Much of the effort to save the Louisiana coastline is, in my opinion, a lot of talk. People and organizations pay lip service to the idea of reducing hurricane storm surge, marsh death, and coastal erosion, but I rarely see a way that I can get involved as an individual. For example, I want to go out and plant cypress trees, not sign a petition. I want to make a tangible, direct contribution to the effort to save the coast, if I'm going to make one.
Well, I think I've found one:
If you have time on a Saturday this month, take a drive to Lafitte and help out with the Jefferson Parish Christmas Tree Program. If you have a day off the weeks of Jan. 12 or 19, head over to Bayou Sauvage and help bundle trees for the Orleans Parish program. Take a day in your life to help out with coastal restoration in Louisiana.
If you have a boat or know anyone who has a boat and likes to have a good excuse to take it out, please forward them this notice – the Jefferson Parish Christmas Tree Program needs volunteers with boats who are willing to spend a Saturday (or two) this month bring trees out to the benches in Barataria Bay.
If anyone is interested in using their boat for coastal restoration, please contact me (Colleen M-----) at email@example.com. To participate in the Jefferson Parish program, fill out the registration form attached to the flyer. Please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in the Orleans Parish program.
Bundles of discarded Christmas trees are hauled out to a wooden framework that spans an inlet, creating a barrier that seems to both limit surge and nevertheless permit some water inflow to prevent further death of the remaining coastal marshes.
If nothing else, projects like these are usually fun and provide a welcome change of pace from a life without enough time outdoors. I helped with an AWCC project to restore marshland in NOLA's City Park immediately following exams back in December, and, while I felt as if I was breaking my back cutting peat in some Irish bog, it was a good time with "The Bulrush Posse."
If you'd like to get involved with the Christmas Tree Project, here's a bit more information on the Orleans Parish program: