FLETCHER STUDENTS PARTICIPATE IN QUEEN BESS ISLAND RESTORATION PROJECT
(Grand Isle, LA) – Seven students from Fletcher Technical Community College recently participated in a restoration project on Queen Bess Island, along with instructors Jacqueline Richard and John Myers. They worked on the island alongside the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program; the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (they restored the island through dredged materials); and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. The event was the first major volunteer effort of Restore or Retreat.
“One of the hallmarks of community colleges is their participation in the local community where they reside,” said Fletcher Chancellor Dr. Kristine Strickland. “The faculty and students who participated in the Queen Bess island restoration demonstrate Fletcher‘s continued commitment to our community and most especially to the restoration of our coastline. I appreciate the time, energy and effort the students and faculty put in to this project. I would also like to thank Restore or Retreat for the opportunity and to thank them for their organization of this service project and their continued partnership with Fletcher.”
The group spent two days planting approximately 6,800 black mangroves and matrimony vine. The black mangroves will help stabilize the soil after the restoration efforts, and brown pelicans prefer to nest there. Matrimony vine produces the wolfberry fruit, and was planted as a food source for birds on the island. According to Jacqueline Richard, Associate Professor of Geology, Department Head of Science, and Assistant Director of the Fletcher Institute of Coastal Studies, plants help stabilize the ground because their roots hold the sediment in place, and slow down erosion. She pointed out that these plants were chosen with the pelicans in mind as well.
After coming near to eradication, both by industrial expansion, and from the effects of DDT on the pelicans’ eggs, Queen Bess Island has become an important nesting site for the brown pelican, along with many other birds. Admittance to the island is allowed to anyone who can arrive by boat, except during the months of February through September, as that is when the brown pelicans are nesting.
Fletcher students who participated in the planting are:
Ignacia Brown; Stephanie Plaisance; Keymiya Williams; Hannah Lapeyrouse; Preston Perez; Pearl Sanchez; and Alexis Pradat.
Students, faculty, staff, and community members interested in planting events this winter should contact Jacqueline Richard at Jacqueline.firstname.lastname@example.org, or 985-240-9526.
Photo caption: Fletcher students and faculty pause from their work on Queen Bess Island. They are, left to right, Pearl Sanchez, Hannah Lapeyrouse, Ignacia Brown, Jacqueline Richard, John Myers, Preston Perez, Keymiya Williams, and Alexis Pradat.