SHELL FUNDS ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION AT WOODLANDS SITE
Woodlands Conservancy announced today $35,000 from Shell Exploration and Production for Ecosystem Restoration and Volunteer Programs. The funds will be used to remove non-native, invasive vegetation from a portion of Woodlands Trail and Park Bird Sanctuary in Plaquemines Parish. The funds for the Volunteer program will result in sponsored hands-on activities such as tree planting, hand-pulling invasive seedlings and other improvement projects at the Woodlands site.
The presentation made by Ed Landgraf and Josh Etkind of Shell followed Woodlands Conservancy’s recent announcement of the acquisition of 190 acres in Orleans Parish in the same general area as the managed property in Plaquemines Parish. Landgraf said, “Investing in projects such as this is consistent with Shell’s objectives around Sustainable Development, which simply means enhancing and protecting the environment and communities in which we operate is just the right thing to do. I am proud to work for a company like Shell who supports initiatives like this”. After viewing a map of the effort to connect low-lying, forested wetlands for habitat for wildlife and protection of the community, Josh Etkind remarked, “This is such a fantastic resource for all the kids and families in the greater metro area. Having the opportunity to get out on such a well-managed, lovely nature trail so close to the city could have a real positive impact on people’s lives.” FULL PRESS RELEASE
WOODLANDS CONSERVANCY PROTECTS 190 ACRES
Woodlands Conservancy protects vital migratory lands in Orleans Parish
Woodlands Conservancy announced today the purchase of 190 acres of important bottomland hardwood wetlands in Orleans Parish. This acquisition completes a multi-year effort initiated by the Conservancy, and supported by The Conservation Fund, in southeastern Louisiana.
The acquisition of the 190 acres will expand the habitat for over 100 species of migratory birds and provide additional hiking, wildlife viewing, and outdoor education opportunities to local citizens.
Due to the continued loss of our coastline and increased rate of relative sea level rise, USFWS estimates that this Woodlands area (now just 6 miles from open waters connected to the Gulf of Mexico) will be one of the largest forested land masses between open water and the city of New Orleans within the next fifty to one hundred years.
“There’s no place like Southeast Louisiana, and we’re thrilled to have assisted Woodlands Conservancy with the protection of these important lands for everyone to enjoy,” said Ray Herndon, Lower Mississippi Director for The Conservation Fund. “Even as we celebrate today’s success, we’re rolling up our sleeves to do more together, for all of us and for generations to come.”
“This is a monumental day for our city and the entire region,” stated Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer who represents the district in which the land is located. “With the acquisition of this land by Woodlands Conservancy, this crucial wetland will remain intact to protect Orleans and Plaquemines parishes for generations to come. The environmental impacts of this cannot be overstated. But this is not just smart land use – the wetlands will also be a nature preserve for all of us to enjoy.”
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said, “It is vitally important that we work to protect and preserve this wetland area. It is also another example of Woodlands Conservancy creating a legacy for future generations who will come to this wildlife area for recreation and education.”
Funding from the Coypu Foundation, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Martha Gunther, Jackie Leonard, Curtis Sorrells, Orleans Audubon Society, the New Orleans Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Crescent Bird Club and the Louisiana Ornithological Society was used to evaluate and appraise the property over the past couple of years. The land acquisition by Woodlands Conservancy was made possible through the generous donation from a local businessman and his wife who value the mission of Woodlands Conservancy to preserve contiguous low-lying areas for storm protection and provide educational and recreational access to the public in their community.
Woodlands Holds Open House to Celebrate
National Public Lands Day
On Saturday, September 29, friends and core supporters of Woodlands Conservancy attended an Open House celebration on National Public Lands Day at Woodlands Trail in Belle Chasse, LA. In spite of the rain, more than forty gathered to take a look at the improvements made to Woodlands Trail over the past several months and acknowledge the contributors that made them possible. After a guided hike, the celebration began with the presentation of colors by the Honor Guard from the NASJRB. Woodlands Board President Heidi Poche, acknowledged the long ties the military has had to the Woodlands site beginning with its use as a Naval Ammunition Deport during World War II. The Woodlands group has maintained a relationship with various branches of the military during park construction and during the Open House, the Seabees assistance with construction of the entrance pavilion was acknowledged. Before the corporate contributors were recognized, Katie Brasted, Executive Director, expressed the group’s gratitude to the Plaquemines Parish Government stating that “without the government’s recognition of the value of this great wilderness area to the public, none of the day’s celebrations would be possible”. The group chose National Public Lands Day for the celebration as it was founded to recognize those who volunteer to help conserve public lands. This year’s theme of helping hands for America’s lands seemed a fitting recognition for those who contributed to the recent park improvements. Corporate champions honored for their contributions included: AEP River Operation, BP, Chevron Oronite, ConocoPhillips, Daybrook Fisheries and, McMoRan Exploration.
BP Funds Ecosystem Restoration and Education
BP Director of Community Relations, Lisa Burns and Community Relations Manager, Naomi Williams visited Woodlands Trail in Belle Chasse, Louisiana on Friday, February 3 to talk about the work being funded by a grant from BP America. A $60,000 grant from BP will be used over the next several months to fund habitat enhancements and increased directional and interpretive signage throughout the site. “I am so glad that you came to see the site now so that when the improvements are finished, you will clearly see how your funding has helped us improve the site for the public”, said Katie Brasted, Executive Director. Trees funded by the BP grant and provided by the Chevron Tree Farm will be planted along the trail sections that are parallel to canals and open areas to establish a canopy of trees. The larger trees will help depress the introduction and spreading of invasive trees, provide enhanced habitat for wildlife and migratory birds and provide a shady buffer between the trail and developed areas. Woodlands Conservancy will be working with graphic designers to complete interpretive maps and tree identification materials to be located throughout the 12 miles of trails. The Woodlands group has picked September 29, National Public Lands Day as an “Open House” day at Woodlands Trail to show off the improvements funded by BP and other major contributors.
Woodlands Conservancy Celebrates a Decade of Conservation Work
Woodlands Conservancy’s 10th Anniversary Gala was a grand success. The event was organized by the nonprofit organization to celebrate a decade of conservation. The event held at English Turn Golf and Country Club on Friday October 14, focused on honoring the top organization and individual contributors since the organization was formed in 2001. The award given to each honoree was a Giclee of an original art piece of an egret painted by local artist Glen Weber. Thanks to the immense generosity of Weber, the collection of original art and a limited edition of Giclees will be available for sale on November 01 with a percent of the proceeds going to Woodlands Conservancy’s endowment fund at the Greater New Orleans Foundation.
The event was a multi-grand success.”, says board president Heidi Poche, “With the generosity of our sponsors, Chevron Oronite, ConocoPhillips, Daybrook Fisheries, Power System Specialists, Trinchero Family Estates’, Private Contributors and silent auction donors, we made over $25,000 to help further our mission.” The nonprofit organization has been working for the past ten years to connect low lying greenways and trails in the peninsula formed by Orleans and Plaquemines parish. “We have a lot to celebrate.” says Board Member Lynda Banta, “We have come a long way. We have over thirteen miles of greenways and trails established in Plaquemines Parish that are being used by thousands of people a year”.
Woodlands Conservancy Holds Retreat at Southern Yacht Club
Working with the Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations, Woodlands Conservancy launched their first Capacity Building workshop retreat on Saturday, August 13, 2011 at the Southern Yacht Club. Woodlands Conservancy was a recent recipient of the Every Day Grant from the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) to work with the Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations to strengthen their capacity. The National Environmental Education Foundation, with generous support from Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc., provides funds to strengthen organizations and unleash their potential to serve their public lands. With the support of a letter from Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, Woodlands Conservancy met the requirements of demonstrating a positive, collaborative partnership with the local public lands site.
Support for Woodlands Conservancy’s NRDA Projects Keeps Growing
At a recent meeting of the board of directors of Orleans Audubon Society, a resolution was unanimously passed supporting Woodlands Conservancy’s projects that were submitted to expand, restore and enhance vital habitat for neotropical migratory birds within the peninsula formed by Orleans and Plaquemines Parish. OAS further acknowledged their support by providing a generous donation to further the mission of Woodlands Conservancy. Read Full Resolution. On July 14, 2011, the New Orleans Group of the Sierra Club passed a supporting resolution that additionally asked the Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club to make a financial contribution to Woodlands Conservancy’s efforts. The Crescent Bird Club and Louisiana Ornthilogical Society expressed their support by providing a generous contribution to the Woodlands Conservancy Greenway Corridor project.
Woodlands Conservancy Receives Richard West Freeman Endowment Challenge
Katie Brasted and Heidi Poche of Woodlands Conservancy attended a recent kick-off meeting for Woodlands Conservancy’s Richard West Freeman Endowment Challenge at the Greater New Orleans Foundation. Program Assistant, Roy Williams congratulated the organization for being the receiver of one of the top awards from the Richard West Freeman Endowment Challenge. Woodlands Conservancy will have until May 31, 2012 to raise $30,000 for an endowment fund that will be housed at GNOF and if successful, will receive a match of $15,000 from the Richard West Freeman Foundation. No more than $7500 can come from one individual donor for the required match. See Full Press Release.
Resolutions Support Woodlands Conservancy’s NRDA Projects
The Orleans Parish Council unanimously passed Resolution 11-132 on March 17th introduced by Councilwoman Kristen Palmer, supporting Woodlands Conservancy’s project submitted for Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) funding. On March 20th, the Louisiana Wildlife Federation passed Resolution 3B and Resolution 4B supporting Woodlands Conservancy’s Greenway Corridor Projects submitted for NRDA funds to ensure migratory bird habitat and recreational opportunities in perpetuity in both Orleans and Plaquemines Parish. Letters of support for funding have also been received from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program and Mayor’s Office of Environmental and Coastal Affairs and the New Orleans Group of the Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club.
Daybrook Pavilion to Soon Become Reality
Thanks to contributions from Daybrook Fisheries and American Electric Power, the entrance pavilion at Woodlands Trail will soon be a reality. The Daybrook Pavilion will be a 12′ x 24′ shelter that can be used for educational gatherings for school and interest groups as well as a site for a leisurely lunch while watching activities along the Plantar’s Canal. A generous contribution from Daybrook Fisheries of $10,000 will be used to construct the pavilion with the very skilled labor provided by Seabees currently stationed at the Naval Joint Reserve Base in Belle Chasse. Two sides of the structure will have benches constructed with a $1000 grant provided by American Electric Power. Visit soon to see the progress.
LSU School of Architecture, Office of Community Design and Development
Release Development Models
Professor Frank Bosworth, LSU School of Architecture, Office of Community Design and Development will present a brief Power point presentation on the Proposed Interpretive Center to be located at Woodlands Trail and Park and a design for a potential Riverfront Pavilion. Physical models of the two designs will be set-up in the Plaquemines Parish Council chambers for public viewing at the Council meeting on July 8, 2010 at 1 p.m. The Interpretive Center designed to be built on constructed wetlands will be a state-of-the-art sustainable design with little or no carbon footprint. The building will contain educational materials and exhibits of the environmental and cultural history of the area as well as the physical structure itself being a tool to instruct others of similar elements they can incorporate into their own homes to reduce their carbon footprint. The council meetings are held at 450 F. Edward Hebert Blvd. in Belle Chasse. For future information about the designs contact 504.433.4000.
Woodlands Holds 3rd Mississippi Riverboat Cruise
Despite the somewhat inclement weather on the day of Woodlands Trail and Park’s Riverboat Cruise, over one hundred friends and supporters boarded the Creole Queen for the annual fund raising event including Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser. Guests at the event were given the opportunity for the first viewing of the models of the Interpretive Center and River Pavilion completed by LSU Office of Community Design and Development. President Nungesser praised the work and expressed his support of public-private partnerships and offered ideas for funding the quality of life amenities for the area. The models are scheduled for presentation at the Plaquemines Parish Council meeting on July 8.
The cruise on the Mighty Mississippi included live music by Steamboat Willie and some unique history story telling by Andrew Barron, Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program. Mr. Barron explained the significance of the land and efforts of Woodlands and talked of the early environmental history of how the area was formed and how our ancestors discovered medicinal values of plants in the forest. Between dining on local cuisine and sipping “River ritas”, those in attendance made the Silent Auction a major success.
The annual fund raising event was made possible by Chevron, Jon Khachaturian, Entergy, Ochsner Medical Center – West Bank, John W. Stone Oil Distributor, Wal-Mart Foundation and Sam’s Club. McMoRan Exploration and WWNO 89.9 helped to spread the word of the fund raising event by contributing printing and air time. Click here to see more photos.