Alien Detectives wanted!

Conon River project
Removing Himalayan balsam ©SISI project

People are being urged to get involved in a new lockdown assault on invasive non-native species from the comfort of their own homes.

The Scottish Invasive Species Initiative (SISI) has today launched Alien Detectives – a fun and educational online resource to help the young, and not so young, learn more about alien – or non-native – invasive species.

Originally designed as a school education pack, the huge array of activities now includes a wide range of fun games and activities that anyone can enjoy at home, in the garden or on local walks during lockdown.

Alien Detectives includes crafts, quizzes, worksheets, presentations and puzzles all themed around invasive species and the river environment. Although primarily aimed at young people, anyone with an interest in the environment or invasive species can enjoy them too.

Callum Sinclair, SISI Project Manager, said: “Our project team has been busy while home working during the lockdown to produce these fantastic resources. We hope that becoming ‘Alien Detectives’ will bring many hours of enjoyment to individuals and families during lockdown, especially at a time when most young people are not in a regular school environment and might be looking for a new challenge or activities to continue their learning.

“‘Invasive non-native species might be a new topic to many but it is a really important one – invasive species can have a major impact on our environment and native wildlife and are responsible for significant biodiversity loss in Scotland and across the world. We hope these resources will help raise awareness of the impacts of invasive species and inspire more young people to learn something about them.

“No prior knowledge is needed and there’s lots to learn and have fun with so become an Alien Detective and help us tackle invasive species today!”

Vicky Hilton, SISI Volunteer and Communication Officer, added: “To help structured learning the resource pack is laid out across themes including discovering what aliens are, how they got here, what makes them successful, how we can prevent them taking over and how to find and capture them.

“Each theme has several activities and in addition, there is a whole section devoted to fun crafts, puzzles and games – from invasive species battleships, top trumps and making an exploding seed pod to crosswords, pictograms and word searches. There is also a certificate for those who have earned the sought-after status of ‘Alien Detective’.”

All of the ‘Alien Detectives’ resources can be found at www.invasivespecies.scot/alien-detectives

The Scottish Invasive Species Initiative works with communities and volunteers to remove and control invasive non-native plant species and American mink from the countryside. The project also delivers a range of educational and awareness raising activities which includes working in schools and with community groups.

To find out more about the Scottish Invasive Species Initiative, including volunteering with the project, visit www.invasivespecies.scot , follow on social media or contact the team on sisi@nature.scot

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