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A survey of teachers from the United States and Canada found that one out of four educators who used live animals as part of their science curriculum released the organisms into the wild after they were done using them in the classroom.
Yet only 10 percent of those teachers participated in a planned release program, increasing the likelihood that the well-intentioned practice of using live organisms as a teaching tool may be contributing to invasive species problems.
The study was presented Aug. 7 in Portland at the national meeting of the Ecological Society of America.
The Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant Program is involved with a project, led by the Oregon Sea Grant Program, to not only define this pathway but also develop appropriate tools and products targeted specifically for stakeholders (teachers, curriculum specialists and biological supply houses).