Pushy Plants and Alien Animals
This Web site contains information on 12 invasive species in North Carolina that are commonly found on school grounds. We recommend that elementary students focus primarily on plants when surveying their school grounds.

Best times to spot invasive plants

Fall: before first hard frost
Spring: April onward
Note: English ivy, autumn olive, and Japanese honeysuckle are evergreen in North Carolina; the other species are deciduous in our state.

Exotic Adventures

Activity 1

  • Teacher prints Schools Ground Survey Form from this site. English Ivy
  • Students survey school grounds for invasive plants, record the data, and give survey forms to teacher.
  • Teacher enters data on Web site. [Data Entry Form]
  • Students monitor Web site periodically to compare their findings to those of other schools.

Activity 2

Have students choose and research a particular species (using this Web site or others listed under Resources).

More Exotic Adventures

  • Students survey their yards or local parks and discuss what these species have in common (i.e., habitat, proximity to humans).
  • Students develop methods for removing and discouraging invasive species from school grounds.


K-5 Teachers
6-12 Teachers
Survey Form
Enter Data
Data 2003-04

North Carolina Science Curriculum Correlations

Competency Goal 1: Similarities and differences among plants and animals
Grade 1
Competency Goal 1: Needs of living organisms
Grade 3
Competency Goal 1: Plant growth and adaptations
Grade 4
Competency Goal 1: Animal growth and adaptations
Grade 5
Competency Goal 1: Interdependence of plants and animals (ecosystems)


Data entered from April to November 2004 will be presented at Invasive Species Symposium at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Tables will be archived in November and then annually on a school-year cycle from June 1 to May 31.


The following are good Web sites with general information on invasive species.

National Invasive Species Council
The gateway to federal efforts concerning invasive species, including impacts, government response to the problem, selected species profiles, and links to agencies and organizations dealing with invasive species issues

USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Selected profiles of alien plants and animals

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
National plant database

The Nature Conservancy’s Invasive Species Initiative
What you can do to combat invasive species, what species you might find in your yard, and other helpful resources

Invasive and Exotic Species of North America (University of Georgia and partners)
Information, images, and free online publications about invasive species
Nonnative invasive plants of Southern forests: a field guide for identification and control

University of Nebraska
Overview of invasive species and their impact, learning models, and lesson plans

© 2004 NC Museum of Natural Sciences