September marked the beginning of the 2019-2020 class of the Edgar Veillon Conservation Leadership Corps (EV-CLC). The EV-CLC program provides training to increase skills and knowledge in key environmental issues, policymaking, leadership, ethics, public speaking, and career development.
This year’s class consists of undergraduate students from various Louisiana colleges and universities. Students selected to participate in the 2019-2020 EV-CLC class include: Gracie Babineaux, Matthew Berry, Keith Chenier, Will delaBretonne, Kali Elftmann, Josephine Engelman, Lexie LaGrone, Maegan LeBlanc, Avery Lemoine, Aly Pourciau, Grant Rhodes, Jack Rogers, Olivia Roy, Bianca Smith and Cameron Toerner.
Students kicked off their first of four training sessions with a tour of the LSU Center for River Studies. On Friday evening, students toured the 10,000 square foot physical model of the lower Mississippi River – one of the world’s largest movable bed physical models. The model is able to replicate the flow, water levels and sediment (sand) transport of the river, where one year of the Mississippi River is simulated in one hour.
Saturday’s training included presentations from various experts in conservation. Greg Grandy, Deputy Executive Director of the Coastal Protection & Restoration Authority (CPRA) discussed the agency’s past and current coastal projects and the various funding sources for their work. Dr. John Lopez, Director of Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation’s Coastal Sustainability Program presented on the emergence of Mardi Gras Pass on the Mississippi River. Dr. Robert Twilley, Executive Director of the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program, explained various approaches to coastal restoration. Su King and Tyler McCloud, Legislative Analyst and Attorney of the Louisiana House of Representatives, respectively, explained the legislative process and showed students how to navigate the Louisiana State Legislature website including how to search for bills, find committee members and how to find their representatives. LWF Executive Director, Rebecca Triche, wrapped up the day with a case study on wild horses in which the students were presented with contrasting views on the conservation issue.
LWF board members Bob Stewart, Barney Callahan and Larry Raymond are this year’s group mentors. Over the course of the year, students will focus group research on changes in the federal Endangered Species Act, policies affecting migratory birds along our sandy coast, and policies to guide wind energy development in Louisiana.
This program is made possible in part by the generous bequest of the late Edgar Veillon, for whom the program is named after. The 2019-2020 program is also supported by LWF affiliate Friends of Grand Isle and the Boo Grigsby Foundation. If you’d like to help support this educational program, contact Barbara Caldwell at firstname.lastname@example.org.