Students test Labranche for pollution to compare us to the world

March 19, 2008 at 9:18 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Students test Labranche for pollution to compare us to the world
Soil, water and air testing may seem like a mundane and boring lesson when read from text books or performed with mock samples inside the classroom. That's one of the reasons Katy Higgins and her 45 students from Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy in Jefferson Parish visited the LaBranche Wetlands.

"I'm teaching the students about the wetlands and their importance," Higgins said. "I wanted them to get a real life sense of what they're learning in the classroom."
Data collected about the wetlands by the students will be reviewed by Higgins and sent to several websites on the Internet that are geared towards helping preserve the wetlands.

"We will compare our data with other places with similar bodies of water to get an idea of how well we rate or measure up to other places around the world," she said.
Higgins wants the students to have a greater appreciation for the coastline.

 "I think the students got a clear grasp of what's going on out here," she said. "One of the students said she'd heard about how the coast line needed to be rebuilt out by the lake and out by the wetlands, but she never really understood it until she saw it first hand."

One of the most valuable functions of wetlands is their ability to filter sediments, nutrients and chemical pollutants from the water.

"The students also looked at various temperatures of the soil," she said. "They even tested the air quality for ultra violet rays, which tied into a lesson they were learning about the importance of using sunscreen to protect the skin from cancer."

The kids took all of the lessons they learned about the air, water and soil and combined them. They also helped plant trees along the marsh to protect the lakeshore.

"The students planted cypress, oak and pecan trees," Higgins said. "This will help to restore some of what was lost because of the hurricane, but we know there's a long way to go."

Students from St. Charles Parish will be visiting the wetlands next week.

View other articles written Shonna Riggs

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