Denver Museum of Nature & Science is an educational institution dedicated to the study and understanding of natural sciences and cultures.
As such, the museum has every interest in cultivating scientists and stewards of natural resources who can protect Earth’s biodiversity in whatever form it may take.
This curriculum is developed from information currently vetted by the scientific community to generate awareness of this vital mission, and our impact on species both native and invasive.
Students will be taught that local plants are just as much a part of the local ecology as those brought in from elsewhere because we have no control over their survival or how they interact with other species on this planet.
The Museum fully embraces its role as an institution dedicated to providing opportunities for lifelong learning through exploration, presentation, and enjoyment of science-related experiences using interactive exhibitions, innovative programs, and a diverse collection of specimens and artifacts.
The Museum in Denver CO promotes the use of evidence-based scientific inquiry, creative expression, and critical thinking.
Curriculum is developed by qualified experts using current scientific data gathered from peer-reviewed journals in their field to ensure students have a proper understanding of the facts around these issues so they can make informed decisions when faced with them as adults.
Invasive species are defined as “unwanted organisms that threaten native plants, animals or habitat”. They cause harm either directly (by outcompeting natives for food or space) or indirectly (by providing a vector for another introduced pest). While individual invasive species are sometimes beneficial in small numbers, it is harder to argue that an entire class of alien species has contributed anything positive to the planet.
The museum recognizes that all organisms share a place on this planet, and as such should be afforded respect and treated in accordance with their intrinsic value irrespective of economic or social benefit.
Plants that have been introduced into habitats where they did not evolve may not have evolved defenses against parasites or diseases that are well adapted to the original plants living there. For example, without adaptations for freezing, many plants from tropical regions will not survive cold weather if planted outside their natural range here in Colorado, even when it is milder than normal for the rest of the country. This makes them especially vulnerable to disease and pests that can move along with people ahead of any quarantine efforts until they find their new host plant.
The museum recognizes that all species, from microscopic bacteria to large mammals have intrinsic value and thus they deserve respect from the general public. Species should never be treated as disposable commodities or tools for human benefit. They are much more than that. We need them in order for our planet to survive on a long-term basis and we rely on them for critical functions such as pollination of food crops, decomposition, nutrient cycling, and many other essential services which are not yet fully understood.
Students should study these ecosystems by having opportunities to observe native animals both within their native habitat as well as serving an educational role at the Museum while mindful of ethical concerns regarding animal welfare where appropriate.