Linda F. Benedict, Brooks, Mindy M.
News Release Distributed 11/22/13
BATON ROUGE, La. – Students from the LSU Laboratory School got out of the classroom for a wetlands education field day at LSU’s Hilltop Arboretum on Nov. 14.
The event, known as Louisiana Wetlands Exploration Day, was one of seven similar events held around the state this fall, according to Ashley Mullens, LSU AgCenter 4-H Youth Wetlands Program manager.
“The Wetland Days started as a pilot program in the St. Tammany/Tangipahoa area but have been so successful that we have expanded to other parishes,” Mullens said.
Through partnerships with the LSU Laboratory School, LSU’s Hilltop Arboretum and Entergy of Baton Rouge, the 4-H Youth Wetlands Program coordinated the event to educate fourth-graders from the LSU Lab School on the importance of Louisiana wetlands.
“For this Louisiana Wetlands Exploration Day in particular, we used the concept of youth-teaching-youth,” said Mindy Brooks, of the 4-H Youth Wetlands Program. “By first educating the U High students about our wetlands, they were able to turn around and teach the elementary students from their school.”
Seniors in the environmental science class were trained on wetland topics, such as wetland loss, restoration, bird migration, wetland mammals, adaptations of wetland birds, the water cycle, functions of wetlands and environmental stewardship. Interactive activities centered on these concepts were used to educate the younger students.
"Whenever students can teach others, it shows that they have mastered a concept,” said Steve Babcock, of University High School. “It's also cool that my high school students get the opportunity to make a positive impression on younger students."
Nearly 100 fourth-grade students from the LSU Laboratory School were in attendance. “This hands-on program allows our elementary students to see our high school students at work. This event is one of our students’ favorite. The students don’t realize they are learning about the wetlands because they have fun the entire time,” said Catherine Myrick, fourth-grade teacher at the LSU Lab School.
“Garrett Brumfield [a U High senior] taught us that the wetlands are being destroyed. I think that I should help rebuild the wetlands,” said Joseph Haindel, a fourth-grade student. “At the Youth Wetlands Day, we planted a baldcypress seed to take home. I put it in my back window and am letting it grow in the container we put it in. When it gets too big for the container, I plan to put it in my backyard to let it grow so birds and animals can make a home in it.”
The 4-H Youth Wetlands Program provides teachers statewide with wetland curriculum to encourage them to educate their students on important wetland issues, Brooks said. The program is funded by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. For the past seven years, this program has provided wetland curriculum for more than 400,000 students across Louisiana.
Editor: Linda Foster Benedict