LABRANCHE WETLAND WATCHERS AND TEACHER BARRY GUILLOT WIN TWO 2004 1ST PLACE GULF GUARDIAN AWARDS! WATCH THE DOCUMENTARY CREATED BY THE EPA!
WE WERE HONORED TO RECEIVE TWO 1ST PLACE GULF GUARDIAN AWARDS IN 2004. BELOW IS THE PRESS RELEASE WITH THE INFORMATION AND THE GREAT VIDEO THAT THEY CREATED ABOUT US!
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – The Gulf of Mexico Program today presented the LaBranche Wetland Watchers with a first place Gulf Guardian Award for 2004 in the Youth and Education Category. As a double honor, the Wetland Watchers’ coordinator, Barry Guillot, also received the 2004 first place Gulf Guardian Award in the individual category. The award ceremony was held aboard the Creole Queen Riverboat in New Orleans, La.
The LaBranche Wetland Watchers is a school-based service-learning project designed to integrate environmental issues into the curriculum. More than 3,800 fifth through seventh grade students have participated in service trips to and adopted sites near the Bonnet Carre Spillway. Students plan and participate in activities such as water quality monitoring, macro-invertebrate collection and identification, litter clean-ups, soil and plant identification, tree planting, and mapping out a public nature trail.
Students have spoken to more than 40,000 people across southeastern Louisiana. Through education, service, and awareness, students led a community effort for wetland conservation. The service site has exhibited some of the greatest amount of land loss along the Lake Pontchartrain shoreline. It faces development problems with a proposed airport, has huge litter and dumping problems, and suffers greatly from salt water intrusion. It is the focus of many federal and state restoration projects and refinery mitigation projects and serves as a microcosm of problems that wetlands are facing locally and globally. The primary objective of the LaBranche Wetland Watchers is to encourage wetland conservation through Education, Service, and Awareness.
Barry Guilllot, a seventh-grade science teacher, worked with his students to create the LaBranche Wetland Watchers project in 1998. Guillot is the backbone behind this nationally recognized project that enables more than 1,000 students each year to meet required academic standards through activities that also benefit the environment. To ensure success and funding, Guillot writes grants, gains and maintains partnerships, and coordinates and attends a multitude of functions. According to Leslie Rodrigue of the Cresent Soil and Water Conservation District, without Guillot, there wouldn’t be a Wetland Watchers project. Guillot’s project is one of the finest examples of outdoor education anywhere.
“The LaBranche Wetland Watchers program at Hurst Middle School is a shining example of service-learning excellence in education,” said Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu. “Mr. Guillot and his students are to be commended. The Wetlands Watchers program is a true service-learning model, integrating academic objectives and service. The Louisiana Serve Commission, in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, offers Learn and Serve America grants to encourage and promote programs such as Wetland Watchers. I know that other teachers and students throughout Louisiana will be inspired after learning about the great work of Mr. Guillot and his caring group of young people,” added Landrieu.
The Gulf of Mexico Program initiated the Gulf Guardian awards in 2000 as a way to recognize and honor the businesses, community groups, individuals, and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. The Gulf of Mexico Program began in 1988 to protect, restore, and maintain the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem in economically sustainable ways. Award entries were received from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. A first, second, and third place award are given each year in six categories – individual, business, youth and education, nonprofit organizations, government, and partnership efforts.
“The Gulf Guardian Award winners for 2004 are prime examples of collaborative environmental efforts leading to neighborhood solutions that transcend political boundaries,” said Benjamin Grumbles, EPA Assistant Administrator for Water in Washington, D.C. “I commend all of the winners for their innovative partnerships, common sense ideas, and hard work. Their efforts are making a difference in protecting and restoring the Gulf of Mexico.
Community Works To Build Nature Trail Boardwalk During Wetland Watchers Park National Make A Difference Day Event!
HMS Wetland Watcher Park Make a Difference Day
It was an overwhelming success! One of the really great aspects of this event was that it featured the partnerships of Learn and Serve America (Hurst Wetland Watchers), Americorps (ShreveCORPS), and the St. Charles Parish Retired Seniors Volunteer Program. All three of our agencies are funded through the Corporation for National and Community Service. The Corporation is the nation’s largest grant-maker supporting service and volunteering. Through the Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, they provide opportunities for Americans of all ages and backgrounds to express their patriotism while addressing critical community needs.
Kenny Guedry, Superintendent of St. Charles Recreation, was instrumental in organizing the construction utilizing the skills of Parish Rec workers as volunteer team leaders.
We got about 200 feet of trail between the two built which is amazing because the water was incredibly high on Friday.
We had approximately 55 volunteers on Friday in different capacities including Americorps ShreveCORPS volunteers from Shreveport, retired Seniors Volunteer Program, Recreation employees, Valero, the St. Charles Parish Rotary Club and other community volunteers. Fourteen volunteers from Johnson Controls of Metairie also worked 9 hours on Friday.
On Saturday, about 43 volunteers representing Americorps, RSVP, Louisiana Serve Commission, Learn and Serve America, St. Charles Recreation, Motiva, the St. Charles Rotary Club, and St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office Prison Trustees.
strong>National Science Teachers Association Visits LaBranche Wetland Watchers Park
WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW!!!!!!!!
100 teachers from around the nation that were participants in the National Science Teachers Association convention in New Orleans visited the LaBranche Wetland Watchers Park on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain in St. Charles Parish. Still a work in progress, the park consists of 900 feet of boardwalk through a wetland that, like much of Louisianas wetlands, is struggling to survive. This one, however, has the help of Wetland Watchers, an organization at Destrehan’s Harry Hurst Middle School, teacher Barry Guillot and Guillots partners in the project, including parish government, local universities and industries.
|LaBranche Wetland Watchers Park|
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!