What We Do and Why We Do It

First Hurricane Katrina, and now the BP Oil blowout in the Gulf, have underlined the importance of the message The Wetlands Institute has been delivering to people of all ages since our founding 40 years ago: Our very lives depend on sustaining healthy wetlands and coastal ecosystems. They cannot be taken for granted. They must be valued and protected.

Immediately after Katrina people lamented the earlier loss of tens of thousands of acres of wetlands that might have lessened the immense destruction of Katrina’s storm surges. And now, as thick brown rafts of escaped crude oil creep inexorably toward the shore, or descend slowly to smother the ocean bottom and the life that normally teems there, there looms the likely loss of hundreds of millions of dollars from tourism and fishing, and an immeasurable loss of all levels of marine life that sustain us.

We believe that people will value wetlands and coastal ecosystems if they understand how they work and why the health of those systems is so tightly intertwined with ours. That belief is the moving force behind all our programs.

Through our summer nature classes and lectures, through our giving hands-on learning to school children who visit us or are visited by our Outreach team, we have inspired youngsters to care about the environment and to become environmentally literate citizens (and maybe even scientists.)

Our Research and Conservation programs have given university students from around the globe invaluable field research experience, with positive impacts far beyond our facility. The internet is empowering us to reach every corner of the globe. So, from the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, to the marshes of Southeast Asia there are Coastal Conservation policies and programs in place that originated with us.