Invasive Species By Marlaina Headley
Rationale Who: 6th graders What: Students will explore the dangers of invasive species by seeing population densities and effects on other populations. When: May 2011 Where: Central Park and Norwalk, Connecticut Why: Part of a unit on invasive species in which food chains, food webs, and ecosystems are explored. • The two essential questions of the unit are: • 1) What makes an introduced species invasive? • 2) Are humans an invasive species according to the population density and impact of human civilization on other species of our global ecosystem?
Trips There are 4 trips planned for this portion of the unit. These 4 trips will take place on 3 separate days.
Trip # 1: Central Park Zoo Program in the North Woods • Following lessons about ecosystems in symbiotic relationships in brief, students will be introduced to invasive species through this program. • A 95-acre forest designed in the image of the Adirondack forest with crystal streams, tumbling cascades, and the remnants of fortifications from the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Each session begins with a brief history of Central Park and the Conservancy and a lesson in forest ecology and invasive species. • This trip incorporates: • Social Studies: History of New York and Science! • After a tool safety demonstration, students spend the remainder of the time doing some hands-on ecological restoration by removing invasive species of plants. • 212-360-1439 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trip # 2: Central Park to run transect lines of Honeysuckle. • Follows practice in the school in which we run transect lines on inanimate objects. • Purpose: To build ability to run transect lines outdoors.
Trip # 3: Norwalk, Connecticut Maritime Aquarium. • $7.75/student. Every 7 students get one free adult. Additional adults $9.25/person. • 9:30am Program: Invasive Species [$110 for 1 45-min program (Total: $400)]: Students learn more about ecosystems and positive and negative impacts. • Students will take part in fun hands-on activities while exploring the environmental impacts of invasive species that can now be found in Long Island Sound. • Students will learn what they can do to prevent further spreading of exotic species. • Program has live animals that are invasive: zebra mussels and Japanese shore crabs.
Trip # 4: Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk, Connecticut • 15 minutes from the aquarium • Rocky shoreline in which “thousands of Japanese shore crabs” can be found if you life rocks. • Students will run transect lines on the beach as practiced in previous times. • Different groups will run lines on different areas of the beach with adult supervision.
Final Project: Invasive Species Fair • Who: Central Park officials from the youth program have agreed to judge a fair in which we display data about invasive species. • What: Students will collect their data on the beach and make their calculations once we have returned to school. They will also be responsible for background research about the species, the area (Long Island Sound), observed effects on the ecosystem, this type of population assessment, and next steps. • Displayed on a poster board or powerpoint.