Recognizing the need for targeted outreach and education to a younger audience, the CPRA is the primary contributor to the Youth Wetlands Education and Outreach Program administered by the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center (AgCenter). The program provides the opportunity for elementary through high school students to participate in natural resource management, helping the students appreciate the difficulty in balancing social needs and environmental consequences.
The goals of the Youth Wetlands Education Program are to instill into students the complexities and consequences of continued unprecedented loss of wetlands on the citizenry of Louisiana, to instill into students that they are ambassadors for responsible stewardship of Louisiana’s natural resources, and to encourage forward thinking that results in positive actions, in demonstrating that “Louisiana’s wetlands loss is the nation’s wetlands loss.” Teaching students to be aware of their environmental surroundings and challenges, and encouraging them to become more actively involved in their future, is a primary first step in students becoming better environmental stewards.
CPRA’s support for this program allows for the development of environmental based lesson plans for grades 4-12 and provides schools with a teacher/student manual (including lessons and teaching materials) that can be readily used in classroom setting. In addition to the lesson plan manual, packets sent to participating schools include resource materials, such as live plants, seeding trays, aerial photographs, laboratory supplies, markers, and field materials specific to conducting the grade appropriate hands-on wetland exercises. In addition, in 2010 a statewide wetlands education week was established and occurs annually in conjunction with Earth Day. Finally, this program offers service learning activities to students throughout the year.
In the first year (2007), participation in the Youth Wetlands Education and Outreach Program reached 22,000 students in 46 parishes. Program participation has increased steadily with approximately 95,000 students registered in 2012.
Project Type: Key Initiative