Study finds a new pathway for invasive species – science teachers
CORVALLIS, Ore. – A survey of teachers from the United States and Canada found that one out of four educators who used live animals as part of their science curriculum released the organisms into the wild after they were done using them in the classroom.
Yet only 10 percent of those teachers participated in a planned release program, increasing the likelihood that the well-intentioned practice of using live organisms as a teaching tool may be contributing to invasive species problems.
The study was presented today (Aug. 7) in Portland at the national meeting of the Ecological Society of America.
"Live organisms are a critical element for learning and we don't want to imply that they should not be used in the classroom," said Sam Chan, an Oregon State University invasive species expert and a principal investigator on the study. "But some of our schools – and the biological supply houses that provide their organisms – are creating a potential new pathway for non-native species to become invasive.