The Field Trips
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Lessons on the Lake

Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation
Field Trip Guide

illustration of children on a field trip


The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation (LPBF) offers a series of fascinating field trips that take students to sites in the Pontchartrain Basin to learn first hand about environmental issues and to participate directly in the solutions. These field trips fall into three broad categories:

  • Wetlands
  • Urban Stormwater Runoff
  • Northshore /Riverine Systems
The Field Trips

Objectives of the Field Trips


  • Place the wetland area they visit in the larger context of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin.

  • Understand the values of the wetlands of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin.

  • Recognize the characteristics of the main wetland habitat types and the common plant and animal species.

  • Understand the effects of various human activities on the wetlands, including salt water intrusion, erosion, and pollution.

  • Observe the positive impacts of restoration projects on damaged wetlands.

Urban Stormwater Runoff

  • Stencil stormdrains in the school neighborhood with the slogan "DUMP NO WASTE; DRAINS TO LAKE", understand the implications of this slogan and pass on their knowledge to the neighborhood community.

  • Visit a city pumping station and investigate the volume of water that drains from their school grounds to the lake.

  • Investigate the volume and types of solid trash that accumulate in the stormwater drainage system, and brainstorm ways to reduce this volume.

  • Analyze the role of the public in reducing both solid and chemical wastes entering the stormwater drainage system.

Northshore /Riverine Systems

  • Place the northshore rivers in the larger context of the
    Lake Pontchartrain Basin.

  • Understand the impact of human development on the northshore of
    Lake Pontchartrain and on the upland rivers of the area.

  • Use macroinvertebrate study to assess the health of northshore rivers.

  • Identify the riverine habitats and recognize the plants and
    animals present.

Multiple Intelligences Learning Activities:


Write a reflective journal of your field trip experiences.

Write poetry describing the macroinvertebrate organisms you find in a northshore river.

Write rainstorm poetry.


Create a concept map of the blue crab industry.

Study maps of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin and your field trip locations.

Calculate runoff statistics in terms of gallons and cubic feet per second. Translate these figures into easily understood terms.

Study the effects of nutrients in a classroom experiment.

Identify trees by playing a "leaf bingo" game.

Conduct macroinvertebrate studies to assess the health of a stream.


Visualize a cypress logging operation through a guided imagery exercise.

Document your field trips through photography.

Draw scientific and cartoon illustrations of the macroinvertebrate organisms you catch.

Illustrate the journey of a drop of motor oil dumped in the



Become an organism in the food web in a wetland food web game.

Perform a play about urban runoff.

Make up critter dances after observing the macroinvertebrate organisms you catch.


Create wetland food web songs.

Set your rainstorm poems to music using percussion.

Make up critter songs to describe the macroinvertebrate organisms you catch.


Interview a member of the community about wetland issues.

In cooperative groups, create a public education flyer about urban runoff; use the flyer to educate the people in your school neighborhood.

Play the role of a community member in a debate about a land use issue.


Write a reflection about your role in cleaning up Lake Pontchartrain and your vision for the lake's future.

Write a reflection of your field trip experiences

The Field Trips

The Field Trips



You can choose from the following wetland trips:
  • LaBranche Wetlands in St. Charles Parish
  • Wetlands of St. Bernard Parish
  • Turtle Cove, the Southeastern University environmental research station on Pass Manchac


The students sharpen their observation skills learning about wetland habitats, and they participate in water quality monitoring for chemical and biological parameters. Some wetland field trips may include fishing clinics sponsored by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Fishing clinics include: fish identification, fishing techniques, safety, and ethics.


The protection of our wetland resources depends on the conscious effort of forward -thinking leaders. The leaders and informed public of tomorrow are among the
students of today. We want the students to understand the values of our wetland resources in the Basin so they will protect them now and in the future.

Urban Stormwater Runoff

These field trips involve a partnership among LPBF, The Mayor's Office of Environmental Affairs in New Orleans, the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board, or the Jefferson Parish Environmental Department.


In Orleans and Jefferson Parishes, the students take a tour of their stormwater drainage system. They travel to a pumping station where they learn about the massive task of draining a city that sits below sea level; they explore the challenge of dealing with waste of all kinds that drains to the pumping stations. The students follow the route of the stormwater to Lake Pontchartrain where they witness the accumulation of debris from the city on our lake's shoreline.


The students begin by stenciling stormdrains in the school neighborhood with a message to discourage dumping by the public. At the pumping station the students take part in water quality monitoring activities. They also participate in trash collection and cataloging the kinds of trash collected.


These activities bring home to the students the message that there is no "away" in "throw away." We are all responsible for disposing of our own waste thoughtfully and for practicing appropriate land use for the topography of the area.

Northshore/Riverine Systems


For the Northshore/ Riverine Systems field trip LPBF teams up with local camps to offer a "hands­on" learning experience on the banks of a river.


The students participate in monitoring the water quality of the river by using the macroinvertebrate sampling technique ("critter catchin'"). The students gain an understanding of which invertebrates live in streams, and how these organisms can be used to indicate the health of a stream. A nature hike will take the students through the beautiful mixed hardwood and pine forest along a river.


This field trip gives the students an understanding of how a particular stream and its surrounding woodland fit into the whole ecosystem of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin. The students learn about the impact of human activities on the natural ecosystems on the northshore of Lake Pontchartrain.

The Field Trips

Field Trip Activities:

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©1998 Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation

Lessons on the Lake is published by the
Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation
Metairie, LA

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