Beautiful Invaders

Invasive Plants and Our Planet

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Take your students on a FREE electronic field trip (EFT) to learn about aquatic and invasive plants, how they impact our planet, biodiversity, tropical ecosystems, and how scientists work to identify solutions and practices to best manage these Beautiful Invaders.

Connect with scientists at the University of Florida (UF) / Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) in the Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants (CAIP) in real-time via live Zoom video calls (approx. 45 minutes) at three different times throughout November.


Explore Each Program Description Below


November 12, 2-2:45 p.m. EST

Lara Colley, M.S., Florida Invasive Plant Education Initiative Coordinator

During this EFT, students will meet with Lara Colley from the UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants to discuss the ecological impacts of invasive species. The goal of this EFT is to educate students about ecological and economic impacts of these beautiful invaders.

Learning Objectives

After the EFT students will be able to (1) describe what an invasive species is, (2) identify examples of invasive plants in Florida and (3) discuss different management strategies for invasive plants in Florida.

Next Generation Science Standards supported:

MS Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
MS-LS2-1: Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem. 
MS-LS2-2: Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems. 

Florida Science Education Standards supported: 

  • Grade 7: 
    • SC.7.L.15.2: Explore the scientific theory of evolution by recognizing and explaining ways in which genetic variation and environmental factors contribute to evolution by natural selection and diversity of organisms. 
  • Grade 9:
    • Sc.912.L.15.3: Describe how biological diversity is increased by the origin of new species and how it is decreased by the natural process of extinction. 

November 19th, 2-2:45 p.m. EST

James Leary, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Dr. James Leary, assistant professor of invasive species management, is passionate about beautiful plant invaders. Join Dr. Leary on a journey to learn about invasive plants, their impact on Florida’s ecosystems and learn how drone technology is used to manage invasive plant species.

Learning Objectives

After the EFT students will be able to (1) distinguish the importance and relevance of aquatic invasive plants, (2) recall the use of geographic information systems (GIS) technology used to assess aquatic plants in waterways and (3) summarize the importance to Florida’s environment of management methods for aquatic invasive plants. 

Next Generation Science Standards supported:

MS Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
MS-LS2-2: Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.
MS-LS2-5: Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Florida Science Education Standards supported:

 Grade 7

Body of Knowledge SC.7.L: Life Science 

Body of Knowledge SC.7.N: Nature of Science 

Grade 8

Body of Knowledge SC.8.N: Nature of Science 

Grade 9-12

Body of Knowledge SC.912.L: Life Science 

Body of Knowledge SC.912.N: Nature of Science


December 3, 2-2:45 p.m. EST

Kelli Gladding, Biological Scientist

An overview of Dr. Kelli Gladding’s history as a scientist and her work with the UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants. The focus will be on the impact of invasive species on Florida’s waterways and the spread of hydrilla.

Learning Objectives

After the EFT students will be able to (1) discuss the relationship between the evolution of land and water plants and their anatomy, (2) construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems and (3) evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Science standards supported:

MS Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
MS-LS2-2: Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.
MS-LS2-5: Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Florida Science Education Standards supported:

SC.912.L.14.2. Relate structure to function for the components of plant and animal cells. Explain the role of cell membranes as a highly selective barrier (passive and active transport).

SC.912.L.14.10. Discuss the relationship between the evolution of land plants and their anatomy.


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Additional Resources

Learn more and share the following resources with your students to prepare for the EFT. Below you’ll find a behind the scenes video with UF/IFAS CAIP Education Initiative Coordinator Lara Colley and a 360º Google Tour of the center.

Take a 360º Google Tour of the UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants!


The Beautiful Invaders electronic field trip is presented in partnership with the Institute of Food and Agricultural SciencesCenter for Aquatic and Invasive Plants, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication.

Streaming Science: Electronic Field Trips are supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture – Hatch Project 1020962.

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