Coastal restoration project exceeds goals in 2007

The America's WETLAND Conservation Corps, staffed by a group of 16 AmeriCorps members serving over 18,000 hours, initially hoped to recruit 500 community volunteers and perform 25 restoration projects in 2007, but by the end of December the group had engaged almost 700 volunteers who logged more than 2,000 hours and completed five more projects than scheduled. Since its launch in February of 2007, the AWCC has performed more than 30 wetland restoration and conservation projects...

Jan 30th, 2008

• America's WETLAND Conservation Corps begins 2008 with head start

NEW ORLEANS, LA, Jan. 28, 2008 - Since its launch in February of 2007, the America's WETLAND Conservation Corps (AWCC) has performed more than 30 wetland restoration and conservation projects that engaged volunteers and their communities in preserving Louisiana's wetlands. The program, staffed by a group of 16 AmeriCorps members serving over 18,000 hours, initially hoped to recruit 500 community volunteers and perform 25 restoration projects, but by the end of Dec. the group had engaged almost 700 volunteers who logged more than 2,000 hours and completed five more projects than scheduled.

"AWCC Projects stretch all along the coast of Louisiana, from Lafitte to New Orleans to Port Fourchon to Holly Beach. By rebuilding damaged and degraded wetlands along the coast, we are helping to rebuild the state's primary and natural line of defense against hurricanes and storm surges. This past year was a tremendous success and we look forward to even more success in year two of the project," said Dwight Landreneau, Associate Vice Chancellor, LSU AgCenter.

The 16 AWCC AmeriCorps members worked throughout Louisiana in 2007 to develop projects designed to engage communities in wetland restoration activities to build community pride and environmental awareness through volunteerism and outreach education. For example, during 2007, the groups planted trees in Southwest Louisiana and smooth cord grass at Avery Island as well as cleaning up beaches in Vermillion Parish, among many other things. Through their work, thousands of youth were educated on the importance of saving Louisiana's fragile coast.

"The America's WETLAND Conservation Corps is part of a growing army of volunteers committed to citizen service. In 2007, more than 1100 AmeriCorps members served a total of 1 million service hours in communities across our state," said Mitch Landrieu, Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana. "The Louisiana Serve Commission is a proud partner of America's WETLAND Conservation Corps. Their work is an excellent example of what can be accomplished through citizen service and public-private partnerships. They have exceeded our expectations and I look forward to working with them again in 2008."

"With two years of the project left, we expect even more community volunteers to participate in our programs. The America's WETLAND Foundation is proud of this project which is sounding the alarm about the lasting effects of coastal erosion to the youth of our state," said R. King Milling Chairman of the America's WETLAND Foundation.

The America's WETLAND Conservation Corps (AWCC) is a partnership between the America's WETLAND Foundation 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.

The America's WETLAND Campaign -- one of the largest, most comprehensive public education efforts in Louisiana's history -- was launched to raise public awareness of the impact of Louisiana's wetland loss on the region, nation, and world. Sponsored by the America's WETLAND Foundation, 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.

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