School Wetland Program

One of the most rewarding projects that Wetland Restoration and Training LLC is involved with are constructing wetlands at schools.  We take great pride in educating the next generation concerning the past, present, and future of wetlands with these outdoor classrooms. This page includes information regarding our Wetland Program for Educators.

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Historically, settlers of America saw wetlands as a nuisance. Thoughts of swamps, bogs, and moors brought to mind eerie images of monsters, beasts, and insects.  The consensus was to avoid or drain these foul breeding grounds, then use them for productive means. “Drying the land” was not only a precaution, but a necessity for people who needed to use the land for agriculture. Straightening streams & draining wetlands opened fields for farming. Preventing “wet land” was a ongoing battle that growing cities and families saw as a jeopardy.

Generations later people may still have aversions, but we have a better understanding and sense of importance for wetlands. Wetlands have so many functions and are so diverse that defining them is quite a problem. Many definitions exist but 3 common elements are almost always present: a hydric soil,  hydrophilic plants, and the ground is saturated with water for some period in the year.

We know now that wetlands serve as important areas for biodiversity, water reclamation, and soil conservation.  According to the EPA wetlands are second only to the ocean in the number of biota inhabiting them. They are natural recyclers of water; as water flows through them minerals, sediments, and contaminants are absorbed and transformed by the plants, animals, and bacteria that occupy the many niches available. They act as giant sponges, absorbing flood waters and slowly releasing them back into the system. Riparian and estuarine wetlands prevent shoreline erosion and prevent headwaters from overfilling.  Wetlands are commonly referred to as the “kidneys” of the environment and are a crucial resource worthy of  our attention.

 

This article discusses the how to combat declining amphibian populations with strategically located wetlands–those on school campuses.

This audio recording discusses the past and current conditions of wetlands of the Cape Cod region and the efforts of educators and local environmental and conservation groups  to involve students in wetland construction and restoration projects.  The discussion includes benefits to schools and the environment alike, and includes multiple guests from Mass Audubon, school science teachers, and Thomas Biebighauser.

This is a great document showing the benefits of wetland construction and outdoor classrooms at schools.

Below is a list  of wetlands Tom Biebighauser has helped build at schools:

If you are interested in Wetland Restoration and Training LLC constructing a wetland-related outdoor classroom at your school, please e-mail tombiebighauser@gmail.com with your request.

Preserving the future by restoring the past.