Science teacher named LWF educator of the year

June 04, 2008 at 11:33 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Harry Hurst science teacher Barry Guillot is honored as the Louisiana Wildlife Federation Conservation Educator of the Year.
Harry Hurst science teacher Barry Guillot is honored as the Louisiana Wildlife Federation Conservation Educator of the Year.
Harry Hurst science teacher Barry Guillot was recently honored as the Louisiana Wildlife Federation Conservation Educator of the Year for his innovations in environmental service learning with the nationally recognized LaBranche Wetland Watchers Program.

Over 1,200 students participate in the program each year.

The award, a statuette of a white-tailed deer, was presented at the 44th Conservation Achievement Recognition Banquet held at the Holiday Inn in New Iberia where the Louisiana Wildlife Federation (LWF) convened for its 69th Annual Meeting.  Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries Robert Barham, representing Governor Bobby Jindal, and Dr. Earl Matthew, Region 8 Director of the National Wildlife Federation, presented the awards. Guillot has been honored with the same award in 2000 during Governor Foster’s administration and in 2004 during Governor Blanco’s administration.

“Barry’s work in bringing the lessons and experience of nature to his students is unparalleled,” LWF Executive Director Randy Lanctot said. “He is an outstanding example of education excellence, and the Louisiana Wildlife Federation is proud to recognize him once again as the Conservation Educator of the Year.”

Guillot first got the idea for his Wetland Watchers Program after he went on a service learning trip with the University of New Orleans. Service learning is where students meet all their academic requirements through activities that help enhance the environment and the community. Guillot realized how beneficial the program was and brought it into his classroom.

“The Louisiana Wildlife Federation award is not only an honor for me, but a reflection of many people’s dedication to the education and awareness of our students concerning Louisiana wetlands,” Guillot said. “The first time I received this award was in 2000 and it was a huge honor. Receiving the award in 2008 is equally a huge honor because we were able to increase participation of students in the project and expand many of the activities while keeping a level of success over a long period of time.”

Through the use of grants, that program has expanded greatly over the past 10 years. In fact, four years ago, the land that Guillot first adopted to use for the program was donated to St. Charles Parish by the levee district. The levee district didn’t just donate the adopted land, but they added an additional 28 acres. The parish then named the park Wetland Watcher Park after Guillot and his band of students.
When it’s all said and done, Wetland Watcher Park will have three outdoor classrooms, three quarters of a mile of boardwalk trail, a 10-foot marsh overlook, two fishing piers, picnic areas and a pirate themed playground for kids.
“The Director of the Louisiana Wildlife Federation was very impressed with the variety of activities the students are involved in and the great impact they make with all of them,” Guillot said. “The Wildlife Federation is all about education and awareness and my Hurst 7th graders spoke to over 100,000 people this year through outreach events.

“Planting trees, picking up trash, and even painting shrimp boots, this has been one of those years where we were able to reach out in areas that we had not previously worked with.”

The Louisiana Wildlife Federation is a statewide conservation education and advocacy organization with over 10,000 members and 25 affiliate groups.  Established in 1940, it is affiliated with the National Wildlife Federation and represents a broad constituency of conservationists including hunters, fishers, campers, birders, boaters, and other outdoor enthusiasts.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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