April 11, 2012

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Outreach team reaches hundreds at National Science Teacher Association Conference

AIS Specialist Sarah Zack, AIS Assistant Danielle Hilbrich, IISG Associate Director for Education Robin Goettel, and Education Specialist Terri Hallesy, attended the National Science Teacher Association’s 2012 Conference March 29-31, and got a tremendous response to the educational resources, tips, and information they offered to the many teachers in attendance.
Danielle said “Our table was located in the NOAA booth on a very busy corner in their ecosystem section and had an extensive amount of traffic throughout the conference. Our outreach materials included the brand new “Don’t Let It Loose” poster, which promotes the safe disposal of classroom organisms.”

The “Don’t Let It Loose” poster contains helpful information for teachers about properly disposing of any unwanted classroom organisms. In addition, smaller “tip-card” versions of the poster were available, as well as an adoption pledge containing care tips for students and their families to use when adopting a classroom organism. The highlight of the table was the specimens available for teachers to look at, including a zebra mussel-encrusted shoe, which was a great catalyst to engage teachers in conservation about invasive species.

“We had a fabulous turnout of over 5,000 classroom teachers and informal educators at the NOAA-Ecosystems booth,” said Robin Goettel, “which featured our outreach and education resources on Great Lakes aquatic invasive species and marine invaders.”

Visitors learned about how the “Nab the Aquatic Invader” website can be used as an excellent learning tool for grades 4-10, and how the GLRI “Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers” education and outreach initiative informs people what they can do to prevent the spread of aquatic “hitchhikers.” They also distributed brochures on Great Lakes Literacy principles, and CD-ROM copies of the COSEE/Sea Grant “Fresh and Salt” curriculum on important Great Lakes and marine issues.

The response and turnout for the event were fantastic, and the event was instrumental in helping spread the word about these important issues and initiatives. The booth at the conference would not have been possible without the invitation from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, and information and products provided and developed by U.S. EPA’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and NOAA Sea Grant’s Aquatic Invasive Species Program.

The Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant AIS outreach team is part of the Illinois Natural History Survey's Lake Michigan Biological Station in Zion.

See also: IISG educators and specialists got the chance to reach hundreds of teachers at the National Science Teachers Associate 2012 Conference 

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