Youth wetlands program begins 5th year

Kenneth Gautreaux, Tassin, Mark G.

News Release Distributed 07/20/10

A statewide LSU AgCenter 4-H program to heighten students’ awareness of Louisiana’s wetland loss is entering its fifth year.

The Youth Wetlands Education and Outreach Program, sponsored by the Louisiana Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration, provides Louisiana schools an organized educational program of outreach, empowerment and advocacy, according to officials at the LSU AgCenter.

All educators are welcome to sign up for the program, which provides teachers in grades four through 12 with structured lesson plans, teaching materials and step-by-step procedures to activities, said Ashley Mullens, 4-H Youth Wetlands program director in the LSU AgCenter.

Teachers can register by Sept. 30 to receive materials at no cost by either contacting their local 4-H agent or visiting the Youth Wetlands website at

The curriculum is based on the grade level expectations established by the Louisiana Department of Education, Mullens said. It focuses on several areas – wetlands habitats, wetland vegetation, soils, hydrology, wildlife and fisheries and environmental impacts, Mullens said.

“These lessons focus not only on Louisiana’s coastal marshes but also on the important role that bottomland and upland swamps play in our wetland systems,” Mullens said. “The lessons are just as applicable to a teacher in Morehouse Parish as to a teacher in Terrebonne Parish.”

Students have opportunities throughout the year to participate in wetland restoration projects in various locations across the state. In past years, students have helped with vegetative plantings, constructed and installed wood duck boxes and assisted in trash bashes and beach sweeps.

Mark Tassin, state director of the 4-H youth program, said Youth Wetlands Week has been recognized as a program of distinction by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“We have documented through testing that students increase their knowledge about wetlands after participating in the program,” Tassin said. “And more than 200,000 students have taken part in the program, so we are reaching a large audience.”

The Youth Wetlands Program not only highlights Louisiana’s wetlands, it also promotes wetlands-related careers such as biologists and arborists, Mullens said. Videos that accompany the curriculum material allow students to see some of the tasks involved with these occupations and how these careers interact with the wetlands.

More information regarding the Youth Wetlands Program is available from any LSU AgCenter parish office or by calling 225-578-2196.

Craig Gautreaux

1/4/2011 1:10:04 AM
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