Thumbs up to Austin kids practicing their invasive hunter moves!
Happy New Year!
I had a great Christmas break and started my sophomore spring semester this month. I’ve been studying the Renaissance in World History, listening to the audiobook of All Quiet on the Western Front in English, performing Chemistry labs to measure reactants and products, and having a lot of fun times in high school.
Invasive Hunter Academy at the Austin Camp Fire Nature Celebration
Getting ready for young Austin naturalists before the event.
In November, I brought my Invasive Hunter Academy to the Camp Fire Nature Celebration at Mueller Park in Austin, Texas.
As part of the academy, kids learn about invasive species through fun activities, including playing a flashcard game, practicing action moves, and creating a diorama where their character battles an invasive species.
The action diorama craft was very popular. I helped some of the younger kids glue cut out pictures of their invasive species to their action diorama backgrounds. It was a sticky situation!
When I gave one boy his “I’m an invasive hunter” sticker, he gave me a salute and said, “Thanks, Commander!” I had a good laugh. He was a very nice young man!
I was also teaching a group of kids who came up to my table about the environmental and economic harm that invasive species do to our wonderful native plants. I pointed out Elephant Ear plants that were growing nearby, and one boy turned to me with a face of shock and awe and said, “Wow! The stuff you’re talking about is really a problem!”
Here are some pictures from the event. (And here’s my Texas Invasive Species and the Camp Fire Nature Celebration blog post that originally announced the event.)
Austin kids having fun practicing action moves and creating dioramas to learn about invasive species
Future graduates of the Invasive Hunter Academy
Flashcards help kids learn about the difference between invasive and native Texas plant species
Practicing invasive hunter moves as part of the Invasive Hunter Academy
The nearby concrete wall made a nice platform for kids to create their invasive hunter diorama
One of the fun parts about the academy is choosing the invasive species to battle for your action diorama
Graduates of the Invasive Hunter Academy get goodies, including an “I’m an Invasive Hunter” sticker
Creating your invasive species action diorama was a popular craft all morning!
Watch out for the Elephant Ear!
Commander Ben has a great day with the kids at the Austin Camp Fire Nature Celebration
More pictures from the event
Austin Camp Fire sign welcoming kids to the event
Landon McNeely and Commander Ben at the Austin Camp Fire information booth
Kids learned about the ecological food chain with the Texas Parks and Wildlife activity
Getting to know some of the critters at the Austin Nature and Science Center insect petting zoo
I put up a poster about Zebra Mussels from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
More resources for kids to learn about invasive species
My thanks to Dominic Martinez, AmeriCorps VISTA Programs coordinator, and Landon McNeely, Americorps VISTA Policy and Volunteer coordinator, for inviting me to the event!
My thanks also to Justin Bush, invasive species coordinator for Texasinvasives.org, for the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center handouts and for mentioning my event in the iWire newsletter.
I look forward to my next adventure helping to teach kids about invasive species!