May 2008 Newsletter

May 15th Deadline to Enter Keep Your Eye on the Prize Contest

Students from across Louisiana have entered the Keep You Eye on the Prize Art, Photo and Essay Contest and the May 15th deadline is right around the corner!

Sponsored by the America’s WETLAND Foundation, the contest was created to emphasize the importance of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands and remind youth that saving and restoring our fragile coast is not only critical to their well being — wherever they live — but it is also critical to the entire nation’s environment and the economy.

The top entry in each category will receive $500 for a restoration event and recognition on the America’s WETLAND website.

America’s WETLAND Makes Splash at JazzFest

The first weekend of 2008 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, presented by Shell, was a soggy and rain-soaked event, but that didn’t stop fans from enjoying the action at the America’s WETLAND Foundation “Meet and Greet Tent.” Each afternoon, local artists signed autographs and posed for pictures while staffers informed visitors about the America’s WETLAND Foundation and our efforts to create a sustainable and healthy coastal landscape. The fun continued at the Fairground May 1 – 4, for the second weekend. America’s WETLAND Staff met with their favorite local musicians at the tent near the Jazz & Heritage Stage.

New Orleans Consortium Hosts Presidential Forum Powered by Google and YouTube

Looking forward to the fall presidential election, New Orleans and Louisiana leaders recently announced they are working with Google and YouTube to bring American voices into a forum with presidential nominees that will address critical issues for the nation’s future.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and the New Orleans Consortium (including the Women of the Storm) plan to host the forum on September 18, 2008 at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The forum will use Google technology and the YouTube video platform to drive citizen engagement and to create a dynamic, compelling, and constructive live television broadcast. The group announced the initiative today with a YouTube video.

Louisiana CPRA Receives National Award

The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority was recently recognized by the National Association of Environmental Professionals for its development of Louisiana’s Master Plan for coastal protection and restoration. The President’s and National Environmental Excellence Award recognize nationally significant environmental achievements from across the country. The award was presented the 2008 NAEP National Conference in San Diego, California on March 25, 2008.

Conservation Corps Win Stewardship Award

Hilary Collis, program manager of the America’s WETLAND Conservation Corps will be awarded the 2008 Coastal Stewardship Award by the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana.

Created by the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana in 1995, the Coastal Stewardship Awards Program promotes responsible coastal stewardship by rewarding those individuals or organizations who have demonstrated a valuable commitment to protecting Louisiana’s coast.

Hilary will be presented with this award on the Coalition’s annual banquet on May 9th at the LSU Faculty Club in Baton Rouge. Congratulations Hilary!

Restore America’s Estuaries to hold 4th National Conference

Restore America’s Estuaries, a cooperating organization of the America’s WETLAND Foundation, will hold its 4th National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration October 11-15, 2008 in Providence, Rhode Island.

The conference will focus on the goals and practices of coastal and estuarine habitat restoration. To register or get more information, please visit www.estuaries.org.

Recent Events:

Annual Youth Wetlands Week: March 31 to April 4

By all accounts, the 2008 Youth Wetlands Week was a huge success. More than 900 teachers in 53 parishes have signed up to incorporate wetland awareness in their lessons. Youth Wetlands Week is a project of America’s WETLAND partner, LSU AgCenter. Members of the America’s WETLAND Conservation Corps were on hand during to help teach lessons about coastal wetlands loss and to let students know about the Keep Your Eyes on the Prize Contest.

Gulf Coast National Conference Sponsored by NIMSAT

National Incident Management Systems and Advanced Technologies (NIMSAT) hosted a conference to address the Gulf Coast’s critical assets and infrastructures that impact our nation’s security and economy. America’s WETLAND Foundation’s Val Marmillion joined former FEMA Director James Lee Witt and addressed the conference about the importance of restoring coastal Louisiana.

AWCC Tree Planting in Calcasieu Parish

The America’s WETLAND Conservation Corps joined 4-H and the LSU AgCenter to restore the more than 700 trees destroyed in Nibblet’s Bluff Park by Hurricane Rita. Volunteers met at the LSU AgCenter in Lake Charles for a brief training session, before caravaning to the park to replant hundreds of trees lost during the storm.

61st Annual Big Bass Fishing Rodeo and ‘Fishtival’

The 61st annual Fishtival was held at City Park in New Orleans on March 29. Fisherman and friends enjoyed the day with the Estuarians. The relaxing and educational community event attracted folks interested in learning about fishing and the environment.

Lebranch Wetland Watchers Annual Celebration

The America’s WETLAND Estuarians were on hand for the 9th annual Wetland Celebration. Hundreds of students from from Luling, St. Rose, and Schoeffner Elementary schools enjoyed learning about the value of our coastal wetlands. Radio Disney and Amanda Shaw were also on hand to help us celebrated the successful work of the Wetland Watchers.

Bayou Teche Bear Fest

The America’s WETLAND Estuarians helped educate supporters of the Louisiana Black Bear about the importance of a healthy coastal landscape to this threatened species. The Fifth Annual Bayou Teche Bear Festival was held in Franklin, Louisiana on April 18th and 19th. Visitors learned about the about the Louisiana black bear, a species listed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Project Greenlight

The Estuarians helped shed light on energy conservation by joining Project Greenlight’s donation drive on April 11. Project Greenlight is a nonprofit charitable and environmental organization that actively works to reduce the burden of high energy bills and carbon emissions in the city of New Orleans.

Upcoming Events:

America’s Energy Coast Leadership Forum II to be Held In Texas on July 24, 2008

Task Forces that were first convened at the America’s Energy Coast Leadership Forum on November 30, 2008, are working on an Accord for a Sustainable Gulf Coast that will reflect a regional consensus on priorities for cooperation, policy, and action in the face of global climate change. The Accord will be released at the second national forum, held on July 24, 2008 in Woodlands, TX.