Teaching Wetlands

Louisiana loses an area of wetlands the size of one football field every hour.
Wetland loss and coastal restoration can be intensely complex topics to discuss with children.

Coastal details can often intimidate kids, especially those ages 6 to 12. Language, tone and approach are key.

As the adult, ask questions about what your child (or youth) currently knows about Louisiana wetland loss;
what does the term wetland restoration mean to them.

There are many different types of learners. Auditory, visual and tactile teaching techniques allow children to more easily absorb ecological information. For example, listen to nature sounds/recordings of Gulf Coast creatures that live in the wetlands (auditory), display vivid pictures of wetland loss before and after Katrina (visual), and exhibit wetland marsh grass that kids can touch (tactile).

Involve kids in coastal restoration opportunities, like planting recycled Christmas trees or visiting the Wetland Triangle viewing platform inside Bayou Bienvenue – located in the Lower 9th Ward. These activities help kids further grasp the concept of coastal restoration.

Start with the basics:

1. What are wetlands?
– Wetlands are areas made up of land and water. Many types of plants and animals exist in these areas.

2.What are examples of wetlands?
– Examples of wetlands include marsh grass, swamps, floodplains and wet meadows, etc.

3. Why are wetlands needed?
– Wetlands are habitat – places where animals, fish, birds and insects live.
– Wetlands are breeding grounds that produce food for human consumption.
– Wetlands are the first line of defense against storms and hurricanes.
– Wetlands help control floodwater, thus protecting people, wildlife and buildings.

4. What is happening to our wetlands?
– Wetlands are disappearing at a fast rate because of misuse of land.
– Destruction of wetlands increase cultural, human and environmental vulnerabilities.

5. How can you help keep wetlands safe?
– Learn more about the challenges and opportunities presented as a result of wetland loss.
– Volunteer for environmental service projects, like planting vegetation in degraded wetlands.
– Support organizations (like THF) that advocate for the protection of wetlands.

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