Environmental Educator: Lindsay Seely

Lindsay Seely teaches Earth & Environmental Science at Dutchtown High School, where she uses a variety of lessons and activities that keep her students immersed in learning about our environment.

Q:  What subject(s) & grade(s) do you teach? 

A:  I teach Earth Science (11-12) and Environmental Science (10-12) in Ascension Parish at Dutchtown High School. 

Q:  Why is it important to you to teach about Louisiana wetlands, and how does it align with your teaching philosophy?   

A:  It is important to me to teach about our wetlands because they are at the core of who we are as Louisianians. They play such critical roles in our state and we are all impacted by them in one way or another. If students aren’t exposed to the environment that directly surrounds them, they are missing out on so much. I try to engage my students in a variety of ways to keep them interested in the content, and the best way to do that is to immerse them in activities that will get them involved in environmental education about our wetlands. I love being outside as well as sharing my passion and knowledge of the outdoors with my students, and I believe I am making a difference in their lives by getting them excited about our environment. 

Q:  In what ways do you encourage your students to be proactive/involved in environmental stewardship? 

A:  Because of my passion for the outdoors and personal experiences that have given me opportunities to learn more about our wetlands, I think it’s hard for them NOT to be encouraged by what they are learning in and out of my classroom. A lot of my students don’t realize how dire our situation is in Louisiana and want to take action after being in my class. I have had several former students contact me to tell me they changed their majors in college because of being in my class, and that is such a blessing to me to know I had that kind of impact on their lives. 

I am very adamant about recycling in my classroom so they quickly learn not to throw items away that should be recycled. Additionally, we are part of the LSU Coastal Roots Program (we grow native tree species on our campus and plant them in a local BREC park in the Baton Rouge area) which is a great way to get my students involved in being better stewards, and it is really eye-opening to them when they realize how important this work is to the environment. 

Q: Describe your favorite lesson/activity that you use in your classroom to teach about Louisiana  wetlands.   

A:  This is a tough one because I have had so many amazing experiences doing various workshops around our state, and I am able to take all of that information back to my classroom to share with my students. I guess if I had to pick one though it would probably have to do with water quality testing on campus and mapping stream/river pathways using the USGS Streamer website. The combination of these activities is a great way to show students the impacts they can directly have on our wetlands if they are not careful about how they dispose of their trash. My students made story maps about our local waterways and the pollutants that are found in them. I used this activity as my capstone project for my National Geographic Educator Certification two years ago and won a national award for the ESRI Teacher Challenge on how I use GIS in my classroom last year. It was very rewarding for me to see how much they appreciated this activity because it truly opened their eyes to issues going on around us in our part of the state. 

Q:  What would you say to a student who is hesitant or not interested in participating in a lesson about  Louisiana wetlands? 

A: I would tell them to take the time to experience being in one of our many wetlands throughout the state. I would hope they would come back to tell me how enjoyable it was or what a great learning experience it was. I might ask them a series of questions like “Do you enjoy hunting or fishing? Do you enjoy birdwatching? Do you enjoy nature photography? Do you enjoy eating Louisiana seafood? Do you enjoy recreational activities throughout our state?” If they answer “Yes” to any of these questions, then they have a connection to our wetlands. Making the content relevant to their lives is critical to keeping them interested, engaged, and motivated to be better environmental stewards. 

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