Full- or half-day camps provide flexibility to do longer activities that link many concepts together. If you are designing a camp program, consider making "Wild and Wacky Invasive Species" a theme for a day, or a week. There are many possibilities, but here is one suggested program:

Classroom-based camp: "Wild and Wacky Invasive Species"

Day 1: Design the Ultimate Invader: Students use their imagination to design the ultimate invasive species. This activity is a perfect way to launch a unit on invaders, and can serve as an assessment tool to help us learn the knowledge of our learners toward invasive species and invasion biology.

Day 2: Where in the World: Students practice geographical skills to map the routes of invasive species from their native habitat to some of the regions to which the exotics have spread.

Day 3: Food Web Game: Discover how a food web works by making a live model, using the people in your class. Then explore how an invasive species disrupts that balance.

Day 4: PLOP! The Invasion Begins! Students play a fun board game to learn about impacts and prevention of the invasive bullfrog.

Day 5: Stewardship Tag Game: Students learn the value of stewardship in stopping the spread of invasive species in this active game similar to “freeze tag.”

Outdoor-based camp: "Alien Invader Patrol"

Day 1: Introduce your students to the concept of invasive species. Use the Stewardship Tag Game as a fun and active way to introduce students to the concept of invasives. Students learn the value of stewardship in stopping the spread of invasive species in this active game similar to “freeze tag.” Have students explore the natural surroundings observing the different charactierstics of the plants they see. (Leaf shape, leaf margins, flower color, etc.). Collect several invasive species present at your camp. Show the species to your students and explain that these plants can negatively impact the local ecosystems. Brainstorm how the species could have gotten to the camp site.

Day 2: Have students go on an invasive species bio blitz. Students adopt an area and identify species they find in that area. Create a project on the iNaturalist app to record and showcase the results.

Day 3: Students report back what they found. Lead a discussion regarding the possible implications and impacts to the outdoor school site. What would happen to the natural ecosystems if the invasive species were allowed to spread even further? What are some things students can do to prevent additional introductions and spread?

Day 4: Implement a student plan to address invasive species. This could be creating protocols for preventing classrooms from transporting invasive species to the site, or taking action to control or remove invasive species at the camp.

Day 5: Ask students to reflect on what they learned about invasive species and the actions they took. What additional actions could they take once returning to school? For example, report what they learned about invaders to their school, recommend strategies for preventing new introductions to the camp if the school will access it again next year, report the species they found to oregoninvasivehotline.org. For more ideas on stewardship projects, follow this link.

Do you plan to use these ideas? Please let us know.