Aidons Emma à sauver les terres humides

L'auteure Karen King amène ses jeunes lecteurs marcher le long des terres humides avec Emma, une petite fille très curieuse. Emma parle à un oiseau qui lui expliquent que des arbres provenant d'autres régions ont commencé à envahir les terres humides. Et alors qu'elle continue sa marche, elle rencontre une autre petite fille dans les terres humides. La famille de cette petite fille trouvait dans les terres humides de la nourriture et des matériaux qu'elle utilisait pour faire des paniers. Toutefois, les roseaux que sa famille cueillait devenaient de plus en plus rares. Finalement, Emma rencontre un ver de terre que la pollution des terres humides étouffait.

Revenue chez elle, Emma explique à sa mère et à son père comment éviter les espèces exotiques des terres humides, comment conserver les terres humides propres et comment cueillir avec soin les roseaux pour qu'ils en restent suffisamment pour qu'ils puissent continuer à pousser!


Help Emma 
Save the Wetland

Karen King
November 2008

mma was a very curious little girl. She asked so many questions that her parents ran out of answers. One morning Emma heard her parents talking about problems with a wetland near her house.

"What's a wetland?" Emma asked.

"I'll tell you when you're older, Emma," her Mom said.

This did not make Emma very happy; she wanted to know now, so she packed an emergency sandwich and went to find this thing called "a wetland."

Soon Emma met a bird, so she asked him, "Where is a 'wetland'?"

"You are in a wetland. I live in this wetland because it has shelter, water and food," said the bird.

The bird had more answers than Emma had questions. He told Emma that a wetland is an area where the soil is wet, like near a river or pond. Plants and animals that like wet environments live in wetlands. He told Emma that trees sometimes grow in wetlands, but they should not grow right next to the river because then they use up too much water and the wetland gets too dry for the other plants and animals.

Emma's first visit to a wetland.
(Photo: Karen King)

"The problem," said the bird, "'is that new trees have started growing in this wetland. These trees are not from this area; people brought these trees from another country and have planted them here. Trees that come from the same area as the wetland they are in are called 'native' trees and trees from other places are called 'exotic' trees. The exotic trees drink much more water than native trees, and the wetland is getting drier and drier. What's even worse is that these trees are growing right next to the river. Can you please help me to make sure that there is enough water in the wetland for everyone?"

What should Emma do?

If you think she should plant some native trees next to the exotic trees, click here.

If you think she should plant more native trees in the wetland, but not next to the river, click here.

If you think she should remove the exotic trees from next to the river, click here.

Very pleased, but still full of questions, Emma walked further into the wetland.

"Hello," said a little girl, "Do you have any lunch for me? I am very hungry."

So Emma shared her emergency sandwich with the little girl, who explained to Emma that she was hungry because the food that she used to collect from the wetland was finished, and she could not find any more. She said that she could not find the special reeds, called glyceria, she used to pick in the wetlands either, so she and her mom could not make the reed baskets they sold to make money for food. The little girl asked Emma if she could help her.

Glyceria is used to weave baskets.
(Photo: Karen King)

What should Emma do?

If you think that she should tell the little girl that her family must stop using the wetlands for food and reeds, click here.

If you think that Emma should tell the little girl that her family should plant extra plants in the wetland, click here.

If you think that Emma should tell the little girl that her family can keep using the wetland, but that they should leave some of every type of plant in the wetland, so that more grow in the future, click here.

Just as she was leaving the wetland, Emma heard a small voice.

"Excuse me, can you please help?" a small earthworm asked.

The earthworm explained that he lived in the cleanest part of the wetland, because by the time the water has flowed through most of the wetland and to his house, the wetland soil has sucked up all the pollution in the area.

"Unfortunately," said the earthworm, "the new houses next to the wetland are making too much pollution for the wetland to clean. This is called 'changing the hydrochemistry of the wetland.' When the hydrochemistry of the wetland changes, we earthworms have to leave."

What should Emma do?

If you think that she should send all the earthworms to live in a new, clean home, click here.

If you think that she should add cleaning chemicals to the wetland, click here.

If you think that Emma should stop the owners of the new houses from sending their pollution into the wetland, click here.

Emma and her wetland friends.
(Photo: Karen King)

With her head full of answers, Emma walked home happily. When she arrived home, Emma's dad was saying that he was worried about how dry the wetland near their house was getting.

"Don't worry," said Emma, "all you need to do is remove all the exotic trees."

Emma's dad was very surprised.

Emma's mom said, "That sounds like a good idea, but what are we going to do about the wetland plants that have stopped growing? People need those plants to feed their families."

"Don't worry," said Emma, "there are still some small plants in the wetland. When these grow taller the people can still pick them, as long as they leave some of each kind behind every time, especially the glyceria."

Now Emma's mom was surprised too.

Emma's dad asked her another question, "If you know so much about wetlands, what can we do about keeping the wetland clean?"

"That's an easy one," said Emma. "Just tell the people who live next to the wetland to stop changing the hydrochemistry of the wetland by letting their pollution get into the wetland."

Emma's parents were quiet for a minute. Then they thanked Emma for her help and went to find out what "exotic trees," "Glyceria" and "hydrochemistry" meant.