Oregon Sea Grant’s Sam Chan and Tania Siemens are featured in “Crayfish Invasion,” a recent episode of Oregon Public Broadcasting’s award-winning Oregon Field Guide program.
First aired on Feb. 17, the episode recounts how innocent elementary-school science projects have brought highly invasive crayfish into Oregon’s rivers and streams. Shipped to teachers for biology classes and then “set free” by well-meaning children or teachers, the animals spread quickly in the wild, out-competing native species. According to the series, shipments of live classroom specimens violates state wildlife laws but state authorities have chosen not to aggressively enforce the ban.
Chan, Oregon Sea Grant’s invasive species expert, and research assistant Siemens have been working with Oregon teachers to increase awareness of invasive species and enlist them and their classrooms in the fight to halt the spread of invaders in the marine environment. With the help of k-12 teachers and students, they are developing teacher toolkits with lesson plans, activities and other resources for teaching young people about the subject.