NEW ORLEANS, LA- On Sunday, February 25, Lauren Fischer of Chicago, Illinois, will do her part to help save Louisiana’s coast by running in the annual Mardi Gras Marathon in New Orleans. Fischer is encouraging her friends and family to support her by contributing to America’s WETLAND: Campaign to Save Coastal Louisiana, which helps raise awareness about the ecological and economic importance of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands.
Fischer’s concern for Louisiana’s coast came as a result of Hurricane Katrina. The storm uprooted Fischer’s family from their home in Covington, LA, and they were forced to leave their family business and normal life behind. Fischer, along with her parents, who live in Northwest Indiana, pitched in to help the family make a temporary home in Indiana until they could return to Louisiana. Stories like this have inspired people like Fischer, and many others across the country, to be a part of the rebuilding efforts in Louisiana.
“I hope that by running this half-marathon, other Chicagoans will realize that Louisiana’s wetland loss affects not only Louisiana, but Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis and the entire U.S. I am happy to do my part to support the efforts to save this vital area,” Fischer said.
One year ago, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita brought the issue of Louisiana’s coastal land loss to the international stage. America’s WETLAND in coastal Louisiana, one of the largest estuaries and seventh largest delta in the world – home to 79 rare, threatened, and endangered species and wintering habitat for more than 5 million waterfowl and songbirds – is vanishing. The area loses 24 square miles a year, or the equivalent of a football field every 38 minutes. In addition, America’s WETLAND is the nation’s most important petrochemical complex and is vital to America’s economic and energy security, as it produces and transports 30 percent of the nation’s domestic crude oil and 34 percent of its natural gas. It also refines 16 percent of America’s petroleum.
King Milling, chairman of the America’s WETLAND foundation said, “When a Chicago woman is willing to run 13 miles to raise awareness about the importance of Louisiana’s Coast, it’s a sure sign of our Campaign’s progress. We applaud Ms. Fischer for her efforts on behalf of America’s WETLAND.”
The America’s WETLAND Campaign, the largest, most comprehensive public education campaign in the State’s history, was launched to raise public awareness of the impact of Louisiana’s wetland loss on the state, nation and world. The initiative is supported by a growing coalition of world, national and state conservation and environmental organizations and has drawn private support from businesses that see wetlands protection as a key to economic growth.