Compendium of Coastal, Wetland, and Restoration Information

Human Impacts

Project WILD – Lessons
Only available to teachers by attending a workshop. For information on how to sign up for a workshop email <>.

  • Ethi-Thinking (Pp. 303-304) – Students list activities that might be harmful to wild plants and animals.
  • Changing the Land (Pp. 345-352) – Humans affect biological communities in many ways. (This activity can also be used with the BTNEP Map.)

Educator’s Guide to the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary – Activities (BTNEP)
The BTNEP Educator’s Guide to the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary is a comprehensive, downloadble source of information and activities for formal and nonformal educators. Grades K-12.

  • Coastal Wetlands Needs You! (Activity 1-14) - Encourages the students to brainstorm ways they can contribute to solving and abating the problems associated with coastal land loss and habitat destruction. Students create a Citizen Action Brochure. Grades 2, 3, 5, 7, HS Biol.
  • Issue Analysis and Decision Making (Activity 1-13) - Students conduct research on potential restoration options, then discuss risks and benefits of a freshwater diversion project. Grades 7, 8, HS Env Sci.
  • Swamp Sweep Activity (3-11) - Focuses on debris found along a selected waterway within their community. Students conduct a scientific investigation and use the results to make a positive change toward solving the problem. Grade 7.

Spirit of the Estuary: Using Art to Understand Ecology – Activities (BTNEP)
A multi-disciplinary curriculum that addresses wetland environmental issues through the integration of fine art, language art, science, and social studies. Grades 6-12.

  • The Material of Culture (Activity 1-2) - Students research cultural artifacts; study the process of creating material culture; create an exhibit of Native American, African, and/or Cajun/Creole cultural artfacts.
  • To Build or Not to Build (Activity 1-3) - Students learn that Louisiana’s coast is disappearing at a catastrophic rate; compare and evaluate a variety of actual coastal restoration techniques; use accurate scientific terminology to discuss basic facts of coastal zone management; describe examples of current problems associated with land loss; develop a PSA to create an awareness of coastal land loss issues; analyze restoration projects that identify and remediate coastal and loss problems; prepare an evaluative presentation that critiques current practices.
  • Where Has All the Green Space Gone (Activity 1-4) - Students identify greenspace, natural areas and/or other important sites in the BTNE; research history of development in the BTNE; reflect on the ecological impact of urbanization; construct a green map; and communicate student findings to the community.
  • Architecture of the B-T Basin (Activity 1-7) - Students gather information on the characteristic features of the traditional architectural styles found in the Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary; organize the features in a graphic organizer; visit at least one historic building in their community; choose and draw a building that displays features of one of the traditional styles; contrast the traditional styles with modern architectural styles and discuss the importance of preserving historic buildings.
  • Form & Function of Boat Designs (Activity 1-8) - Students study, compare and contrast the design features of four boat types described in the handout The Form and Function of Louisiana Fishing Boats and on the Louisiana Folklife website; create a Venn diagram to highlight the similarities and differences between two fishing boat designs; draw their favorite fishing boat designs either from life (preferred if possible) or from a photograph; describe and explain in both oral and written form the design features they consider most important to the specific job their chosen boat does and how form follows function.

Wetland Loss: Digging of Canals – Activities (CWPPRA/USGS)
Illustrates the destruction of wetlands that resulted from the digging of canals for oil and gas exploration in the coastal wetlands and cypress logging in the swamps. Grades 4-8.

Salt Marsh Habitat of the Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary – Activity Book (BTNEP)
BTNEP Activity Book. To obtain a copy call 800-259-0869. Free upon request.

  • From Marsh to Marina (Pp. 21-23) - Shows the changes that can occur in a marsh and how humans have impacted the area to meet their needs.
  • Why Are We Losing Salt Marsh? (Pg. 24) - Shows how land loss occurs through natural causes and man’s activities.

Rescuing the Treasure – Video Clips (BTNEP)
A sequel to “Haunted Waters, Fragile Lands,” this video describes the importance of estuaries and restoration techniques.

  • Tourism (Clip 4) - Presents aspects of the ecosystem that attract visitors who can’t see these attractions anywhere else in the world.
  • Problems of the Future (Clip 7) - Shows consequences of wetland loss. Students are asked to think about what they can do to help with this situation.
  • Solutions and the Future (Clip 8) - Gives possible future solutions to help prevent the loss of our wetlands. BTNEP brings citizens, public officials and scientists together to come up with solutions. Citizen involvement is one of the most effective ways to save our wetlands.
  • This is Our Future (Clip 9) - Shows how Louisiana’s wetlands help the whole United States, not just Louisiana (seafood industry, oil and gas industry, recreational activities, wildlife, etc.).

EstuaryLive! – Activities (BTNEP)
Investigates the rich bounty of organisms in the Barataria-Terrebonne ecosystem, the delicate balance between the natural environment and human impacts, and the estuary’s importance to the nation.

  • Hypoxia: Root of the Dead Zone - A bar graph helps students understand effects of hypoxia on the wetlands.

Lafourche Parish: From the Beginning – Activities (BTNEP)
A comprehensive guide to Lafourche Parish, its history, culture, and resources. Activities will help students better understand this important Louisiana parish. All files are in Adobe format and are downloadable from this site. Grades 6-12.

  • A Quote From Mark Twain - A gem of wisdom from the great author.
  • Interpreting Twain's Quote Activity - Students express their responses to what is happening today in south Louisiana.
  • Early Man in Louisiana - Information and maps describing prehistoric settlers of the bayou.
  • Bayou Indians Activity - Students research crafts, lifestyles, and customs of the bayou’s original inhabitants, and create an object that reflects a part of their heritage.
  • Researching the Bayou Indians - Students select a tribe to research and answer questions about tribal relationships with the Federal Government.
  • European Man in Louisiana - History of the settling of Louisiana by explorers and people of various nationalities.
  • Investigating European Man in Louisiana Activity - A worksheet helps students recall key events and people in local history.
  • Sugar Time Activity - Students create a timeline of the growth and development of the sugar industry.
  • Louisiana Oil Industry - Describes both the importance of the local oil industry and how it threatens the ecosystem.

Empty Oceans – Lesson Plan (NOAA)
How does the human population affect the population of marine species? What can citizens do to sustain seafood populations? Grades 6-8.

National Marine Sanctuaries – Activities (NOAA)
Explore our national marine sanctuaries and learn about habitats and human impacts.

Oceans Connecting a Nation – Activities
Urges students to consider the impact humans are having on the oceans. Grades 8-12.

Blue Frontier Oceans for Life – Lesson Plans
Multimedia approach promotes ocean exploration and conservation. Underwater expeditions to National Marine Sanctuaries provide case studies and data for lesson plans. Topics include: biological oceanography; ocean regions and habitats; physical ocean process; human links to and impacts on the ocean; applications of oceanography. Virtual expeditions link the classroom experience with the individual National Marine Sanctuaries, research methods and technology, and researchers' experiences. Free, on line teacher workshops feature top ocean researchers and policy makers.

Keep Away – Lesson Plan (NOAA)
Students discuss the meaning of biological diversity and compare and contrast the concepts of variety and relative abundance as they relate to biological diversity. Given information on the number of individuals, number of species, and biological diversity at a series of sites, students make inferences about the possible effects of oil drilling operations on benthic communities.

The Dead Zone – Lesson Plan (NOAA)
Inquiry-based lesson on what causes hypoxic conditions that produce the “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico. The maps from this pdf are an excellent resource for studying watershed issues. Grades 9-12 but may be adapted for a younger audience.

Human Disturbances of the Estuaries (NOAA)
Data on fertilizers and toxic substances that damage coastal areas.

Waterlife: Where Rivers Meet the Sea – Activities (NOAA)
Interactive story based on estuarine environment introduces the estuary, its diverse ecosystems, tidal influences, restoration efforts, and marine debris. Emphasizes personal responsibility and care for environment. (NOTE: This product in still in the development stages, keep visiting the website for more details.)

Who Moved the Beach? – Lesson Plan (NOAA)
Identify the primary causes and impacts of coastal erosion, and how human communities should respond to this process. For advanced 8th (Honors), and 9-12th graders.