Activity: Where Have All the Wetlands Gone?

illustration: frog king
"No one consults the frogs when they intend to drain the swamp."

---unidentified French nobleman

In the United States during the last 200 years, we have lost 50% of our nation's wetlands. Louisiana's coastal wetlands are vanishing at a rate of 20,000 to 25,000 acres per year. If this rapid loss continues, the Gulf of Mexico will be thirty-plus miles closer to New Orleans, and more of our bountiful marshes will become open bays of water.

Wetland loss in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin will have been discussed in class. Its relevance to and relationship with other issues should be emphasized. Students must develop an understanding of the pressures that wetland loss places on the Lake Pontchartrain Basin, in order for them to become informed citizens able to make intelligent choices. This activity provides students the opportunity to discuss cause-and-effect relationships among wetland loss and other issues and to suggest possible solutions.



Note: Students will work in cooperative learning groups.
  1. Each student in the group will complete the handout, "Where Have All the Wetlands Gone?"
  2. Students compare answers with group members and reach a consensus.
  3. Each group of students should make a large copy of the completed chart on butcher paper.
  4. Completed posters should be hung around the room as each group presents its results to the class.
  5. After a discussion period, a class consensus can be developed for a bulletin board display.

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