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Press Release

U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
National Wetlands Research Center
700 Cajundome Blvd.
Lafayette, LA 70506

Contact: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Phone: 337-266-8655
Fax: 337-266-8541
For Release: April 6, 1999

[Note: This CD was developed in 1998, re-released in 2005, and is no longer available. The software is obsolete, leaving the content inaccessible.]

New CD-ROM Features Black Bears and Songbirds

Thanks to a partnership between the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a new tool is now available to help middle school children and the general public learn about wildlife in the Mississippi River Valley.

The "Black Bears and Songbirds of the Lower Mississippi River Valley" is a multi-media CD-ROM that educators can use to inform students of the importance of the forested wetlands and some of the animals, such as the Louisiana black bear and songbirds, that depend on forested wetlands. The highly interactive CD-ROM features audio and video clips of wildlife and research biologists who study them.

The CD was developed to generate interest in one of the most biologically diverse, but least recognized, ecosystems in the Lower Mississippi River Valley. "Presently, educators and the public can find materials on Australia's great barrier reef and the Amazon rain forest but have difficulty locating information about this incredible resource that exists in their own backyards. This CD provides current and scientifically accurate information about the biological issues in the Lower Mississippi River Valley," said Dr. Robert E. Stewart, director of the USGS National Wetlands Research Center.

Dave Fruge, field supervisor for the USFWS Lafayette Field Office, said, "This is an exciting educational tool that showcases some of the outstanding wildlife values of the Lower Mississippi river ecosystem in a way that is both fun and informative. I think it will help students and all of us to be better stewards of our natural resources."

The CD has been reviewed by several practicing teachers and is currently being used in several classrooms. It is divided into four sections, the first of which covers the biology and habitat requirements for many songbirds that nest in the forested wetlands. The second section addresses the biology and habitat requirements of Louisiana's largest land mammal, the black bear.

The third section explores the changing land use of the Lower Mississippi River Valley and how these changes affect the way humans and wildlife interact. Additionally, it explains what the government and local groups are doing to maintain populations of several wildlife species. The fourth section contains quizzes to test environmental knowledge.

A teacher's guide in the CD correlates CD interaction with state and national standards in science and history. In addition, the guide contains objectives, recommended activities, and suggested assignments.

The CD has been mailed to all Louisiana middle school science teachers and libraries. Additional copies may be obtained by teachers or others in education-related fields by calling the Black Bear Conservation Committee at 225-763-5425. Copies will also be available through science teacher conventions, environmental meetings, workshops and in-service training. Copies may also be requested on the Internet at by clicking on "Outreach/Education," then "Free Stuff."

For additional information about forested wetlands, black bears, or songbirds, consult the following web sites:

or call USFWS at 337-291-3101 or BBCC at 225-763-5425.

The "Black Bears and Songbirds in the Mississippi River Valley" CD-ROM is the second in a series of three being produced by the National Wetlands Research Center's Electronics Technology Development Team. The first was "Louisiana Wetlands Functions and Values," and the third is "Explore Coastal Louisiana," soon to be released. For more information, contact Scott Wilson at 337-266-8644 or

As the nation's largest water, earth and biological science and civilian mapping agency, the USGS works in cooperation with more than 2000 organizations across the country to provide reliable, impartial, scientific information to resource managers, planners, and other customers. This information is gathered in every state by USGS scientists to minimize the loss of life and property from natural disasters, to contribute to the conservation and the sound economic and physical develpment of the nation's natural resources, and to enhance the quality of life by monitoring water, biological, energy, and mineral resources.

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