Aquatic Invasive Species Education Project

Each year, billions of dollars and millions of hours are spent dealing with invasive species around the globe. Invasive species, by definition, are non-native species that cause economic, environmental, and/or human health related harm. Invasive species can be plants, animals, and/or pathogens like West Nile Virus. These species typically grow and reproduce rapidly and often lack predators and pathogens in their introduced environments, allowing their populations to explode. Historic invasive species like Chestnut Blight and Smallpox have shaped our landscapes today while others have just begun to impact our environment.

Blue Catfish, courtesy of Chesapeake Bay programInvasive species management can be costly and time consuming. However, proper education on invasive species can prevent invasions from occurring in the first place. Strong education and outreach efforts can increase public awareness while also promoting prevention.

Due to the need for comprehensive invasive species education, this toolkit was developed to tell the story of invasive species in the eastern United States through 5 distinct modules:

  1. History of Invasive Species
  2. Introduction and Spread of Invasive Species
  3. Impacts to Natural Areas
  4. Impacts to Students’ Lives
  5. Student and Community Action

The goal of this project is to raise awareness about invasive species and to turn that awareness into action to prevent and to manage current and future invasions. The project consists of lesson plans and corresponding hands-on items designed to teach the story about invasive species. Each lesson plan has been aligned with Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core Standards, and Maryland Environmental Literacy Standards. Lesson plans in each module include activities for Grades 3-12. To learn more about each module, click the corresponding module link below. If you would like access to download the project, please email Trystan Sill:​

History of Invasice Species ButtonIntroduction  and Spread of Invasive Species ButtonImpacts to Natural Areas Button
Impacts to Students’ Lives Button Student and Community Action Button Button Links to Aquatic Invasive Species Education Kit webpage

In addition to the lesson plans, 16 education kits were developed and distributed across the Mid-Atlantic to use for teaching about aquatic invasive species. The kits contain copies of the lesson plans, activity components, and hands-on teaching items. To learn more about the education kits and how to borrow them, please click the link below.




This project was a result of multiple people coming together to write, test, edit, and compose. A list of those responsible for the project can be found here. This project was generously funded by the Mid-Atlantic Panel on Aquatic Invasive Species (SA7528131-C) and was completed by staff with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

For additional information and questions, please contact:

Edwin Guevara​​​