math and Language Arts.

With success comes an opportunity for the program to grow and expand its curriculum. Efforts are underway to weave a series of lessons about aquatic invasive species into Trout Unlimited’s existing programming. The series is designed for 7th graders and will be delivered over the course of the school year.

In addition, a program is being developed in partnership with The National Elk Refuge and Teton Conservation District that is more field-based and involves ecological restoration and long-term monitoring.

To learn more about the invasive species education for classrooms, visit wyoweed.org and click on the Resources button.

Wyoming Weed and Pest Council

Wyoming Weed and Pest Council (WWPC) is comprised of 23 Weed and Pest Districts in the state of Wyoming. The Council works closely with the Wyoming Department of Agriculture and the University of Wyoming to keep current with the latest technology and research available in the ongoing management of noxious weeds and pests. The overall mission is to provide unified support and leadership for integrated management of noxious weeds and pests to protect economic and ecological resources in the state. For more information about Wyoming Weed and Pest Council, visit wyoweed.org and follow on Facebook and Twitter . And to learn more about what you can do to help stop the spread of invasive weeds and species, visit PlayCleanGo.org.