Novel tools and best practices for education about invasive alien species

Laura N. H. Verbrugge*, Murray Dawson, Lyn A. Gettys, Rob S. E. W. Leuven, Helia Marchante, Elizabete Marchante, Petri Nummi, Annerie H. M. Rutenfrans, Katrin Schneider, Sonia Vanderhoeven

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Increasing public awareness is a prerequisite for successful management of invasive alien species (IAS). Environmental education can play an important role in this process by providing relevant learning outcomes and experiences for youth and students, as well as professionals in different sectors associated with introduction pathways or who are involved in mitigation and eradication of IAS. This paper responds to the urgent call for the inclusion of the IAS topic in education through the development, implementation and evaluation of novel and user-friendly educational materials. The aim of this paper is to describe best practices in IAS education and to share the lessons learned from eight educational projects from seven different countries. We discuss four challenges for IAS education, related to (1) inconsistent and ambiguous terminology, (2) communicating risk, (3) implementation of education materials, and (4) evaluation of learning effects. Examples of best practices are the use of smartphone applications and gaming elements, place-based education and exhibitions. We also note the importance of open access publishing of education materials to make them easily available. We intend this discussion to serve as a source of inspiration to researchers, science communicators and teachers and to spur the development of new teaching materials worldwide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-24
Number of pages17
JournalManagement of Biological Invasions
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed
EventInternational Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species - Montreal, Canada
Duration: 27 Oct 201931 Oct 2019
Conference number: 21


  • communication
  • citizen science
  • environmental education
  • non-native species
  • outreach
  • public awareness
  • weeds

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