Rene Schmit | 4/17/2009 6:38:15 PM
NEW ORLEANS – Area youth learned the importance of Louisiana’s wetlands at a crawfishing clinic recently held at the Bonné Carre Spillway.
The event was cosponsored by America’s Wetland Conservation Corps volunteers and LSU AgCenter extension agents.
Rene Schmit, LSU AgCenter county agent in St. Charles and St. John parishes, said this is the first time an event like this has been held in St. John Parish.
“These American Wetlands Conservation Corps volunteers have really brought us some high visibility,” he said.
The two volunteers credited for putting the event together are former 4-H members Amanda Boudreaux from St. John Parish and Jonas Augustine from St. Charles Parish.
Boudreaux said the idea for having the clinic came as a result of talking to some college friends who said they had never been fishing for crawfish.
“Being a Boudreaux, I’ve been crawfishing since I was a young kid,” she said. “My dad always brought me to the spillway when I was younger.”
She said she knew she had to do something to let younger kids learn about this hobby so she opened the event up to all kids.
Kelli Perret, the St. John Parish 4-H agent and Boudreaux’s supervisor, said they had been discussing the importance of Louisiana’s wetlands at 4-H club meetings in February and March.
“In March we discussed crawfish, so we decided that we needed to do an education awareness event for all children in the area on the importance of this industry and what it takes to grow crawfish,” she said.
Five stations were set up for the young people to visit. At the first station, they learned about the importance of the wetlands. At the second, which was the alligator station, they got to touch a 2-year-old alligator. At the third station, they learned about crawfish. At the fourth station, they tried their hand at catching crawfish.
At the fifth station, Army Corp of Engineers personnel to taught the young people about water safety and life jackets.
Boudreaux said the highlight of the event was for the youngsters to be able to eat the catch at the end of the day.
American Wetlands Conservation Corps volunteers are working in various LSU AgCenter parish offices throughout the state for one year to provide information on the importance of Louisiana’s wetlands.
Boudreaux, who is a student at Delgado Community College in New Orleans, plans to enter LSU and major in environmental management after she completes her year as a volunteer.
Augustine said he was undecided on a major after he graduated from high school last year, so he took the year off to volunteer.
“I knew I wanted to be in the education field, but I wasn’t sure what area. So this year is allowing me to my feet wet while working closely with the 4-H agents,” he said.
Augustine is the former president and vice-president of Louisiana 4-H, and Boudreaux has 10 years of 4-H experience.
For additional information on the LSU AgCenter’s programs and how you can get involved in the in American Wetlands Conservation Corps, visit the Web site at www.lsuagcenter.com.
Writer: Johnny Morgan