Tuesday, Oct 4, 2011
Every year, National Public Lands Day provides volunteers with the opportunity to “give something back” to America’s millions of acres of public lands. At the Barataria Preserve of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve in Louisiana, over 40 volunteers spent September 24 helping to preserve one of the country’s most beautiful wetlands.
“When most people think about conservation, they’re often overwhelmed by the huge problems involved,” said Aleutia Scott, preserve supervisory park ranger. “In a few short hours on National Public Lands Day, they can see the difference they’ve made, whether it’s clearing a section of trail or hauling out trash. “
Jean Lafitte staff from resource management, maintenance, management, and interpretation pitched in too. A special project was spreading salvinia weevils as a biocontrol for an invasive plant species that has clogged preserve waterways for years. Park Ecologist Julie Whitbeck said, “I was very pleased with the effort and good will of the volunteers who worked with us. They made me want to do more projects with volunteers.”
Longtime park volunteer Larry Tuohy said, “This was a good example of what the National Park Service can do if they put their minds to it.” Park Ranger Stephanie Click, the park’s volunteer coordinator, was especially pleased that seven participants signed up to become long-term volunteers. The local Young Marines led all the volunteers in summing up the day and in thanking park staff for keeping America’s public lands in shape with a big “Hoo-rah!”