The Wetland Wagon

Thanks to an award from Awesome Tallahassee, we are rolling our striped newt research into classrooms near you!  This school year we are initiated a new program:  The Wetland Wagon.  We know not every teacher can take advantage of What Lives in the Wetland and bring their students out to our research site, so we are bringing our research to the classroom.  Our goal is to reach at least 150 5th graders – high schoolers this year.

Releasing an adult striped newtFor the past six years, Coastal Plains Institute has been working to repatriate a salamander species, the striped newt, which  disappeared from the Apalachicola National Forest.  Our research site lies just south of Tallahassee, and centers around a unique landscape feature called ephemeral wetlands.  While we do offer field trips, not every student in Tallahassee can come out to our wetlands.  Our Wetland Wagon program will bring our research and the wetlands into the classroom!


Our Wagon will bring the unique amphibian species that depend on ephemeral wetlands to the students along with an engaging, educational standards-aligned lesson plan.  Because this a new program and we don’t yet have a set ‘product’, the lessons can be tailored to teachers’ needs and objectives.

Through this program, students still will be able to meet a scientist and learn about our native ecosystem, scientific research, and the uniqueness of ephemeral wetlands.  Teachers will have assistance teaching often-misunderstood standards using real-life field science, and we will be able to increase our impact in the community, spreading the knowledge of our work beyond our current method.

Contact Rebecca for more info or to schedule your Wetland Wagon program (

In addition to most of the Practice of Science/Nature of Science standards, here are a list of education standards we can address:

  • SC.5.E.7.1 – Create a model to explain the parts of the water cycle. Water can be a gas, a liquid, or a solid and can go back and forth from one state to another.
  • SC.5.L.15.1 – Describe how, when the environment changes, differences between individuals allow some plants and animals to survive and reproduce while others die or move to new locations.
  • SC.5.L.17.1 – Compare and contrast adaptations displayed by animals and plants that enable them to survive in different environments such as life cycles variations, animal behaviors and physical characteristics.
  • SC.6.E.7.4 – Differentiate and show interactions among the geosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere.
  • SC.7.E.6.6 – Identify the impact that humans have had on Earth, such as deforestation, urbanization, desertification, erosion, air and water quality, changing the flow of water.
  • SC.7.L.15.3 – Explore the scientific theory of evolution by relating how the inability of a species to adapt within a changing environment may contribute to the extinction of that species.
  • SC.7.L.17.1 Explain and illustrate the roles of and relationships among producers, consumers, and decomposers in the process of energy transfer in a food web.
  • SC.7.L.17.3 – Describe and investigate various limiting factors in the local ecosystem and their impact on native populations, including food, shelter, water, space, disease, parasitism, predation, and nesting sites.
  • SC.912.L.17.4 – Describe changes in ecosystems resulting from seasonal variations, climate change and succession.
  • SC.912.L.17.6 – Compare and contrast the relationships among organism including predation, parasitism, competition, commensalism, and mutalism.
  • SC.912.L.17.7 – Characterize the biotic and abiotic components that define freshwater systems, marine systems and terrestrial systems.
  • LACC.K12.W.2.6 – Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
  • LACC.K12.W.4.10 – Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.