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Atholton teacher Geoff Hyde shows the group the invasive species he designed. Julia Di Biase and Miya Kim look on. Photos courtesy of Ophelia Barizo

Chesapeake Conference teachers recently participated in two different workshops on invasive species at Highland View Academy in Hagerstown, and at the Chesapeake Conference office in Columbia, Md. Representatives from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Cindy Etgen, Aquatic Resources Education Chief; and Kerry Wixted, Wildlife Education and Outreach Specialist conducted the workshops.

Teachers learned about invasive species in Maryland and how they affect the environment. They modeled various interactive activities that they could use in their classrooms. There was a lot of laughter and interaction during the seminars.
“One of the highlights of the workshop was having teachers design and engineer their own imaginary invasive species, and show how their creations had adaptations that could impact other animals in the environment,” said Ophelia Barizo, conference director of STEM Education.
Teachers also learned about the various educational resources from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources that are available to teachers and students. Some teachers have already implemented the activities in their own classrooms. The conference Office of Education is planning to have more hands-on STEM workshops during teacher in-service days, according to Barizo.
She says, “When teachers get excited about what they are teaching, it rubs off on their students. Having teachers model what they will be teaching increases their confidence and motivation for doing more hands-on activities for their students.”
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