America's WETLAND Foundation and LSU AgCenter announce historic partnership

May 21, 2007
State leaders and members of the America's WETLAND Conservation Corps got their hands dirty today at the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge by restoring vital coastal wetlands that were damaged by Hurricane Rita. The event featured the formation of the America's WETLAND Conservation Corps (AWCC), as well as the historic partnership between AmeriCorps, the Louisiana Serve Commission, the LSU AgCenter and the America's WETLAND Foundation. "The Louisiana Serve Commission is pleased to award...

• AmeriCorps members take a hands-on approach to coastal restoration in Rita's wake

GRAND CHENIER, LA, May 18, 2007 -- State leaders and members of the America's WETLAND Conservation Corps got their hands dirty today at the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge by restoring vital coastal wetlands that were damaged by Hurricane Rita. The event featured the formation of the America's WETLAND Conservation Corps (AWCC), as well as the historic partnership between AmeriCorps, the Louisiana Serve Commission, the LSU AgCenter and the America's WETLAND Foundation.

"The Louisiana Serve Commission is pleased to award the America's WETLAND Foundation with a $676,000 three-year grant from AmeriCorps," said Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu. "Citizen service has helped fuel our recovery. Now, more than ever, the Conservation Corps will help meet the critical needs in our community."

One of today's events included planting oyster grass in order to sustain a recently rebuilt levee from erosion. Featured speakers spoke about the importance of coastal restoration and the significance of the partnership between the LSU AgCenter and the America's WETLAND Foundation.

"The LSU AgCenter has been on the ground fighting for coastal erosion for years," said Dwight Landreneau, Associate Vice Chancellor, LSU AgCenter. "The America's WETLAND Foundation has been fighting to gain the nation's attention about what the loss of Louisiana's wetlands will mean to them. Together we will fight the problem from both fronts, and hopefully engender a new generation of volunteers that see the importance of protecting Louisiana's coast."

The America's WETLAND Conservation Corps will build community pride and environmental awareness through volunteerism and education. It will also support collaborative efforts to organize and engage participants in a variety of activities with the message of both responsible stewardship and also a call for action to save coastal Louisiana. AWCC members will coordinate hands-on coastal restoration projects that will include vegetative planting, restorative interventions, and community-wide clean-ups for volunteers and the communities they will serve, in order to promote stewardship and conservation.

"We are so thankful for the support of the LSU AgCenter in making this program a reality," said R. King Milling, Chairman of the America's WETLAND foundation. "The AWCC is an important step for the growth of our Campaign, and with the momentum of this new program, we will continue forward with our plan to restore Louisiana's coastal wetlands."

The America's WETLAND Campaign, the largest, most comprehensive public education campaign in the State's history, was launched to raise public awareness of the impact of Louisiana's wetland loss on the state, nation and world. The initiative is supported by a growing coalition of world, national and state conservation and environmental organizations and has drawn private support from businesses that see wetlands protection as a key to economic growth.

The America's WETLAND Conservation Corps (AWCC) is a partnership between the America's WETLAND Campaign and the LSU AgCenter. The AWCC is supported by a grant from AmeriCorps and is administered by the Louisiana Serve Commission in the Office of Lt. Governor Mitchell J. Landrieu. It is also supported by generous donations from America's WETLAND Sponsors, Spectra Energy, CH2MHILL, Robinette Studios, Tabasco, the Dow Chemical Company and individuals from around the country.

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