Science in the Swamp

Farah AnwarField Notes
Students completing species data collection at Jean Lafitte National Park and Preserve.
Dawn Kish

Did you know that our national parks are not just for recreational activities like hiking and biking? Parks also offer powerful place-based learning experiences for students, bringing the classroom to life and engaging kids in hands-on activities.

Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is a diverse park that hosts six separate sites, including a wetland, battlefields, and three cultural centers. The park also offers a variety of activities for kids including Junior Ranger programs and summer camps. In 2013, the park hosted a BioBlitz, which brought over 3,000 youth to the park where they discovered and documented over 900 species. 

Student completing species data collection at Jean Lafitte National Park and Preserve.
Dawn Kish

The park is also working to engage kids in learning about Louisiana’s wetlands and other natural and cultural resources within the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary area. Youth are led through hands-on scientific exploration and citizen science field experiences which augment classroom learning.

“We want the students to see the connection between what comes out of the faucet at their homes and the health of our natural resources such as the bayou—the source of our drinking water.” ~ Park Ranger Angela 

Students had the opportunity to work with park staff to complete data collection modules, monitor flora and fauna, and assist with monitoring of water quality and sedimentation. Through these experiences, kids learned more about pollution and water quality and how it can affect their own drinking water. The park hopes to foster a sense of stewardship in youth for the park and its resources, as well as the impact they have on their own communities. For many of these kids, this was their first visit to the park!

Help us support programs that get kids outdoors to explore and learn in our national parks!

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