The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) hosted a week-long wetlands workshop in mid July to train Louisiana teachers on the history of the state’s coastal wetlands and issues that face the natural resources within those wetlands.
The workshop resources included funding provided by the Barataria Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP) through the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation and educational materials provided by the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program.
During this comprehensive workshop, educators experienced research trawling, seining, fishing, water quality sampling, coastal botany, birding and presentations from experts in the fields of coastal restoration, invasive species, and oil and gas exploration. Participating teachers earned 55 professional contact hours upon successful completion of the workshop.
WETSHOP 2012 included 19 educators representing 13 different parishes. The base of operation was the LDWF Fisheries Research Lab located on Grand Isle, which provided dormitory and cooking facilities for the workshop conducted by LDWF Aquatic Education staff. Participants also heard presentations from the lab staff and representatives of the Nature Conservancy, BTNEP, LA Sea Grant College Program, LA Department of Natural Resources, CWPPRA (Coastal Wetland Planning Protection Restoration Act), the Port Fourchon Commission and LUMCON (Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium).
Once trained, WETSHOP graduates return to their parishes and collectively train and equip teachers around the state with the knowledge and resources to conduct lessons on the state’s coastal wetlands. Those 19 teachers can impact an estimated 40,000 Louisiana students.
WETSHOP has been conducted since the summer of 1993. At that time, the workshop was entitled “Wetland Workshop for Upland Teachers” and targeted teachers north of US Hwy. 90. Since 1995, the workshop has been offered statewide andcontinues to provide educators with up-to-date facts and experiences related to Louisiana’s coast, wetland values and functions, and the history of the state’s rich culture and geography. Based on pre- and post-workshop testing, participants in 2012 increased their science content knowledge from an average score of 56 to 93 percent.
Teachers that are interested in WETSHOP 2013 can contact Angela Capello, LDWF biologist supervisor, ph. 318-748-6914 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Images courtesy of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries