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LASAL Students Spend Weekend at LUMCON

Fourteen Honors Students Study Wetlands and Barrier Island Loss Firsthand
LASAL Students Spend Weekend at LUMCON

Students learn about environmental impacts on the wetlands hands-on.

Fourteen first-year students in the Louisiana Service and Leadership (LASAL) program spent a weekend at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium in Cocodrie, near the bottom of Bayou Petit Caillou. 

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.

“Going to LUMCON was a really great experience,” said Grace Reinke, an Honors Political Science and English freshman. “Being there myself, meeting people that take so much pride in their coastal communities, and having a part in helping to preserve the landscape there made me realize how important this fragile ecosystem is to the state and the entire country.”

During their first semester, LASAL students take HNRS 2013: The State of Louisiana, and half of the class is devoted to understanding reasons for wetlands loss in Louisiana. Spending a weekend at LUMCON allows students to take a hands-on approach to studying the wetlands and barrier island loss.

“We like to get students out of the classroom and down into Cocodrie so they can see what’s going on firsthand,” said Dr. Granger Babcock, Associate Dean of the Honors College. “So every year, we go to LUMCON and they’re able to see a lot of different things — they spend time in the upper level of estuary, go into the bay, and then head out to the barrier islands.”

Students Use Laboratory to Study Impacts

This year, the LASAL students on the trip also participated in a service project sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield Louisiana and Barataria Terrebonne National Estuary Program, planting 58 bags of plants.

“Planting marsh grass on a barrier island was the best part of the trip,” said Montana McKay, an Honors Psychology freshman. “We were able to partake in a small scale wetland restoration project which will prevent that land from disappearing in the near future.”

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. 

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