Exploring Nature with I-SWAMP: a wetland adventure for middle school kids in the Dolomites!

Jun 15, 2023

On May 30th, more than 60 children and six teachers took part in a guided tour of La Zopa wetland, a system of three small pools in a marshy environment along the Boite river in San Vito di Cadore. The participants were the middle school first classes from Sarmede, Fregona and Cappella Maggiore under IC Cappella Maggiore school board. The students were thus able to discover that unique and precious wetlands are often found close to home, just waiting to be discovered, valued and protected.

The kids took turns at La Zopa and in the woods behind TESAF’s Center for Alpine Environment Studies (University of Padova). With Giulio Menegus (assistant researcher), representing I-SWAMP, they visited the wetland, observed the butterflies and the common frogs (Rana temporaria) and looked for a group of wetland plants adapted to different water regimes; with our lab technician Samuele they instead learned to recognize the main forest species present in the area; with Gaia (our post-doc) they did an activity on solar radiation and meteorology. These experiences, integrated with one another, allowed the children to have an overview of the environment and to start to understand how rich is the biodiversity of the region they live in, and that this richness can be preserved only protecting different habitats, including small, overlooked wetlands.