Hurst Wetland Watchers Honored with Louisiana 2015 Special Recognition Award at the DEQ Environmental Leadership Program Ceremony

Hurst Wetland Watchers Honored with Louisiana 2015 Special Recognition Award at the DEQ Environmental Leadership Program Ceremony

    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,”...
Wetland Watchers Park Open For Visitors!!!

Wetland Watchers Park Open For Visitors!!!

The Wetland Watchers service-learning project was started during the 1997 – 1998 school year as a way to utilize our beautiful Louisiana wetlands as an outdoor classroom where students could be fully immersed in science while learning about the many values of our wetlands and the many challenges that they face. We adopted a small tract of land to improve it for our field studies and to attempt to keep it from washing away. Our first step was cleaning out all of the trash and appliances that people had dumped in the area. Some of these items included refrigerators, clothes dryers, sofas, and many car parts. I merely wanted to have a place to bring my 150 students, but as word spread many other teachers and parents wanted their students involved as well. We became a whole school project and quickly started including other schools throughout our district. As we expanded to include more students, it was apparent that the community was excited about what was happening as different agencies, organizations, businesses, and colleges enthusiastically offered their expertise, time, and resources. We currently have solid partnerships with over 35 different organizations. Student activities include planting trees, water quality testing, picking up trash, and working on what will be the first public nature trail in our area. My students use the knowledge they gain from working with experts on these trips to lead wetland trips for younger students. Our students currently work with students from 18 other schools through facilitating field experiences and science night presentations. Students become community leaders as they host weekend community trash clean-ups, and tree plantings....
WETLAND WATCHERS PARK GRAND OPENING SATURDAY OCTOBER 2!!!! GET DIRECTIONS BELOW!

WETLAND WATCHERS PARK GRAND OPENING SATURDAY OCTOBER 2!!!! GET DIRECTIONS BELOW!

Wetland Watchers Park is located near the Bonnet Carre Spillway located in Norco, Louisiana Directions to our site from Baton Rouge Take I-10 East from Baton Rouge Exit I-10 via ramp at sign reading “Exit  I-310 S to Boutte/Houma” and go Southwest for 3 miles Exit I-310 via ramp at sign reading “Exit 2 US-61 to Kenner/Norco” Continue on Hwy 61 (Airline Hwy) for 5.5 miles to the Bonnet Carre Spillway Do not cross the Spillway Bridge Take a right onto the Bonnet Carre Spillway’s East Guide levee Continue on the levee road for appx. 2.5 miles. This is a shell road, but it will be graded before your arrival. You will be forced to turn off the levee to travel under a railroad trestle and the I-10 overpass. You will see everything once you pass under I-10! Directions from N. Causeway Blvd to the Bonnet Carre Spillway Merge onto I-10 W toward BATON ROUGE.                                      7.7 miles Merge onto I-310 S via EXIT 220 toward BOUTTE/HOUMA.                       2.9 miles Merge onto AIRLINE HWY/US-61 via EXIT 2 toward NORCO                  6.5 miles Pass by the chemical plants and on your left you will see the Spillway Bar and a Shell Station. Directly across the street from the Shell Station is the Spillway’s East Guide Levee. Turn right onto the levee and drive 2.5 miles following the levee road underneath I-10 to Lake Pontchartrain and you will see Wetland Watchers Park on your right!...
Weekly Reader Magazine Visits Louisiana!!!!

Weekly Reader Magazine Visits Louisiana!!!!

Recently, Brooke Ross, editor of Weekly Reader News, took a trip with Destrehan’s Harry Hurst Middle Wetland Watchers Service-Learning group. The purpose of this trip was to explore more about the issues and impacts of the BP Gulf oil spill to the people and wildlife of Louisiana from a kid’s perspective. The trip involved 14 students ranging from fourth grade to ninth grade representing five schools from St. Charles Parish and two schools from Lafourche Parish. The group took a day trip to the shores of Lake Pontchartrain to visit with University of New Orleans – Pontchartrain Institute for Environmental Sciences Education Director Dinah Maygarden where they discussed how the oil could impact the Pontchartrain ecosystem and the fragile wetlands along its shoreline. They also discussed the impacts the oil spill is having in the Gulf of Mexico to the ecosystem and the economic effects on the people whose livelihoods and culture surround the healthy gulf fisheries. “I am upset that the people of south Louisiana that have been fishing for generations will be forced to find other income,” said Destrehan ninth-grader Courtney Parker. “This disaster has to be putting a strain on these families. The fisherman’s way of life revolves around the seafood industry which looks like it will be seriously damaged.” “Just think about how the tourism is hurt.” said sixth-grader Ethan Rogers. “It makes me feel sad because we can’t go fishing in certain places or go to the beach for vacation.” The group then traveled to the New Orleans Aquarium of the Americas where aviculturalist Tom Dyer gave students a close-up view of some of...
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!

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!

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...