The Louisiana Environmental Education Commission Hosts Award Ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion

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Environmental Awards Reception
In early June, the Louisiana Environmental Education Commission held its annual Arts and Language Arts Contest awards ceremony at the Louisiana Governor’s Mansion. Attendees included winners in each age category of both the art and language arts contests. Deputy Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and LEEC member, Dr. Alex Appeaning, addressed the award winners. Dr. Appeaning stressed the importance of protecting the watersheds in each community and how students can be active participates in promoting stewardship. Top overall winners in each category received a monetary prize presented in part by Alcoa Foundation. Following the ceremony, participates were invited to take a group picture with Louisiana Environmental Education Commission members in front of the Governor’s Mansion. For information on next year’s contest, check out the CWPPRA Newsflash on LaCoast.gov for announcements made by the Louisiana Environmental Education Commission.

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World Wetlands Day 2014

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HOUMA, La. – Monday, February 3rd was World Wetlands Day at the Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum. The day was filled with activities for students in grades 3-6, teaching them about different functions and values of wetlands in Louisiana. The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) Public Outreach team attended the event.

The primary focus of CWPPRA’s activity was to teach the students about the variety of wetland habitats and how each is important to Louisiana. Students learned about swamps, marshes, and barrier islands as well as techniques used by CWPPRA to preserve these areas.

Students participated in an activity called “Where the Wild Things Belong,” where the goal was to place the bean bag depicting a native species to Louisiana in the correct habitat. Approximately 240 students attended the Waterlife Museum throughout the day.

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Photos By: Cole Ruckstuhl

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West Bay Media Day

VENICE, La. – On Monday, September 16, 2013, the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) Outreach Team hosted a media day event at the West Bay Sediment Diversion (MR-03) project near Pilottown, La. The diversion was approved in 1992 and was one of the first projects under the CWPPRA program. The purpose of the Media Day was to show the success of the project thus far. Members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority were available for questions and interviews about the project. Media in attendance included WYES (a LPB affiliate out of New Orleans), WVUE – Fox 8, and Andre Lyons (an independent film producer).

In the coming days, look for more photos from the media day event on our Flickr site and Facebook Page.

West Bay Media Day

Photo by: Cole Ruckstuhl

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WETSHOP 2013

GRAND ISLE, La. – CWPPRA Public Outreach Staff worked with teachers in Grand Isle, LA this week. Teachers from around the state are learning about Louisiana’s wetlands. The teachers are participating in the one week “WETSHOP” training sponsored by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program. This one week field experience is a great way to give the teachers a first hand look at the importance of our wetlands.

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Morning in Grand Isle, La. – Photo by: Christy Flynn

 

Coastal Day at the Louisiana Capitol

BATON ROUGE, La. – On Tuesday May 7, 2013, the Coastal Builders association hosted the  annual Coastal Day with the Legislators at the state Capitol building. The CWPPRA Outreach had a booth set up in the main rotunda. Since both the state House and Senate were in session, it was a great opportunity to educate many representatives from around the state about the devastating impacts of Louisiana’s land loss and the great efforts of the CWPPRA projects to prevent future land loss and restore much of the lost areas.

District 91 Representative Walt Leger speaks with participants of Coastal Day about the importance of preserving Louisiana’s coast.

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Fête de la Terre 2013

LAFAYETTE, La. – On Friday April 19, 2013, CWPPRA Outreach staff participated in Fête de la Terre at the University of Louisiana. The event is held annually to celebrate Earth Day and engage students in different topics related to sustainability. Cole Ruckstuhl, CWPPRA Media Specialist, and Josh Coen, CWPPRA Outreach Intern, spoke with students about CWPPRA’s importance in securing the culture and economy for future generations.

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Photo Courtesy of: University of Louisiana at Lafayette Office of Sustainability

Exhibit captures a wetland culture of distinctiveness

March 14, 2013

THIBODAUX, La. – Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, oral historians, photographer, painter, and members  of the public joined together at the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve in Thibodaux, LA last night to celebrate wetlands and lives unique to Louisiana. Opening the event and art show titled “I Remember…” was Parish President Charlotte Randolph.

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With nearly 700 years of experience between the oral historians alone the tales, photos, and paintings communicated the story of living along a Louisiana’s fragile coastline. Oral historians recognized at the exhibit were:

  • Davie Breaux, operations manager at Port Fourchon, who explained the need for coastal restoration and how a lifetime of wetland use goes far beyond a job.
  • Cindy Cutrera who discussed how she and her family use the wetlands of Lake End Park near Morgan City for recreational purposes
  • Buddy Daisy and Earl Melancon who teamed up to weave the tale of being an oysterman in Louisiana. This matchless interview provided an exclusive view of the oyster business.
  • Brenda Dardar Robichaux, former Principal Chief of the United Houma Nations, gave a first-hand view of how the Native Americans of Louisiana are coping with the ever changing landscapes and the dire need for restoration.
  • Marietta Smith-Greene, landowner, described how family and legislative acts such as the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) are making a difference in coastal restoration.
  • Sue Laudeman, recently retired education curator of the Historic New Orleans Collection, recalled life as a girl in New Orleans and her relationship with the wetlands that surround the urban area.
  • Kerry St. Pé, executive director of the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program, examined the ongoing connection between man and nature and the delicate balances of conservationism.
  • Sherrill Sagrera, farmer, landowner, and CWPPRA activist, illustrated his ongoing crusade to educate people about the dangers of letting Louisiana’s vanishing wetlands slip away.
  • Eddie Sapia, a retired shrimper from Lafitte, delivered a first-hand account of wetland changes over his life.
  • Yancey Welch, crabber, alligator hunter, and family man of southwest Louisiana, articulated his conflicts with gators and hurricanes while showing great respect for distinctive ecosystem that surrounds him.

The entire oral histories can be accessed online at the LaCoast.gov website link http://lacoast.gov/new/GetInvolved/OralHistory.aspx

According to Lt. Gov. Dardenne the exhibit is important because “I don’t think there’s any greater challenge we face as a state than to make sure that the culture and the communities on this coast have a future.” 

Photographer Lane Lefort expressed that he has long wanted to tell the tale of the ordinary men and women who call Louisiana home. Spending years as a nature photographer, Lefort has met a host of local people who helped him find beautiful plants, animals, and habitats. In capturing wildlife, Lefort became acutely aware that humans’ interaction with nature should also be captured in photos. He noted that this art show reveals the story of the people of his home. 

Artist Marian Brister Martinez noted that, “Change is inevitable but memories are a part of what shapes us. We all have them. It’s important to pass these memories along to our children and grandchildren so they can have a sense of place and belonging in our families.” The art show is an extraordinary way to capture this unique culture and time in Louisiana history. 

The exhibit was created by the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act Task Force and Public Outreach Committee in an effort to develop beautiful still, digital, photograph portraits and in depth wetland related oral histories that record the unique culture and diversity of the peoples that live, work, and protect Louisiana. These portraits, photos, paintings, and oral histories are designed to engage the public in the value of defending and restoring delicate coastal habitats. The exhibit will remain open at 314 St. Mary Street, Thibodaux, LA through May 8, 2013. The public is invited to visit this free showing. 

For more information contact Cole Ruckstuhl, CWPPRA Public Outreach Media Specialist, at (337) 266-8542 or ruckstuhlc@usgs.gov.

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Watch CWPPRA’s New Video Today!

The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) Task Force is pleased to announce that they have produced a new video titled “Join CWPPRA- Make a Difference; Educate!” The short film highlights CWPPRA, the importance of wetland restoration education, and the new Urban Waters federal program. Children from the St. Benedict the Moor School in New Orleans, John Tubbs with the Department of Interior, Bill Honker from the Environmental Protection Agency, and Dinah Maygarden from the University of New Orleans join together to inspire people to learn more about Louisiana’s coastal ecosystems. During the film, fourth grade children remind the public to “do something good for the environment” and to become engaged by “plant(ing) plants in the marsh and help(ing) our community.” As evidenced by this film, the CWPPRA program believes that education is a fundamental part of environmental change. 

Take a few minutes to watch and listen to these children and experts teach you about the dire need for continued coastal habitat restoration and the connection to urban estuaries. Watch the film on the CWPPRA website at http://lacoast.gov/new/Pubs/videos.aspx or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNXwZjR4Icc Please share the link to the video with friends and colleagues! 

Special thanks to our video production team at WYES TV in New Orleans, LA and the students at St. Benedict the Moor School. 

For additional information contact CWPPRA Public Outreach Coordinator, Susan Testroet-Bergeron, at BergeronS@usgs.gov or 337-266-8626.

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Welcome to the Landmarks eNewsletter

The new Landmarks eNewsletter is now live. Check here regularly or subscribe to receive all of the latest posts. In the eNewsletter you will find short summaries about CWPPRA related current events and outreach activities. As we continue to develop, we hope to provide everyone with more access to information than ever before! We invite you to explore the eNewsletter and connect with us on our other social media platforms. Also, don’t forget to check out the great resources available on the LaCoast.gov website!

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