Mobile conservation classroom unveiled in Abbeville

Schultz Bruce, Waits, Shannan, Girouard, Ernest

News Release Distributed 09/16/11

ABBEVILLE, La. – Vermilion Parish officials dedicated a traveling classroom Sept. 14 to teach children about the importance of conservation and Louisiana’s wetlands.

The Conservation Classroom will tour schools to give students an overview on the role of wetlands for Louisiana’s coastal region, using 4-H junior leaders as instructors.

Partners in the program include the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, LSU AgCenter, Farm Bureau, Ag in the Classroom, Louisiana Land Bank and the Vermilion Soil and Water Conservation District.

The classroom’s initial funding was made with a grant obtained by the Vermilion SWCD from the National Conservation Foundation.

The classroom presentations can be modified to coincide with teachers’ lesson plans, said conservation district chairman Ernest Girouard.

The classroom, housed in a 40-foot-long trailer, has exhibits on soil, plants, water, air, animals and recycling.

The classroom is being used now for fourth- and fifth-graders in Vermilion Parish, but it will be used in schools from Cameron Parish to Terrebonne Parish and as far north as Evangeline Parish, said Mitzi Dohrman of the conservation district. The classroom has been used for groups such as the Boy Scouts and 4-H camp at the LSU AgCenter’s Grant Walker 4-H Educational Center.

“We are working with all aspects of the community,” Dohrman said.

4-H junior leaders who will be the instructors are Katie Murphy, Austin Gaspard and Michaela Herpin, all of Kaplan High School, and Leah Broussard of Abbeville High School, said Shannan Waits, LSU AgCenter 4-H agent in Vermilion Parish. Adult 4-H volunteers will include Gwen Broussard and Troy Mouton.

“We are happy to extend our educational efforts beyond our 4-H clubs,” Waits said.

Students are responding favorably to the classroom, said conservation district technician Ashlee Pommier. “It’s been very positive. They all take something very different out of it.”

Information about the classroom and the Vermilion Soil and Water Conservation District is available on the internet at

Bruce Schultz
9/16/2011 7:00:13 PM
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