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Students Help Restore Wetlands

Examiner
Jill Bellenger
June 7, 2010


The National Aquarium teamed up with area schools on Monday to restore the Westport Waterfront Wetlands, which will help renew the ecology of the Middle Branch River.

Students from Westport Academy Middle School donned waterproof boots and Kevlar gloves for the interactive environmental lesson.

"The kids around here don't have access to the bay that often, even though it's right in their back yard. It's hard for them to come out often, so to provide that access to these students is one of the reasons we're bringing them out here," said Laura Bankey of the National Aquarium.

The students helped restore the wetlands by releasing striped bass back into the water and by digging in the mud and planting smooth cord grass that provides a natural habitat for wetland animals.

The students said they know it's important to keep those animals around and healthy.
"If they disappear, things that eat them disappear and, eventually, it'll cause a chain effect, and humans will be affected by that," said eighth grade student Arnaya Murdock.

"When we throw trash and stuff in the water -- that kills animals. They might mistake it for food," said sixth grade student Edward Williams.

The students have been learning about the bay and the surrounding ecosystem in their classrooms. The wetlands lesson was one that many said will stick with them long after school is out.

"We'll have hands-on experience about things instead of just learning about it and not actually trying to do it," Murdock said.

More school groups will be out to help finish the project that's expected to be done at the end of the week.


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