|Activity: How Healthy is This Wetland?|
By observing wetlands, we can usually tell what is occurring in a watershed. The same is true of wetlands in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin. On field trips, students can make both general and specific observations regarding the ecological health of a wetland site. Time should be spent beforehand preparing a base map of the area. This can be done quite easily by tracing an outline of the wetland site from an existing map, including its watershed, ponds associated with it, vegetation types (trees, shrubs, emergent vegetation, or open water), a compass rose, map scale, roads and highways, urban areas, and any other main factors that affect the wetlands. Students should also review the functions and values of wetlands listed here and develop a list of questions for each wetlands function to help them determine its contribution to the overall health of the ecosystem.
Armed with this prior knowledge, students will be able to add the information they collect in the field to their base map.