In the spring of 2008, Bishop Noland Episcopal Day School student Tanner Hofer entered an essay contest sponsored by America’s Wetland Foundation. He described his family’s move from Oregon to Louisiana, and his new appreciation of the wetlands. Tanner won first place—and a Wetlands Project grant for the school. The project chosen by EDS was the LSU Coastal Roots Program.
EDS is now one of 38 schools participating in this program across the Louisiana coast. Students from 3rd grade through high school are taking part in this project by establishing wetland plant nurseries at their schools. Students are growing native plant seedlings that they will plant in a coastal habitat restoration project in south Louisiana. The students oversee the entire growth cycle until they are ready to plant in specific restoration areas. Each spring, the cycle begins again.
Through the program, close to 5,000 students have planted 44,503 tree seedlings and grass plugs. The LSU CR Program was named Conservation Organization of the Year for 2009 in the 46th Annual Governor’s Conservation Achievement Recognition Program conducted by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation.
Now, EDS and two other LSU CR schools have been selected to be part of a new project. The LSU Coastal Literacy Radio Stewardship Project for Kids (CLRSPK) will establish a classroom-based radio production studio on each campus. Students will digitally record what they are learning about the critical issues facing the Louisiana Gulf Coast in the form of prose, poetry, and song. The student-created audio files will be uploaded to their school-based AM radio transmitter, and will be available on the CR Web site as podcasts.
The students have already begun working on segments for future programs, such as original guitar music for transitions, a rap about the oil spill, a wetlands song and recycling news. Students visiting school this summer were already lining up to take a turn and offer ideas.
The faculty and staff at EDS are excited about this project, especially because of its timing. The oil spill has brought much-needed attention to an already fragile coast, but there haven’t been many ways for young people to get involved. The radio station will give them the opportunity to express themselves while educating others about the environment.
Each grade level at EDS will contribute to the broadcasts. The low frequency broadcast will be accessible in the carpool line, in the classrooms and in the area around the school. They will also be available as downloadable podcasts from the LSU Coastal Roots Web site at www.coastalroots.lsu.edu.
Because of their efforts, EDS recently received the Youth Leadership Award from Keep Louisiana Beautiful for their green initiatives. Congratulations—and keep up the good work!