Many of the cadets went on a swamp tour while the ship was in port. Swamp touring is done in an airboat, which is a flat bottomed boat that is propelled by a giant fan. Since airboats do not use a motor or a rudder for propulsion the airboat can travel over places where normal boats cannot go, such as shallow rocky water, swamps, marshes, and even grass.
Your airboat floats lazily in the swamp under the shade of cypress trees laden with Spanish moss. During the trip, the captain may lure a 10-foot gator alongside the hull so you can take pictures. He points out long-legged waterfowl waiting to scoop up their dinner with long, pointed beaks and deadly snakes (observed from a safe distance, of course).
The Louisiana ecosystem has 40% of the coastal wetlands of the continental United States. This translates to about 7,000 square miles of some of the most diverse habitats in the world. Many of which are swamp lands characterized as any area holding water and having woody vegetation. In Louisiana, the key species are Cypress and Tupelo-gum. Spanish Moss is very common in swamps.
Here is another model building activity to try.
Try this activity on ecosystems and swamps
Learn more about swamp ecosystems here.