The New Orleans Saints celebrated Earth Day yesterday by supporting the The Harry Hurst Middle School LaBranche Wetland Watchers and their annual Wetlands Celebration in Wetland Watchers Park in the Bonnet Carre Spillway near Norco, La. WR Robert Meachem, WR Lynell Hamilton/Skyler Green.aspx">Skyler Green, RB Pierre Thomas, P Adrian Arrington/Glenn Pakulak.aspx">Glenn Pakulak, Saints Ambassador Michael Lewis and three Saintsations attended the event and learned about the wetlands.
Founded in 1998 the LaBranche Wetland Watchers is a school-based service-learning project primarily funded through a grant from the Louisiana Lieutenant Governor's Learn and Serve America Commission. Over 35 separate partnerships with local, regional, state, and federal agencies, universities, non-profit foundations, local businesses and international corporations also play an integral role in the success of this project.
Each year, over 1,100 fifth through seventh grade students attend service trips to the adopted site in the Bonnet Carre Spillway. Throughout the school year, students plan and participate in activities such as water quality monitoring, macro-invertebrate collection and identification, litter clean-ups, soil and plant identification, and tree planting. This year students have focused on creating what will one day be the first public nature trail in our region. All service activities are tied to required academic standards in each of their core subject areas.
Students use what they have learned while guiding over 500 fifth and sixth graders on wetland trips each year. Over the last six years, Hurst students have spoken to over 45,000 adults and students about wetland conservation during outreach events. Through education, service, and awareness, students lead a community effort for wetland conservation.