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Henning students learn about AIS, challenged to make film

Otter Tail County students are not only learning about zebra mussels, they’re getting a chance to make some money off their knowledge and influence their peers.
Home to more lakes than any other county in Minnesota, Otter Tail is inviting students to make 1-3-minute films about watery invaders such as zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species. The student who creates the winning film will receive $100 and the school will receive $900.
AIS like zebra mussels threaten native Minnesota fish and plants, as well as the $2 billion-a-year recreation industry, which is the second largest industry in Minnesota after agriculture.
County officials want to enlist kids to help fight these invaders.
“Why kids? Because they’re the next generation that are going to have to take care of the beautiful lakes we have in this county,” said Jerry Horgen, a former school superintendent who is now volunteering his time to educate children and teachers about the problem. “We want to instill in them a love of these beautiful lakes and the importance of preserving them.”
Accompanied by a biologist, Horgen visits classrooms, hosts Double Jeopardy-style games with prizes and passes around actual invasive species encased in clear plastic. On February 17, they visited Dana Damm’s 10th grade science class at Henning School and plans are in the works to visit other schools in the county this spring. Later this year, educators will have the opportunity to take some students out on pontoon boats to witness infested lakes first-hand.  read entire story. . . .