Norco Resident Milton Cambre Recognized with “Spirit of the Wetlands” Award: Award Named in His Honor to be Presented Annually Through the Wetland Watchers Project!
caption id=”attachment_508″ align=”aligncenter” width=”374″ caption=”Norco resident, Mr. Milton Cambre recently holding the trophy after being honored by having a new annual award created in his honor and being the first recipient of the Milton L. Cambre Spirit of the Wetlands award that recognizes people in the community that go above and beyond volunteering to improve their community and environment. Photo by Irvin Weber”][/caption]
Norco resident, Milton Cambre was recently awarded the first annual “Spirit of the Wetlands” award. Mr. Cambre has been an advocate of conserving and restoring the LaBranche Wetlands for over 40 years. He recognized early on how important the wetland area is to our community and has backed up his beliefs with action. Mr. Cambre worked with the local industry and government to rebuild and protect acres of wetlands along the Lake Pontchartrain shoreline. He never turns down a chance to mentor young people in various environmental projects. He often takes photographers, educators, and other interested visitors on tours throughout the area sharing his years of knowledge of how things used to be and his hope of how things can be. Most recently, Mr. Cambre has spent countless hours working with the St. Charles Parish Recreation Department and the Sheriff’s Office building a wooden boardwalk nature trail at Wetland Watchers Park. “Some people my age ride bikes or walk to stay active” laughs the 74 years young Cambre, “I keep in shape by building nature trails.” Most importantly he has served as a role model for thousands of students through the Wetland Watchers Service-Learning Project. The Hurst Middle Wetland Watchers Service-Learning Project and the St. Charles Parish Schools Satellite Center are teaming up to sponsor the “Milton L. Cambre Spirit of the Wetlands” award that annually recognizes people in our region that go above and beyond volunteering for the improvement of our community and our environment. “I often tell people that Mr. Milton is the spirit of the Wetland Watchers Project.” said Hurst teacher Barry Guillot who created the Wetland Watchers Project 12 years ago, “Mr. Milton is the spirit of wetland conservation and a model of environmental volunteerism. Mr. Milton is my hero and I cannot think of anyone more deserving to have an environmental award named in their honor.” Guidelines and a nomination form for the 2010 Milton L Cambre Spirit of the Wetlands award will be released in August 2010 and will be presented at the Wetlands Reveillon in December 2010.[
Gator Aid – Alabama Artist, Celebrities Support Wetland Watchers Service-Learning Project
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Birmingham artist Don Stewart has teamed up with an energetic group of middle school students, creating a new piece of art that will help restore part of the LaBranche Wetlands along the shores of Lake Ponchartrain.
The seventh and eighth graders of Harry Hurst Middle School in Destrehan, LA are working to preserve and expand the wetlands in their area through activities integrated into the curriculum led by award-winning science teacher, Barry Guillot.
“Mr. Barry discovered my work hanging in the LaPlace McDonald’s restaurant, and contacted me about doing something to promote the Wetland Watchers project,” Stewart said. Last April Mr. Guillot invited Stewart to visit the school, and see the wetland restoration project firsthand. “The kids asked me to come up with an alligator picture made out of things native to the wetlands and to the New Orleans area to help raise awareness for the importance of Louisiana wetlands to the rest of the nation,” said Stewart. “They gave me a long list of items that they would like to see in the design, and I started working from their suggestions.””. Composite refers to the artist’s characteristic drawing style, creating large pictures from a number of smaller images. The Gator Aid drawing includes over 100 items including a street car, po-boy, French Quarter balconies, local sports teams, and a wide variety of fish, birds, and other wildlife!
“Don Stewart has created a masterpiece with the Gator Aid drawing! Everybody that sees it is so excited because it is creative, it is beautiful, and it includes so many items that represent who we are and where we live. It has a little of everything for all people that love Louisiana, New Orleans, and the beautiful wetlands that we have here! Mr. Don has created a work of art that inspires pride for our local population reminding us of all the great things that we have here and will serve as a wonderful ambassador for Louisiana wetlands around the nation” says Hurst teacher Barry Guillot.
During the visit, some of the students wanted to know how Stewart creates his drawings, so he has been keeping them up to date on the project, sending sketches by e-mail to show them how the drawing is developing, step by step. Guillot created a web page detailing the progress of the drawing, from initial sketches to the finished composite:
Prints of the Gator Aid drawing will be released on December 6th, at the Wetlands Reveillon which is a fundraising gala at the Destrehan Plantation’s Mule Barn coordinated by Hahnville and Destrehan High students through their work at the St. Charles Parish Schools’ Satellite Center. Half of the proceeds from print sales will be donated to support the students work with creating interpretive materials for Wetland Watchers Watchers Park.
In addition, a number of celebrities with New Orleans connections will be signing copies of Stewart’s drawing, which will be auctioned at the fundraiser. Chef Emeril Lagasse, musicians Dr. John and Branford Marsalis, and exercise guru Richard Simmons have all agreed to autograph Gator Aid prints, in support of the Wetland Watchers program.
The Wetlands Reveillon will include an incredible dinner created by the Satellite Center’s culinary team, entertainment by Amanda Shaw and the Cute Guys, the release of Don Stewart’s Gator Aid drawing, and a silent auction including works of art, a kayak filled with fishing gear, signed sports memorabilia, and package deals for local restaurants and tours! More information about the Wetlands Reveillon can be found at awetlandsreveillon.org. Information about purchasing a Gator Aid print after December 6th can be found at dsart.com.
The Hurst Middle Wetland Watchers participated in the NBA New Orleans Hornets Save the Wetlands Night at the New Orleans Arena! 216 students, teachers, and their families as well as partners from the Destrehan WISE Club and the Satellite Center had a fantastic time at the game against the LA Clippers. 60 of the Hurst students were able to go on the court to high five the players pregame and half time and our students were on the huge screen 3 times during the night hamming it up! Wetland Watchers Coordinator, Hurst teacher Barry Guillot, was interviewed by Joe Block as a guest on the Hornets radio half time show.
Wetland Watchers Receive Grant Award and Present at Brown Foundation Service-Learning Kick-off Event!
Hurst Middle School Wetland Watchers received $3,555 through grants from the Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation to fund school service-learning projects. Students and teachers were able to attend the Brown Foundation Service-Learning Celebration which involved over 1,000 students and teachers from 9 Louisiana parishes.
As part of the Hurst Middle Wetland Watcher Service-Learning Project, students are trained how to hold and present a variety of wetland animals. Students research facts and create scripts for presentations during outreach events. OVer the past 11 years, students have presented to over 400,000 people across southeastern Louisiana!
Service Learning Meets Service Drawing
“Mr. Barry discovered my work hanging in a local McDonald’s restaurant, and contacted me about doing something to promote the Wetland Watchers project,” Stewart said. “We decided on a composite drawing of an alligator, made out of things native to the wetland, and to the New Orleans area”. Composite refers to the artist’s characteristic drawing style, creating large pictures from a number of smaller images.
Stewart received input directly from the students, who gave the artist a long list of items to include in the drawing. In return, he has been keeping them up to date on the project, sending sketches by e-mail to show them how the drawing is developing, step by step.
“We plan to have an unveiling of some sort in December,” Stewart said. Guillot has an impressive number of corporate sponsors backing his efforts, and is also in contact with the Louisiana Lt. Governor’s office. The idea will be to sell prints of the alligator drawing to promote the Wetland Watchers.
Donald B. Stewart, M.D.
DS Art ™ Studio Gallery
2805 Crescent Avenue
Birmingham, AL 35209
Hurst teacher, Barry Guillot and some of his students were recently invited to share their experiences and information about the LaBranche Wetland Watchers Service-Learning Project with participants from the Summit for Courageous Conversations: Achieving Racial Equity and Excellence in Education Conference that was held in New Orleans recently. Superintendents, Principals, teachers, and program directors from around the nation gathered for a 3 day conference that examined, embraced, and celebrated equity/anti-racist educational policies, programs, and practices that empower educators to create schools that offer every student a world class education.
As part of the conference, a group of visitors from around the United States and Canada traveled to Hurst Middle School in Destrehan, Louisiana to learn more about Hurst Middle School’s nationally recognized environmental service-learning project.
“I am honored that I was asked to speak to this group and very excited about having 12 of my students as part of the presentation as well. I have always believed that service-learning offers all students educational opportunities that would not be available otherwise, as well as giving students from all backgrounds a chance to be a positive contributing member of their community.” said Hurst teacher Barry Guillot.
During the presentation, students shared insights into their personal motivations for participating in the Wetland Watchers project. Some mentioned their love for animals, or the enjoyment of working with younger students. Others discussed how valuable it was for them as students to have these real life experiences instead of learning straight out of a text book. All of them agreed that they enjoyed working in the wetlands and spreading awareness of the importance of Louisiana wetlands. The visiting teachers remained on the Hurst campus for two and a half hours discussing how they might implement a similar type program at their schools.
“LaBranche Wetland Watchers is a high quality service-learning project that is explicitly linked to content standards. It’s the perfect project to get people new to service-learning engaged and excited about getting involved. It brings all eight of the service-learning standards to life and illustrates how middle school kids can take the lead in building support for Louisiana’s coastal restoration.”
- Wokie Weah, NYLC Vice President, Programs
“We all enjoyed listening to the students’ presentations, and seeing the passion Mr. Guillot has in teaching them about the wetlands.”
-Maya Beecham, National Youth Leadership Council, Program Coordinator