Wetland Warrior: Kellyn LaCour-Conant

Kellyn Lacour-Conant is currently working as the Restoration Programs Director at CRCL and pursuing a PhD in Urban Forestry at Southern University. Kellyn’s work in wetlands advocacy emphasizes environmental justice, traditional ecological knowledge, and intergenerational community building.

Q:  What is your job title and affiliation? 

A:  Restoration Programs Director, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL)  

Q:  How did you get started in this field and how long you’ve been doing this type of work? 

A:   In high school I joined the Student Conservation Association which gave me year round environmental education and work opportunities. Through green projects around Houston where I grew up and summer trailwork assignments around the country, I learned about restoration ecology from professional scientists. I’d grown up fishing, hunting, and being in nature, but the SCA really opened my eyes to environmental stewardship as a career path. Counting those formative years and the different roles I’ve served in since then, I’ve been working in restoration ecology for nearly 15 years.

Q:  Describe the part of your job/role that you enjoy the most. 

A:   I most enjoy working with community members and forging connections over our shared love of Louisiana. Folks from all walks of life are invested in a sustainable coast because we live, work, and play in this beautiful, unique delta landscape. It’s a great blessing that I can connect people to restoration opportunities and resources through my work.

Q: Describe the part of your job/role that you believe is the most impactful.   

A:   I think the most impactful part of my job is creating opportunities for concerned citizens to engage in hands on restoration work. Through planting projects, reef building, kayak tours, cleanups, and other works, we act as guides for concerned residents who might not interact with the coast or wildlife frequently but who want to be informed and helpful. We’re advancing coastal restoration but also creating experiential learning opportunities to create a more informed and empowered community.

Q:  What do you think is the best/easiest way people can help restore or preserve wetlands? 

A:  Eat oysters from a participating OSRP restaurant! Our oyster shell recycling program takes oyster shell from New Orleans restaurants to return them back into the water as brood reefs and shoreline protection. What better, tastier way is there to help restore wetlands than by sharing a couple dozen oysters with friends?

Q: In your opinion why is coastal restoration in Louisiana important? For folks out of state, why is Louisiana’s coastal restoration work important for the nation? 

A:   Coastal restoration is so important in Louisiana because we are the canary in the coal mine. As a delta state we inherit water quality issues from up the Mississippi. As a Gulf Coast state we see the impacts of sea level rise and more intense storms cause by climate change. As a state rich in wetlands but also industry we see how unsustainable practices can upset the balance between ecosystem health and economic needs. Louisiana is top in the nation for many resources enjoyed by the rest of the country – most notably seafood, and oil and gas. We also have some of the busiest ports in the country. Restoring our coast protects all the things we love about Louisiana – food, culture, wildlife, people, and more.

Q: Which wetland inhabitant (bird, fish, plant, etc) do you think best represents you? 

A:   Louisiana Black Bear

Upcoming opportunities to volunteer with CRCL

You can join Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana for the first Oyster Shell Bagging event at their new oyster shell recycling site in Violet, Louisiana on Saturday, November 13! CRCL’s Oyster Shell Recycling Program takes shell from participating New Orleans-based restaurants and uses it to restore oyster reefs and shoreline habitat across coastal Louisiana. As a volunteer, you will help prepare the shell for a future restoration project.​

Want to help with dune restoration? Join Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana for the Rutherford Beach Dune Restoration on November 19 and 20. They will be planting at least 10,000 plugs of native beach grass (bitter panicum) and installing sandfencing. This project will assist in growing and stabilizing beach dunes to prevent shoreline erosion and help create wildlife habitat.​

The planting will be positioned in front of recently installed breakwaters to protect state Highway 82/27 – a critical Hurricane Evacuation Route – from erosion. This volunteer event will occur just over a year after Hurricanes Laura and Zeta, both of which heavily impacted the Cameron coastline.​

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