Invasive Plant Teacher Workshop
June 2006

Middle School Teachers "Dig In" to Learn More About Invasive Plants in Florida

Many thanks to the teachers who attended our 2-day long invasive plant module -- part of a week-long Environmental Science Workshop co-hosted by yours truly (the Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants, aka CAIP) and the Center for Pre-collegiate Education and Training (CPET) .

The workshop included three days of field trips along with classroom activities that provided an up-close and personal look at Florida's unique hydrology and accompanying plant life. A few highlights: airboat tours and aquatic plant collecting on Lake Orange; upland plant collecting in the greater Gainesville area; and visits to the Santa Fe River and a number of freshwater springs, sinkholes and surface water drainage systems.

In the classroom, teachers were introduced to a new approach for identifying plants, invasive plant ecology, bio-control and a discussion of the challenges we all face from the spread of invasive plant species in Florida. To top it off, participants were treated to a wheelbarrow full of materials to take back to the classroom so they can share their new knowledge and enthusiasm with students.

A special thanks to the DEP Bureau of Invasive Plant Management for making this project possible and to the following CAIP and CPET staff for helping to make this event possible:

  • Mike Meisenburg
  • Beth DeGroat
  • Margaret Glenn
  • Chris Mudge (grad student)
  • Josh Huey
  • Laura Gutane
  • Brett Bultemeier
  • Julie Boker
  • Steve Everett (Eastside HS Environmental Science Instructor)
  • Courtenay Oller
  • Chuck Lawrence
  • Mary Jo Koroly


The teachers are preparing for guided tour The entrance to Orange Lake. Airboat with teachers onboard moving out to Orange Lake. American lotus blooming on Orange Lake.
Dr. Haller and teachers on airboat. Water hyacinth, a non-native invasive aquatic plant. DEP's Jeff Schardt, identifying water hyacinth. Pickerelweed, a native aquatic plant.
Dr. Haller and teachers on two airboats discussing hydrilla. Cow lily flower, a native aquatic plant. Plant identification on Orange Lake. Teacher holding the beautiful American lotus flower.
A closeup of the American lotus flower. Biologist Margaret Glenn with teachers on a pontoon boat on Orange Lake. Treefrog perched on a teachers hand. Science teachers using a secchi disk.
An emersed alligator peaks out of the water in Orange Lake. Science teachers identifying plants on Orange Lake. Ladybug on a teachers hand. A view of the placid waters of Orange Lake.
A dragonfly taking a rest on an airboat. Dr. Haller identifying parrotsfeather, a native, emersed plant. Biologist, Mike Meisenberg leading teachers through an upland plant identifcation tour. Coral ardisia is a non-native invasive plant infesting Gainesville.
Mike Meisenberg performing plant identifcation for the science teachers. A teacher holds a specimen of coral ardisia. A leopard frog is found at Bivens Arm. Forensic Botanist, David Hall identifying water lettuce to teachers in an afternoon workshop.
Teachers examine biological control insects living on aquatic plants. More plant identification by science teachers.



A collaboration of the UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants and the
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission / Invasive Plant Management Section

Center for Aquatic & Invasive Plants | 7922 NW 71st St. | Gainesville, Fl. 32653 | 352-392-6843
2009 University of Florida
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