Students complete LWF’s inaugural conservation leadership program

In the Spring of 2018, Louisiana Wildlife Federation (LWF) advertised a new program to educate students about conservation policy, advocacy and leadership. The Edgar Veillon Conservation Leadership Corps (EV-CLC) is named after long-time LWF supporter whose bequest provided funds to launch the program.

High school seniors and college freshmen, sophomores and juniors from colleges and universities across the state were eligible to apply.

Students of the 2018-2019 Edgar Veillon Conservation Leadership Corps class include:
Chandler Ancar
Makayla Baham
Aimee Bajoie
Shelby Brundige
Saheba Cuccia
Sydney Finn
Shelby Francis
Priya Gilman
Natalie Lafont
Sloan Livaccari
Natalie Matherne
Tess Morton
Eduardo Paternostro
Rosalind Remsen

Students convened for four sessions in Baton Rouge. In February, students also took a tour of the Mississippi River physical model at the LSU Center for River Studies in Baton Rouge. Each session included presentations from various public and private sector professions. Our speakers included:
Dr. Bob Stewart, Barney Callahan and Rebecca Triche, Louisiana Wildlife Federation
Virginia Burkett
Mark Davis, Director of Tulane Institute of Water Resources Law Policy
Charles Demas, USGS (retired)
Bren Haase, Deputy Executive Director, CPRA
Ryan Haynie, Lobbyist, Haynie & Associates
Karen Gautreaux, Director of Government Relations, The Nature Conservancy
Erik Johnson, Director of Bird Conservation, Audubon Louisiana
Jim LaCour, State Wildlife Veterinarian, LDWF
Kevin Norton, State Conservationist, UDA-NRCS
Tim Osborne, Navigation Manager, NOAA
Bobby Soileau, Director of Ag Leadership, LSU AgCenter
Robert Twilley, Executive Director, Louisiana Sea Grant College Program

Students worked in groups to research conservation issues. LWF Conservation Education Committee members Bob Stewart, Barney Callahan and Zac Burson served as group mentors. The issues chosen by the groups included plastics/pollution in Louisiana waterways, sea level rise/subsidence, and invasive species. The final session consisted of each group giving a presentation to a panel of experts, which consisted of Cynthia Duet (Deputy Director of Audubon Louisiana), Maura Wood (NWF Partnership Manager for the Restore Mississippi River Delta Coalition) and Rex Caffey (professor of natural resource economics at LSU).

Students received a $150 scholarship along with a certificate of achievement and letter of commendation for successfully completing the program. In addition, students also have a one-year complimentary membership to LWF to continue their conservation advocacy.

Students are also invited to upcoming events including Coastal Day at the Legislature, LWF’s Conservation Achievement Awards Banquet and LWF’s Annual Convention.

LWF affiliate Rapides Wildlife Association and the Louisiana Ornithological Society have both contributed donations to help launch the program. LWF thanks them for their generous support! We would also like to thank Dr. Allen Rutherford at LSU and Dr. Robert Twilley of Louisiana Sea Grant for providing meeting space as well as all of our wonderful speakers for taking the time to come speak to our students. Finally, LWF would like to thank our Conservation Education Committee members – whose guidance and mentorship for students has been critical to the success of this inaugural year!

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