News Release Distributed 03/28/14
BATON ROUGE, La. – Louisiana’s wetlands are places to work, visit and enjoy. They are also places to learn. During the week of April 21-25, the LSU AgCenter’s Youth Wetlands program will be recognizing these diverse environments statewide through a variety of classroom lessons and wetlands activities.
Several new activities will be conducted in conjunction with Youth Wetlands week, said Youth Wetlands program director Ashley Mullens.
“This year we are conducting a statewide poetry contest with the winners receiving cash prizes,” Mullens said. “Also, to help celebrate Earth Day on April 22, we have partnered with the New Orleans Zephyrs baseball team to create family-friendly events centered on the Zephyrs game against the Colorado Springs Sky Sox.”
The poetry contest is divided into three divisions: upper elementary (grades 3-5), middle school (grades 6-8) and high school (grades 9-12). The first-place winner for each group will receive $200, and the teacher of each winner will receive a $50 stipend. Second-place participants will get $100, and third-place contestants will receive $50. The deadline for the contest is April 7.
The theme for the contest is “Louisiana’s Coast: What does it mean to you?” Entry forms can be downloaded here.
For the baseball game, group tickets are available for $3 when purchased in advance. The game is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. For more information concerning tickets, contact Rachel Whitley at 504-734-5155, ext. 296 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Funding for the program comes from the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, which is encouraging its employees to get involved. In the Baton Rouge and New Orleans area offices, employees are being trained in a lesson, which they will teach to other employees and family members.
“We have 24 unique lessons designed for students in fourth through 12th grades, so there are lessons that even adults can learn a thing or two about Louisiana’s wetlands,” Mullens said. The lessons meet grade-level expectations based on the Common Core state standards. Educational materials are distributed through LSU AgCenter parish offices.
The lesson plans and instruction material are free to interested teachers. Mullens noted a teacher training session involving the materials is being held April 19 at Franklin High School in St. Mary Parish.
During the week, Mullens encourages a service component. In past years vegetative plantings have been held in both urban and coastal settings. “The Girl Scouts are having a wetlands day at the Shell Robert facility in Tangipahoa Parish. We expect more than 50 girls to attend this event,” Mullens said.
On April 23, a Wetlands Day will be held in West Feliciana Parish. More than 150 students have registered for that event.
According to Mullens, approximately 153,000 students and 1,600 teachers are registered to participate in Youth Wetlands activities during the week.Craig Gautreaux