HC Students, Shell, and BTNEP Collaborate on Coastal Restoration Service Project
LSU Honors College students work together to plant stustainable grasses on the only inhabited barrier island of the Louisiana Gulf Coast
On Saturday, March 20 more than 100 LSU Honors College students worked with volunteers from Shell and the Barataria-Terebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP) to plant vegetation at Grand Isle State Park.
For many Honors College students, this service project was the culmination of a process that began in August. Before arriving on campus in the fall of 2009, the incoming class of Honors students participated in the Honors Shared Read Program by reading Bayou Farewell: The Rich Life and Tragic Death of Louisiana's Cajun Coast. Mike Tidwell, author of Bayou Farewell, addressed the incoming class at Honors Convocation and challenged them to help solve Louisiana’s coastal land loss problem. Throughout the fall semester, the students discussed coastal erosion in Honors 2000, a course designed to help students think about large-scale environmental crises. With the help of Shell and BTNEP, and the LSU Department of Residential Life, these same Honors students got the chance to do something about coastal land loss on March 20. Participants spent the morning planting wetland grasses in sustainable areas in the park while the afternoon was dedicated to cleaning garbage and debris from the beach. At day’s end, 4,200 individual grasses were planted and 14 cubic yards of debris was removed from the beach.
According to Mel Landry, Public Involvement Coordinator of BTNEP,
“We certainly feel the event was beneficial to BTNEP, Grand Isle State Park, the Town of Grand Isle, and the countless members of our communities that rely on Grand Isle for protection and recreation. The students did an amazing job in both the planting and debris removal portions of the day.”
When the plants were in the ground, the garbage was off the beach, the volunteers were cleaned up, and the buses departed Grand Isle it was obvious to everyone that participated, there is more than one way to spend an amazing day on the beach.