CORVALLIS, Ore. - "Aquatic Invaders" - an educational program that demonstrates simple steps to avoid the spread of invasive species - was honored by Coastal America during a recent national meeting of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

The project is a partnership between the association and the national Sea Grant network.

"Through this outstanding team effort, nearly 140 million people annually may learn how to protect our environment from aquatic invasive species, which cost our nation nearly $138 billion per year to control," said Timothy R.E. Keeney, the U.S. Dept. of Commerce's deputy assistant secretary for oceans and atmosphere.

Keeney presented the 2006 Coastal America Partnership Award to the Aquatic Invaders Toolkit Team, on behalf of President Bush and the 12 federal agencies of the Coastal America Partnership.

Samuel Chan, an Oregon Sea Grant Extension faculty member, was part of the science team.

Chan's science team collaborated with zoo and aquarium educators to incorporate and package the materials into a format that will be adapted by zoo and aquaria educators for their public audiences.

Funded by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Sea Grant College Program, "Aquatic Invaders" is a 20-minute program that includes audience participation. During the program the audience sees how one person can bring invasive species to an ecosystem. The program is designed for all ages and can be presented indoors or outdoors.

"The educators and audience members identify specific steps to take - such as cleaning boats immediately after they are taken out of the water, and properly caring for home aquariums and water gardens," said Katie Mosher, North Carolina Sea Grant communications director and project coordinator.

The Coastal America Partnership was established in 1992 to protect, preserve and restore coastal watersheds by integrating federal actions with state and local government and non-governmental efforts. Federal partners include the Departments of Agriculture, Air Force, Army, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Navy, State and Transportation, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Executive Office of the President.

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Samuel Chan,