Marsh Maneuvers is:
- 4 weeks of camps
- 4-H high school students from across the state
- 4 parishes at each camp
- 4 days to see, learn about and gain an appreciation
for Louisiana's Coastal environment
1989, over 600 high school 4H students from all across Louisiana
have had the unforgettable experience of walking in marsh
mud, swatting mosquitoes and watching the sunrise over the
marsh. This sometimes grueling but rewarding experience
also etched in their minds the wonder, complexity, value
and productivity of Louisiana’s coastal environment
also known as America’s Wetlands.
Maneuvers is an educational program of the LSU AgCenter
in cooperation with the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program
and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
While the program was held in the Barataria watershed (1993-2003),
the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program was a
major contributor to this award winning program. Beginning
in 2004, Marsh Maneuvers moved to Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge
in Grand Chenier, Louisiana. Starting in 2007, the Louisiana
Department of Natural Resources became a major sponsor for
the camps. The McIhenny Company also cooperated with this
project by arranging coastal restoration activities near
the move to Rockefeller Refuge comes a newly updated curriculum
that focuses on the marshes of the Chenier Plain ecosystem
and Teche-Vermilion, Mermentau and Calcasieu watersheds.
Students experienced the biological diversity and complexity
of this environment by examining the life cycles and habitat
requirements of wetland flora and fauna. They participated
in evaluating environmental quality through water testing
and examining the hydrology of the watershed basins and
the coast. Exercises in natural resource management helped
the students appreciate the difficulty in balancing social
needs and environmental consequences. Some of the activities
used to illustrate these concepts include: fishing, crabbing,
cast netting, water chemistry testing, wildlife observation,
seafood processing, boating, policy debates and more.
week long camps were held in July. Four sessions were held
with students from 16 different parishes participating.
Parish participation is rotated so that students from all
64 Louisiana parishes have an opportunity to attend every
three or four years.
The LSU AgCenter and Sea Grant provided two Fisheries/Watershed
agents as instructors and two 4H agents as chaperones for
each camp session. The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
provide an aquatic education specialist at each camp as
well as provide the dormitory facility and boat transportation.
Thanks to the grant from the Louisiana Department of Natural
Resources and the cooperation of the participating agencies,
this opportunity was offered to the students free of charge.
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