ESI guest post: Informational zebra mussel workshop for kids

Zebra mussel workshop leaders
Abby Peters, Miranda Micko and Anika Hanson, 2022 Environmental Stewardship Institute (ESI) fellows

This is a guest post from Abby Peters, Miranda Micko and Anika Hanson, 2022 Environmental Stewardship Institute (ESI) fellows. ESI fellows design and carry out a capstone project during a six-week summer program. This group created an interactive educational opportunity for fourth and fifth graders to learn about zebra mussels and their effects on water quality. (Note: Opinions expressed in ESI projects are those of the program participants and do not necessarily represent those of FMR.) 

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Our group hosted an event for the fourth and fifth-grade group at 21st Century Academy, educating them about zebra mussels and invasive species in Minnesota. We incorporated a presentation and several activities to provide an engaging experience. We created a pamphlet that includes all the basic information and a game that demonstrates how zebra mussels take nutrients from surrounding animals.

Why we chose this project

We chose to do this project in order to educate the public and those who don’t have access to environmental education about invasive species and prevention. We hoped to make a difference in the younger generations, allowing them to ask questions and spark curiosity about environmental issues, inspiring them to continue to seek knowledge on these types of issues.

We were inspired to take on this project since we all had so many ideas we wanted to include. By hosting an event we were able to create a pamphlet, poster board and game. Everyone had skills that they were able to showcase in our event. We also chose to host an event so we could not only create a project but share it.

What we hope you take away

Our goal was to illustrate the issues of invasive species’ displacement of native species, their harm on the environment, and how these species can be prevented from rapidly spreading. We specifically chose zebra mussels as they are a very large problem in Minnesota.

Our group would like FMR readers to know that zebra mussel spread is prevented through the steps of drying, cleaning and inspecting boats before taking them into a new body of water.

Join us

FMR created the Environmental Stewardship Institute to address the gap between environmental education and a career path in the environmental field. We hold a summer intensive program and a school-year youth advisory council. Learn more about the 2022 ESI summer program, including other final projects.

FMR's Environmental Stewardship Insitute is part of our larger Stewardship & Education program. Check out our other opportunities for youth and for all ages to get involved with FMR.

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