The Environmental Leadership Awards for 2015 were presented at DEQ in late March. The recipients of these awards have projects that improve the environment — not because they are required to, but because they care. They are environmental leaders. These projects go above and beyond standards and come in all shapes and sizes.
The first award of the afternoon was presented to the Harry Hurst Middle School Wetland Watchers from Destrehan, a program that promotes service learning. Fifteen students, wearing green Swamp School Wetland Watchers T-shirts and representing 250 sixth, seventh and eighth grade students, joined their teacher, Barry Guillot, to receive the award. These students won for participating in service activities to improve their local habitat and raise environmental awareness through outreach.
DEQ Secretary Peggy Hatch, Senate Environmental Quality Committee Chair Mike Walsworth, and House of Representatives Natural Resources and Environmental Committee Chair Gordon Dove presented the awards.
The students, also accompanied by their principal, Steven Guitterrez, received the Special Recognition Award in Community Environmental Outreach for their school.
“It is a great honor for the Hurst Middle Wetland Watchers Project to be selected by the Environmental Leadership Awards Committee with a Special Recognition Award,” Guillot said. “There are so many wonderful environmental education projects in Louisiana that it is exciting to see my students and partners singled out for the hard work and effort put into every Wetland Watcher outreach and service event.”
“The students were so impressed with how pretty the trophy is, the fact that there was a senator and a representative present for the awards, and that they got interviewed on television,” Guillot continued. “Most of all the students were able to look at the Wetland Watchers Project through the eyes of others and see how big of a difference they are making through their service and outreach efforts. These students have grown up with Wetland Watchers as a part of their community with older siblings and relatives participating, so it is easy for them to think that all students get these opportunities. To have some of the other award winners approach the students after the ceremony to tell them how much they admire the work that they do and all the places they have seen Wetland Watcher students presenting was a very proud moment.”
Jean Lockwood Kelly
Public Information Officer