(01/22/21) BATON ROUGE, La. — The LSU AgCenter has announced the release of the latest edition of the 4-H Youth Wetlands Program (YWP) curriculum for Louisiana teachers. YWP is an initiative funded by Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA).
The curriculum provides wetlands lesson plans focusing on key concepts for grades three to 12.
This year’s curriculum release includes the migration of the curriculum to an online platform and represents a content overhaul reflecting the 2017 revisions to Louisiana’s science standards, said Brian Gautreau, LSU AgCenter youth wetlands and education outreach program coordinator.
The state’s most widely distributed Louisiana-focused wetlands curriculum has been a beloved staplefixture in classrooms since its inception in 2007. In a post-Hurricane Katrina environment, CPRA recognized the importance of preparing the next generation to understand the values and functions of wetlands.
The curriculum has been distributed to non-formal and formal educators to reach as many as 250,000 students annually, he said.
“This curriculum is an important resource for our educators to empower the next generation to become the problem solvers and advocates we need to address the coastal land loss issues we face as a state,” said CPRA chairman Chip Kline. “In order to ensure that our communities are prepared and resilient, we must prepare our children to be even better than we are at attacking these challenges.”
“Louisiana’s wetlands are incredibly important places to live, work, and play, and they serve as a vital protective buffer in the coastal zone,” said Bren Haase, CPRA executive director. “CPRA is proud to support our teachers on the frontline during this pandemic and beyond. Whether wetlands education happens in the classroom, at home or in the field, we strongly support cultivating the next generation of wetlands stewards through the funding of the Youth Wetlands Program.”
Lesson plans are available at no charge to Louisiana teachers and non-formal educators. The online platform used is similar to Moodle, and is one with which many teachers may already be familiar with.
The new platform supports teacher collaboration with a discussion forum where teachers can share experiences, post photos and easily provide feedback to program managers. It also provides interactive classroom and field activities.
“Our school builds a strong foundation in wetlands education for our elementary-aged students, and the YWP curriculum has been a big part of that. We are eager to see how this digital version will continue to serve our students,” said Jennifer Williams, department chair of lower school science at the Isidore Newman School in New Orleans.
The curriculum includes important concepts including wetland habitat, invasive species impacts, the multiple lines of defense concept, how oil spills affect wetlands, restoration techniques within the state’s coastal master plan and more. Gautreau is planning to expand curriculum content in the coming years.
“With this online model of distribution and interaction, we can spend more time on the development of new lessons plans and outdoor activities keeping pace with current wetland issues and education research, as well as ensure we are covering more of the Louisiana Student Standards for Science in a high-quality manner,” Gautreau said. “We’re excited to have the ability to better assess student achievement programmatically, which will in turn let us continue to improve the curriculum.”
The Youth Wetlands Program curriculum may be accessed at youthwetlands.la4h.org. Previous editions are also available via the online platform.
Click here to watch a promotional video created by the LSU AgCenter for an overview of the Youth Wetlands Program.
For more information about the YWP program and its new online curriculum, email Gautreau at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brian Gautreau can be reached at email@example.com.