Lake Champlain Sea Grant and Adirondack Watershed Institute fellow to release educational video game

By Stephanie Rock
October 05, 2023

Stephanie Rock is the Watershed Science Communication Fellow for Lake Champlain Sea Grant and the Adirondack Watershed Institute (AWI. As part of her communications responsibilities, Rock has developed unique communication methods to engage the public and inspire public stewardship in a topic of her interest. She has been working with undergraduate students at Paul Smith’s College for the past year to create an interactive video game, teaching the user about invasive species in the Adirondack Park.

Aquatic Invaders is a digital game set in the Adirondack Park where you play as an aquatic invasive species. Your goal is to infect and take over all waterbodies in the Adirondacks. Spread further, collect points, and adapt your species all while avoiding being stopped by the Adirondack Watershed Institute. This game will teach important concepts such as aquatic invasive species characteristics, what invasives are commonly found in our waters, and what the AWI does to try and mitigate the spreading of these species.

“I wanted to create something that could easily be used anywhere at any time. Teachers can bring up the game and play it with their whole class if they need to fill about 15 minutes, or make a whole lesson out of it by having the kids play by themselves and then talk about how invasive species impact our environment,” said Rock. “We have a lot of watercraft inspection stewards across the park who can share this game with families to help keep kids entertained while their parents are prepping the boat. But it’s not mindless entertainment, it’s a learning experience that can be applied right there at the launch. This is a game that will be available for everyone to play, regardless of their age.”

While Rock has experience developing video games on her own, she solicited the help of a recent graduate from SUNY Canton with a degree in Video Game Design, Sean Craver, to make sure that everything was done to industry standards. "I'm thrilled to partner with Stephanie and the Adirondack Watershed Institute for this project. My passion has always been to create games that blend entertainment with purpose. Aquatic Invaders fits perfectly with that goal."

Their goal is to have the game finished and set to be released by the end of the year where it will be free to play on web and mobile platforms. If you would like to stay updated on the release of the game, sign up for the AWI’s newsletter on their website.