Teacher Resources and Workshops
Every summer, LDWF hosts the Wetland Education Teacher Workshop, or WETshop, a week-long, coastal awareness workshop for teachers. Through WETshop, teachers work with scientists to learn about Louisiana coastal wetlands, issues, and history. WETshop focuses on making teachers into wetland stewards so they can educate their coworkers and students in their home parishes about coastal land loss and restoration. Workshop experiences provide teachers ideas to incorporate Louisiana phenomena-based science into the classroom at all grade levels. After teachers complete the workshop, we encourage them to implement a 6-hour wetland stewardship project in their parish with their students and community.
During WETshop, teachers will learn about and experience:
- Fisheries management
- Research trawling and seining
- Barrier islands and their role in coastal health
- Coastal botany and ornithology, including a visit to a brown pelican rookery
- Water quality testing along fresh to saltwater gradient
- Visits to transitional coastal ecosystems
- A tour of one of the largest oil ports in the United States
- Visits to coastal restoration and oil spill impact sites
- The role of invasive species in coastal land loss.
Participating teachers will receive a Wonders of Wetlands teacher guidebook and numerous classroom resources and have the opportunity to network with wetland scientists. They will also earn 55 professional contact hours after completing this workshop. There is a stipend available for participating teachers for both the summer workshop and implementation of the stewardship project during the following academic year.
Aquatic Education Activity Books
LDWF offers teachers free aquatic education activity books for their students. All of these books are correlated to the Louisiana Student Science Standards. The following books are currently available:
Fishing for Fun
- For K-3rd grade
- Learn about respect, ethics, and safety
- Educational activities about the food chain
- Fishing tips
- Pictures to color
Booker Fowler Fish Hatchery and the Story of Finny the Fingerling
- For K-6th grade
- Learn about the largest fish hatchery in Louisiana
- Learn about fish life cycles
- Fish facts on rearing fish, habitat, fish identification, and more
- Helpful Fishionary (dictionary)
Let’s Go Fishing!
- For 4-6th grade
- Interactive book with student activities and student-guided research on fish adaptations/anatomy, food webs, invasive species, habitat, fish identification, fish spawning, and more; includes a glossary
- Online teacher resources including videos, aquatic lesson plans, and background information
Only one order per school, please—one teacher order the total number of books requested from all teachers for the school.
When you have finished teaching from your aquatic education activity book, please submit the number of hours you spent teaching content from the book via our online form. Instructions will be provided with your book order. The important information on this form will allow LDWF to acquire federal funds for aquatic education and continue to offer these free activity books to Louisiana teachers and students.
Native Fish in the Classroom
LDWF and Louisiana Sea Grant partnered to create Native Fish in the Classroom—a hands-on, classroom-based aquaculture stewardship project for middle and high school students to learn about fisheries management, fish biology, and aquatic natural resources by growing native Louisiana fish (paddlefish) from eggs to fingerlings (fingerlings are juvenile fish, about the size of a finger). Toward the end of the school year, the fingerlings will get released in a pre-approved riverine habitat.
The application period is currently closed for this school year and will reopen in Spring 2024. The deadline to submit the application is June 30th of each year.
How to Participate
Any 6th through 12th grade teacher in Louisiana can apply to participate; however, this program is geared more towards science-based content. The teacher’s school must show support for the teacher and the project; principals must submit a letter of support.
Approved teachers must attend a training workshop covering biology, fisheries management, aquaculture maintenance, importance of native species, and stewardship. LDWF provides teachers with a manual that covers background information, lessons, and aquaria setup & maintenance. They also provide equipment (tank, tank accessories, and supplies) and support (contacts for LDWF biologists and past Native Fish in the Classroom teachers).
Teachers are responsible for picking up eggs and returning fingerlings to a site selected and approved by LDWF.
- July/August: teachers attend training workshop
- Fall: teachers/students set up and maintain classroom tank with native fish (bluegill or catfish) provided by LDWF
- January/February: teachers attend winter workshop to prep for the spawn event
- March: teachers/students attend a field trip to the Booker Fowler Fish Hatchery to observe the paddlefish spawn event and receive eggs
- March through April/May: rearing of fish to fingerling size
- Late April/early May: teacher/students attend the release event in the Mermentau River Basin in Jennings, LA
- Their spawning cycles coincide with the spring semester of school year.
- Their eggs are large enough to view with the naked eye.
- They have distinctive life-stages and develop into fingerlings in about 1-½ months.
- They are a protected species of conservation concern in Louisiana.
- They are a living fossil—they have evolved with few changes since their earliest fossil records dated back to 70 to 75 million years ago.