Alien detectives will hunt invasive species in Scotland

People are being urged to get involved in a new lockdown assault ... on alien species!

By The Newsroom
Friday, 22nd May 2020, 7:30 am
Appeal for alien detectives...to wage a new assault on invasive, non-native species in Scotland. (Pic: Ewen Weatherspoon)

The Scottish Invasive Species Initiative (SISI) has launched Alien Detectives, a fun and educational online resource to help people learn more about alien species.

Originally designed as a school education pack, activities now include a wide range of games and activities that anyone can enjoy at home, in the garden or on local walks.

Although primarily aimed at young people, anyone with an interest in the environment can join in the fun.

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Callum Sinclair, SISI project manager, said: “We hope that becoming Alien Detectives will bring many hours of enjoyment to individuals and families during lockdown, especially at a time when most young people are not in a regular school environment and might be looking for a new challenge.

“Invasive, non-native species might be a new topic to many but it is a really important one – invasive species can have a major impact on our environment and native wildlife and are responsible for significant biodiversity loss in Scotland and across the world.

“We hope these resources will help raise awareness of the impacts of invasive species and inspire more people to learn something about them.

“No prior knowledge is needed and there’s lots to learn and have fun with ... so become an Alien Detective and help us tackle invasive species today!”

To help structure learning, the resource pack is laid out across themes including discovering what aliens are, how they got here, what makes them successful, how we can prevent them taking over and how to find and capture them.

Vicky Hilton, SISI communication officer, said: “Each theme has several activities and there is a whole section devoted to fun crafts, puzzles and games – from invasive species battleships, top trumps and making an exploding seed pod to crosswords, pictograms and wordsearches.

“There is also a certificate for those who have earned the sought-after status of Alien Detective.”

The Scottish Invasive Species Initiative works with communities and volunteers to remove and control invasive, non-native plant species and American mink from the countryside.

The project also delivers a range of educational and awareness-raising activities which includes working in schools and with community groups.

The Alien Detectives resources can be found at www.invasivespecies.scot/alien-detectives.

To find out more about the SISI, including volunteering with the project, visit www.invasivespecies.scot.