Helen V. Page, Meaux, James M., Fox, Janet E.
The Calcasieu Parish 4-H service-learning effort is aimed at educating youth on environmental issues and providing them service opportunities that can truly impact the environment, in particular the Louisiana coastline. The project was initially supported by a National 4-H/Coca-Cola grant and involved planting 5,000 marsh grass plants, using GPS units to track the progress and impact of the project, propagating plants over the winter, touring two wetlands research facilities, appearing on KLFY-TV10 to introduce the project and displaying three exhibits explaining the project. Beyond the service, a learning component included guest speakers providing information on: the impact of Hurricane Rita on the coastline, nonpoint source pollution and water runoff issues, and town beautification. Students researched and wrote six flyers about water-quality issues. They also presented the Enviroscape model and planted 40 trees in City Park. Collaborations included Rockefeller Refuge, Cameron Parish Police Jury, City of Jennings, Vermilion Parish School Board, Jefferson Davis Parish School Board, Town of Abbeville, Town of Welsh, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, Calcasieu Parish School Board and City of Lake Charles. Rockefeller Refuge donated housing and facilities for two nights, and schools donated teachers' time for guiding students in caring for propagated plants for several months. America’s Wetlands and AmeriaCorps provided volunteers to help execute the project.
The group continues their learning and service efforts. As the group continues to increase their knowledge, their service efforts evolve. The group continues to enhance their work through increased use of technology. One nationwide initiative the group is involved in is the 4-H Million Trees project. As a registered group, the Calcasieu Green Teens are working alongside other 4-H groups nationwide in an effort to do something to combat global climate change. The goal of this effort, according to the website http://www.4hmilliontrees.org/, is to plant 1,000,000 trees across the continent to help reduce atmospheric CO2. Clubs outside of the U.S. and Canada are also invited to participate. On a local level, the group works with local parks for beautification as well as provides educational programs at garden shows and other public venues.