St. Rose students help save park

Staff Report
November 19, 2008 at 5:00 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

On Nov. 21, students from Albert Cammon Middle School in St Rose, Louisiana will travel to Bayou Segnette State Park to plant restoration seedlings that they grew at their school this past year in collaboration with the LSU Coastal Roots Program.

Teacher Ann Bourgeois will be arriving at the park with approximately 90 seventh grade students to plant their small bald cypress and red maple seedlings.

“Coastal Roots is a program that allows students to feel an ownership in the state of Louisiana. In the year long process, the students learn about current issues affecting Louisiana’s coastline,” said Bourgeois in a press release.

Throughout the past year, students have raised the plants used in the restoration project in their school’s on-campus can yard.

A can yard is an area where plants are raised until they are large enough to be moved to their final planting location.

Many of the plants that Coastal Roots schools grow help to restore wetlands, provide food and habitat for the site’s animals, and provide a way to stabilize the soil at the site.

The plants that the students grow are chosen by the restoration site manager and are based on the particular needs of the site.

Denise McKinney, Interpretive Ranger at Bayou Segnette State Park, says “Due to the hurricanes in the past several years we have lost 90 percent of our mature trees. We depend on wetlands areas to provide us with hurricane and flood protection by providing wind relief and flood water progression.”

The LSU Coastal Roots Program provides an active learning situation in which students can explore strategies for sustaining coastal ecosystems and develop an attitude of stewardship toward natural resources.

The program does this through conducting an on-going school-based nursery program growing native plants and involving students in a hands-on habitat restoration planting.

In addition, the program provides teachers and students with information on issues such as ecological stewardship, wetlands functions and values, wetland loss, habitat restoration and conservation, and basic geoscience and horticultural skills.

“Coastal Roots is a great vehicle to teach life, Earth and environmental science concepts as well as provide students a hands-on stewardship project that makes the science content interesting, relevant, and memorable,” said Pam Blanchard, Ph. D., Director of the LSU Coastal Roots Program and Assistant Professor at the College of Education.

The Coastal Roots Program began in 2001 as an educational outreach project for the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program.

In 2006, it transitioned into the LSU College of Education Department of Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice and the LSU Center for Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences.

“This program is a wonderful opportunity for our faculty to be engaged in a hands-on endeavor to help students develop an attitude of stewardship while teaching them about the environment and how each one of them can make a difference for the future,” said College of Education Dean M. Jayne Fleener.

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