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Bureau of Land Management
For Immediate Release: Monday, July 24, 2006
Contact:
Mary Tisdale
(202) 452-0365

BLM Wins Web Award for Invasive Species Website

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM)’s educational website on invasive species has been recognized with an Award of Excellence by StudySphere, an education resource-tracking website. All award winners are selected for inclusion in StudySphere’s educational resources based on their high-quality content and usability for online research by busy searchers.

“Invasive species present a silent threat to the public lands,” said BLM Director Kathleen Clarke. “We are pleased that our online environmental education resources continue to be recognized as among the best on the Web today,” said BLM Director Kathleen Clarke.

The website -- “What’s Wrong With This Picture? Invasive Species: A Growing Pain” -- (www.blm.gov/education/weed/weed.html) is part of the “BLM Learning Landscapes” educational website created in 2000, a collaborative effort by federal agencies, nonprofit-organizations, and private companies. The content was adapted from a popular 1996 BLM poster by the same name for middle-school teachers and students, which was developed in partnership with sister agencies the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, The Wilderness Society, Monsanto, and Dow Elanco. The website, like the poster, is divided into lessons, activities, case studies, photographs, and other resources partially based on the Montana Weed Project Teacher’s Handbook, a non-BLM project.

Prior versions of the BLM’s environmental education website have also drawn professional praise and awards. In 1997, for example, the original site received an Interpretative Media Award from the National Interpretative Association and in 1999 the site was chosen as a USA Today “Hot Site.” Additionally, “BLM Learning Landscapes” website is featured in Yahoo’s “Yahooligans—The Web Guide for Kids. “

The topic of “invasive species” or “noxious weed” is an increasingly popular search term on many large search engines, leading many researchers directly to the BLM’s website. Recent BLM web trend reports show that the “Invasive Species” site ranks among the top three most frequently visited among all its sites on the “BLM Learning Landscapes,” proving that the content remains relevant and user-friendly. Once at the site, students and explorers who enter through “Homework Helpers” and “Lifetime Learning” respectively can easily navigate from one lesson to the next and click on photographs of common threats such as the leafy spurge and water hyacinth.

Besides “What’s Wrong With This Picture?” the BLM also participates in a variety of other weed education programs throughout the year and as part of “National Invasive Weed Awareness Week.” These programs include: “Silent Invaders,” an interactive website with games for middle-school children developed with Florida State University, interagency workshops held during the annual National Science Teachers Association Conference, weed education and Seeds of Success internships, and communication materials for both the National Association of Counties and National Association of Conservation Districts. Additional resources can be found at: www.blm.gov/education/LearningLandscapes/explorers/lifetime/invasive.html

The BLM’s Education Division develops programs for school children and educators nationally to promote understanding of the varied activities on the agency’s more than 260 million acres of public lands, located primarily in the Western United States. BLM public lands are "learning landscapes," providing outstanding formal and informal education opportunities for students, "lifetime learners," and the general public. Key issues include the importance of environmentally-responsible energy development, combating fire and the spread of noxious weeds. In 2005, the BLM’s "Hands on the Land" sites reached 30,000 students and the agency’s Education Program supported on-site education programs at events such as National Public Lands Day and the national Scout Jamboree, reaching additional audiences of approximately 50,000.