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Ohio Sea Grant College Program
and Stone Laboratory

Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory

Exotic Aquatics on the Move: Building a Web of Awareness for Geography Educators and Students [NOTE: Proposal is being jointly submitted as a collaborative effort by six Sea Grant programs under the leadership of IL-IN Sea Grant.]

Project Number: E/NIS-002, Completion Report

Start Date: 10/1/1999

Completion Date: 9/30/2001

Revision Date: 5/23/2003

Principal Investigator(s)1.Rosanne W. Fortner, COSEE Great Lakes*
This shows the current affiliation and may not match affiliation at time of participation. *

Funding Record

Source: Ohio Sea Grant College Program
Source FundState MatchPass Through
Total$ 43,361.00$ 27,992.00$ 0.00


Increase the knowledge of grades 6-12 geography and social studies teachers about exotic aquatic species and their impacts on the ecosystem and economy, especially those species threatening our aquatic environments.
Help teachers meet National Geography Standards by incorporating activities about ANS in the classroom.
Enhance information sharing among students and teachers engaged in the study of geography and social studies.
Facilitate community awareness of exotic aquatic species and understanding of how these species affect humans and how humans affect their dispersal and population distribution.


Exotic aquatic invaders are impacting all our shores. Invasive species, including the zebra mussel and green crab, have had serious ecological and socioeconomic impacts from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, and from the Atlantic to Pacific oceans - and rivers and lakes in between. Teachers are more frequently requesting information on Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) to use in their classrooms. Geography and Social Studies teachers seek clear, concise lesson plans that include geographic and multi-disciplinary concepts to help their students attain high academic goals and meet state and national education standards.

The subject of ANS is an excellent tool for teaching geographic concepts in the classroom. Besides habitat loss, the spread of ANS is the major cause for the mass extinction of plants and animals on large geographic scales. These introduced species move over both short and long distances. As such, this project's professional development training, community awareness projects, and new Web site presence will all serve to teach the how, why, and where of ANS spread, a natural concept to include in geography lessons.

This project will provide our youth with knowledge that helps them make responsible decisions which will ultimately affect the future and our ability to have a healthy, clean, and safe environment. Teaching students about the ecological impacts of exotics and how they can make environmentally responsible decisions will be a positive step in helping prevent the spread and transport of exotic species.


  1. Conduct two professional development workshops (primary and follow up) for geography/social studies teachers on ANS. These workshops will be held in Indiana Louisiana, New York, and Washington in collaboration with Geographic Education Alliances in those and surrounding states
  2. Introduce teachers to ANS concepts using geographic education strategies, such as mapping, investigating pathways for spread of exotics, and a study of human impacts on ecosystems.
  3. Provide hands-on exploration of Sea Grant-developed ANS curriculum and teacher-developed EXCAPE compendium of exotic species activities
  4. Provide teachers with knowledge and skills they will need to educate and work with their students to develop community awareness projects on ANS
  5. Present the community awareness projects at a poster session at a National Geography or Social Studies Education Conference. These projects will be compiled and published both in hard copy and on the web.
  6. Create new Web Pages on ANS specifically designed for geography and social studies teachers and students, allowing for broader environmental awareness and enabling them to connect with others on a global scale.
  7. Develop and distribute peer-reviewed, pilot-tested educational activities on ANS, written by teacher participants and targeted to geography and social studies classrooms.

Benefits & Accomplishments

  1. Teachers will be more knowledgeable about ANS and will become aware of personal stewardship measures that will help prevent future spread of exotics.
  2. Students will have the information necessary for them to make informed decision and ANS, particularly in regard to how they could help prevent spread and transport.
  3. Through community awareness projects, many people who were previously unaware of ANS issues will now have the necessary facts to make responsible decisions that could likely reduce ANS spread.
  4. This project will permit more effective use of resources among partners with parallel missions and interests for promoting environmental education.
  5. More people will have access to educational materials offered by Sea Grant and the other collaborators in this project.
  6. There will be a pool of environmental stewardship projects about ANS that are regionally relevant.

Publications & Media

Peer-reviewed reprints
Peer-reviewed reprintsGoettel, R., et al. 2001, Exotic Species Compendium of Activities for Participation and Education (ESCAPE)
Purdue University/IL-IN Sea Grant.
Conference, symposia, or workshop proceedings, and summaries
Conference, symposia, or workshop proceedings, and summariesFortner, R.W. and H.Lee. 2000, An interactive web site for teaching/learning about aquatic nuisance species
National Marine Educators Association Annual Meeting, Long Beach, CA. July.
Conference, symposia, or workshop proceedings, and summariesHyonyong, Lee. 2000, Immerse yourself in aquatic education on the Internet
National Science Teachers Association Annual Meeting, St. Louis, March 26.
Conference, symposia, or workshop proceedings, and summariesGoettel, R., P. Blanchard, and R.W. Fortner 2001, An odyssey of exotic species, Parts I and II
National Marine Educators Association Annual Meeting, Victoria, BC. July 20.
Topical websites, blog sites
Topical websites, blog sitesExotic Aquatics on the Move
Interactive Internet Site at

Supported Students

StudentLee, Hyonyong (Graduate, Ph.D.)
The Ohio State University
Dissertation Title: Materials and methods for effective Earth Systems Education in middle school: A case study.
StudentLee, Jae-Young (Graduate, Ph.D. - 2000)
The Ohio State University
Dissertation Title: Factors affecting environmental decisionmaking under conditions of varied certainty and tangibility.
StudentDudley, Jennifer (Graduate, M.S.)
The Ohio State University
Title: The effect of participation in place-based environmental education programs on student affect toward science: A case study of F.T. Stone Laboratory's middle school program
StudentRaab, Jennifer (Undergraduate, B.S.)
The Ohio State University
StudentMatthews, Susan (Undergraduate, B.S.)
The Ohio State University