Jan Morgan, Merrill, Thomas A., Burgess, Wayne, Morgan, Johnny W. | 7/14/2007 12:08:33 AM
Plaquemines Parish 4-H’ers went to camp and attended 4-H University this summer thanks to a donation from a local company designed to help the youth development program rebuild in the area.
The $7,500 donation made this spring by Louisiana Fruit Co. helped finance trips for 10 4-H’ers who attended 4-H University in Baton Rouge June 19-22 and for 70 youngsters who participated in activities at 4-H Camp Grant Walker in Central Louisiana June 11-15. It also is assisting with other rebuilding efforts the parish’s 4-H program is undergoing in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Company officials said they believe in the LSU AgCenter’s 4-H youth development program and that the donation was one way to show support for young people in an area severely affected by the 2005 hurricanes.
4-H is the youth development and outreach program of the nation’s land-grant universities and is operated across Louisiana by the LSU AgCenter. Through educational projects and activities, 4-H helps young people develop valuable skills and knowledge that will benefit them, their families and their communities.
In addition to helping finance trips to 4-H University and 4-H Camp, LSU AgCenter 4-H agents Jan Morgan and Wayne Burgess of Plaquemines Parish said the donation, which was made to the parish’s 4-H Foundation, will help replace 4-H supplies lost when the hurricanes wiped out the parish office and assist with coastal wetlands projects.
George Pivach II of the Louisiana Fruit Co. said he believes the 4-H youth program positively affects Plaquemines Parish and the children living there.
"We wanted to show our support of the 4-H youth development program and to make certain that the student members whose lives were affected by the storm would still have the opportunities that 4-H offers them," Pivach said. "The programs offered by 4-H can change a child’s life, as well as our parish, and Louisiana Fruit is proud to be a part of that."
Morgan said there were 750 4-H members in the parish before the storm but that the membership has only seen about 500 of those come back so far.
Those members already have been involved in a variety of projects designed to improve conditions in their area – now and in the future.
"Before Hurricane Katrina, members of the Plaquemines Parish 4-H Junior Leadership Club had participated in coastal restoration projects over the past 10 years," Burgess said.
Morgan also pointed to coastal restoration work as one of the major projects motivating 4-H’ers in the area before and after the storms.
"Our 4-H members have planted over 1,500 bald cypress seedlings at the Delta Wildlife Refuge and, with assistance from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, they planted 3,000 feet of sand fencing and about 8,000 plants on Breton Island – a parcel of land that sits along the coast of Plaquemines Parish," she said.
Morgan added that the Louisiana Fruit Co. donation was a major "shot in the arm" to help finance a variety of projects. Although smaller donations have helped the program continue, this one came at the right moment, she added.
Although Hurricane Katrina destroyed some of the earlier projects 4-H’ers had completed, the LSU AgCenter 4-H agents said they are optimistic about the future of their program, especially since receiving support from neighboring organizations and companies.
"We remain committed to doing what we can to save our wetlands," Burgess said. "We are deeply grateful and appreciative of the generous donation from the Louisiana Fruit Company. These funds will help us to continue to provide excellent educational opportunities for the youth of Plaquemines Parish."
For more information on the LSU AgCenter’s 4-H youth development program and other AgCenter research and educational programs, visit www.lsugacenter.com.
Jan Morgan at (504) 433-3664 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Wayne Burgess at (504) 278-4234 or email@example.com
Johnny Morgan at (225) 578-8484 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Merrill at (225) 578-2263 or email@example.com