Looking for nature- or science-based activities or projects for your kids to do at home? You and your school-aged children can join in the important worldwide effort to protect plants from invasive species. Invasive pests can destroy up to 40 percent of crops annually, having a direct impact on the cost and availability of the food you eat every day.
USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is leading invasive pest awareness efforts through their Hungry Pests initiative. Hungry pests are 20 invasive species that can harm crops and trees and potentially devastate our country’s agricultural industries and natural resources. USDA encourages you and your children to learn about the ways people can unintentionally move and spread these harmful pests and to do your part to protect U.S. agriculture. Check out the following educational and fun activities while learning about invasive species:
- Hungry Pest Activity Sheet (PDF, 2.2 MB): The worksheet includes a crossword puzzle, connect the dots, matching games and more.
- Youth Activity Guide (PDF, 2.4 MB): The guide explains three indoor and outdoor activities, including “Critter Jam,” “Masked Vin Vasive” and “Attack of the Invasive Species.”
- Emerald Ash Borer Activity Book (PDF, 3.6 MB): The coloring and activity book tells the story of the invasive pest known as the emerald ash borer.
- The Virtual Nature Walk: The five-minute animated video explains the lifecycle of the emerald ash borer.
- Pest Cards: The 15 pest cards share information about some of the major pests in our country. Children can use these cards to look for pests while playing outside. Using the Pest Tracker, parents can research which pests are in their state before selecting pest cards.
- The Hungry Pests Invade Middle School Curriculum (PDF, 24.6 MB) is a standards-based curriculum for grades 6-8 with lessons that cross multiple disciplines.
- The Hungry Pests Service Learning Curriculum includes activities for students in elementary and high school.
- APHIS’ YouTube Channel has numerous Hungry Pests-related videos, like the must-see “Vin Vasive Explains How Invasive Pests Spread” video series.
As students participate in these activities, they will learn how to identify pests, the damage that these pests cause, and how they can help to reduce their impact. Let this year’s Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month be one that your children can remember for their efforts to help protect American agriculture.
More activities and information is available at: www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/resources/pests-diseases/hungry-pests/educators.