Exploring wetlands with youth
Are all wetlands the same? Are wetlands important? Help youth discover these unique natural resources.
Have you ever wondered what are wetlands? How does a wetland food web function? Are there organisms unique to wetlands? Encouraging youth to ask questions and helping them explore answers is a great way to strengthen science literacy in Michigan.
While exploring the wetlands with youth, help them explore the following questions:
- What are wetlands?
- Why are wetlands important?
- What is the difference between a fen and a bog or a marsh and a swamp?
- What types of organisms might be found in wetlands?
- Do plants have unique features to help them live in wetlands?
- Are there some organisms that might visit the wetlands but not live in them?
- Why might some animals just visit the wetlands?
- Are there food webs unique to the wetlands?
Help youth find and record evidence of a variety of wetland organisms from duck weed to dragonflies. Encourage them to brainstorm wetland predators and predator-prey relationships, and identify common carnivores, omnivores and herbivores found in the wetlands. Youth can also explore the parts of the littoral zones and identify plant types unique to each zone: emergent, floating, submerged and near shore zones.
You can help youth learn more about wetlands by visiting the U.S. EPA Wetlands website.
Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan 4-H Youth Development program help to create a community excited about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). 4-H STEM programming seeks to increase science literacy, introducing youth to the experiential learning process that helps them to build problem-solving, critical-thinking and decision-making skills. Youth who participate in 4-H STEM are better equipped with critical life skills necessary for future success.
To learn more about the positive impact of Michigan 4-H youth in STEM literacy programs, read our 2018 Impact Report: “Equipping Young People for Success Through Science Literacy.”
To learn more about MSU Extension, visit the MSU Extension website. To learn more about 4-H and Extension opportunities in Alcona County, stop by our Harrisville office at 320 S. State St. Harrisville, MI 48740, or visit us online at our Alcona County MSU Extension Facebook page or Alcona County Extension office page.