ESI guest post: Invasive species scavenger hunt

Three fellows hold posters
Sarah Hu, Jasmine Jara and Li Le Kaplow's invasive species scavenger hunt focused on emerald ash borer, invasive carp and buckthorn.

This is a guest post from Li Le Kaplow, Jasmine Jara and Sarah Hu, a group of 2022 Environmental Stewardship Institute (ESI) fellows. ESI fellows design and carry out a capstone project during a six-week summer program. This group created a scavenger hunt for youth and their families to learn more about invasive species. (Note: Opinions expressed in ESI projects are those of the program participants and do not necessarily represent those of FMR.) 

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As a group of three, we combined our expertise around plants to create a kid-friendly scavenger hunt on invasive species. We designed stations where kids could visit and learn about an invasive species. At each station they read some information about the species and wrote down facts they found interesting. Once they were done, they received a stamp to signify their completion. We had prizes for the kids who finished the fastest.

We held our event in early August at Hidden Falls Regional Park. We collaborated with eARTh Lab interns and invited families for an event of artmaking, learning and sharing a meal together.

You can see part of our project here.

Why we chose this project

We chose this topic because by combining an important topic with a fun game, younger people will be more likely to remember the new things they learned.

Invasive species have become increasingly detrimental to the ecosystems around us, which is why more people need to be aware of the issue. Our activity is aimed at educating young people on the invasive plants and animals in their area so as to better prepare them to take care of the environment when they can.

It also helps to inform kids about how to deal with the invasive species. This was a constructive workshop and a fun event that they can now translate to their own lives in the land around them.

What we hope you take away

A few years ago, the government removed a beautiful ash tree from Jasmine’s yard. The reason for its removal was that emerald ash borers had taken hold of the tree. It is important to understand that invasive species like emerald ash borers are slowly killing native species as well as the biodiversity of the places we live in. Invasive species are rarely talked about, so it is important to educate people (especially youth) on the harm of such species. This way, we can build an educated society that will try to fix this and enforce ways we can exterminate such species.


While researching our topic, we learned a lot of new information that we can apply to our surroundings outside of FMR. Overall it was a fun project to put together and there are many takeaways from it.

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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