Safe Disposal of Classroom Specimens

The distribution and use of live organisms in classrooms is a pathway through which aquatic invasive species can be introduced and spread. In this pathway, organisms are distributed to teachers through biological supply houses usually in conjunction with widely-used science curriculum packages. Often these organisms are then released into the wild by classes, or are taken home by students as pets (and potentially released later).  This suggests that classroom release of live organisms presents an opportunity for learning and intervention.

We are currently working on a national project, led by the Oregon Sea Grant Program, to define this pathway and to develop appropriate tools and products targeted specifically for stakeholders (teachers, curriculum specialists and biological supply houses).  Until then, teachers can consider these alternatives to release:

  • Contact retailer for property handling advice or for possible returns
  • Give to or trade with another aquarist, pond owner, or water gardener
  • Donate to a local aquarium society, school, or aquatic business
  • Seal aquatic plants in plastic bags and dispose in trash
  • Contact veterinarian or pet retailer for guidance about humane disposal of animals


Pat Charlebois
Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator

Greg Hitzroth
Aquatic Invasive Species Outreach Specialist

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
Purdue University
195 Marsteller Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2033
University of Illinois Extensio
Sea Grant
Purdue University