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Honors College Students Study Wetlands at LUMCON

LASAL students study erosion, wetlands at Louisiana Universities' Marine Consortium in Cocodrie
Honors College Students Study Wetlands at LUMCON

LASAL students on their expedition to Bayou Sale.

Recently, fourteen first-year students in the Louisiana Service and Leadership (LASAL) program spent a weekend at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium studying the effects of erosion firsthand.

Under the direction of guides Dr. Gary LaFleur, a biology professor at Nicholls State University, and Mel Landry of the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (both of whom are LSU alumni), students studied the wetlands and barrier island loss.

Students started their LUMCON tour in Bayou Sale on a former Native American midden before moving to another bank to look at pre-Colombian artifacts. They then stopped at Trinity Island, where they looked at a mangrove swamp, searched for ghost shrimp, and measured salinity levels.

Victoria Reed, an Honors freshman from Alabama, entered the LASAL program to learn more about Louisiana and the problems facing the state.

“The trip was great,” she said. “We learned so much about wetland erosion beforehand, like we’re losing an acre every forty minutes or so … but when you get out there, it’s crazy to actually see how much land has been lost."

Reed said she also got a first-hand look at the damage caused by the disastrous BP oil spill earlier this year.

“We saw tar balls on the beach, which was very strange,” she said. “It’s very different to actually see them and see how they’re messing up the environment.”

Louisiana Service and Leadership (LASAL) is a unique Honors College program designed to promote leadership among students who are passionate about solving Louisiana's problems, such as coastal erosion, poverty, education and health care. 

The Louisiana Universities' Marine Consortium (LUMCON), which provides coastal laboratory facilities to state universities, was formed in 1979 to foster marine research and education in Louisiana.