WEEKLY eNEWS: Events, Grants, Contests, Volunteer Opportunities, Resources

A Compilation of Environmental Education News from Across Louisiana

EVENTS

Plastic Ocean Talk – Friday, March 30th, 7:00 pm–9:00 pm
Presentation on the “Plastic Ocean” by Captain Charles Moore (book signing to follow) will be at LSU’s School of Coast & Environment’s auditorium (book signing in rotunda). Join Captain Moore, the founder of Algalita Marine Research Foundation, for a riveting expose' of humanity's "plastic footprint." An acclaimed speaker and international authority, Moore explains in vivid detail his first-hand experience of the alarming consequences millions of tons of persistent plastic waste, including the Japanese Tsunami debris now impacting Hawaii, is having on the marine environment, and ultimately, us. Captain Moore has brought wide attention to the enormous plastic debris field (larger than Texas) in the Pacific gyre, and to the unintended and often deadly fate of plastics in marine food webs. For more information, contact: Seth Blitch, Director of Coastal and Marine Conservation, sblitch@tnc.org, (225) 338.1040 Ext. 2010

Globe at Night: Calling All Citizens: Measure Light Pollution in Your Night Sky
Light pollution threatens not only our ability to starlight, but can affect energy consumption, wildlife and health, according to scientists. From April 11-20, citizens are invited to measure the night-sky brightness and report their observation via the programs’ web app http://www.globeatnight.org/webapp/ using their computer or smart phone. People in 115 countries have contributed more than 70,000 measurement, making Globe at Night one of the most successful light-pollution awareness campaigns. Learn more from audio podcasts available on iTunes at 365 Days of Astronomy

Environmental Education Week is April 15-21, 2012!
Greening STEM Planning Tool Kits are available in honor of the 2012 theme, Greening STEM: The Environment as Inspiration for 21st Century Learning. The set of five planning tool kits are for educators including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) activities and resources around popular environmental topics. www.eeweek.org/greening_stem

Water Words That Work!
Get Your Environmental Message Out Using “Plain Language” That Works at this FREE Science Communication workshop at Stennis Space Center! Thursday, April 19, 2012, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, Room C107, Conference Center, Stennis Space Center, Stennis, MS
This one day workshop will improve your ability to communicate science and resource management messages to the public at large. You will also learn how to discuss controversial topics and keep your cool under pressure. If you work in the field of coastal resource management you need to take this workshop. During the first half of the day workshop leader Eric Eckl will reconnect you with the perspective that everyday citizens have on resource management and environmental protection, and he will share the shocking secret of what motivates them to take action. As you relearn the language that everyday citizens use, you’ll become more confident and successful as you set out to enlighten the uninformed and misinformed about our inland and coastal waters. The second half of the workshop will be spent honing the messaging skills you need to set the record straight and ensure your message gets out correctly. For more information and to register online, click here.

CPRA and Corps to Host Public Meetings to Initiate Mississippi River Hydrodynamic and Delta Management Study
The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana (CPRA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District will host multiple public scoping meetings throughout the month of April to engage the public in the initiation of the “Louisiana Coastal Area - Mississippi River Hydrodynamic and Delta Management Study.” This important study will identify and evaluate a combination of large-scale management and restoration features to address the long-term sustainability of the lower Mississippi River Delta.
Six public scoping meetings will be held throughout Southeastern Louisiana and Mississippi to inform interested parties in the initiation of the study and Environmental Impact Statement, and provide the public with an opportunity to present issues and topics they feel the study should consider. Each meeting will include an open house from 6:00 to 6:30 p.m. followed by a presentation on the study, an opportunity for questions and answers, and a formal scoping comment submission period from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
The scoping meeting details are as follows:
Tuesday, April 10, 2012: LA Dept. of Natural Resources – LaSalle Building, LaBelle Room, 1st Floor – 617 North Third Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Thursday, April 12, 2012: Port of New Orleans, Auditorium – 1350 Port of New Orleans Place, New Orleans, LA 70160
Tuesday, April 17, 2012: Larose Civic Center – 307 East 5th Street, Larose, LA 70373
Thursday, April 19, 2012: Boothville-Venice Elementary School – #1 Oiler Drive, Boothville, LA 70038
Tuesday, April 24, 2012: Waveland Civic Center – 335 Coleman Ave, Waveland, MS 39576
Thursday, April 26, 2012: St. Bernard Parish Council Chambers – 8201 W. Judge Perez Drive, Chalmette, LA 70043
The Mississippi River Hydrodynamic and Delta Management Study area covers the lower Mississippi River and surrounding deltaic regions, and is the first large-scale, long-term restoration assessment to be conducted under the LCA Program. This study will provide a decision-making framework for the management of a sustainable coastal ecosystem that allows for the coexistence of navigation and flood control, while supporting the needs of Louisiana and the Nation. Work on the study will be shared by the Corps of Engineers and the CPRA throughout the study. For more information, please visit www.lca.gov or contact: Chuck Perrodin, CPRA Public Information Director, (225) 342-7615, Chuck.Perrodin2@la.gov

Registration is now available for the 2012 Gulf of Mexico Alliance All Hands Meeting (June 19–21)
Omni Corpus Christi Hotel, 900 North Shoreline Boulevard, Corpus Christi, TX 78401
Tuesday June 19, 2012 at 8:30 AM CDT -to- Thursday June 21, 2012 at 5:00 PM CDT Add to my calendar
Review the SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
If you will be joining us, please let us know: REGISTRATION
Sponsorship forms are available at www.gulfofmexicoalliance.org or contact Laura Bowie at (228) 523-4013 or laura.bowie@gomxa.org.


GRANTS

The NOAA Office of Education (OEd) is issuing a request for applications for projects designed to expand or develop professional development and other capacity-building activities for informal science educators and volunteers. A successful project will utilize the resources of multiple institutions to enhance the capacity of informal science educators and volunteers to engage visitors and promote public understanding and stewardship of coastal, marine, and/or freshwater environments. Eligible applicants are collaborative teams that include at least three non-profit U.S. aquariums, of which at least one must be accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Collaborative teams should involve applicants from multiple U.S. states and are strongly encouraged to include at least one aquarium that has not previously received a grant from NOAA’s Office of Education. There is special interest in collaborative teams that include aquariums representing a wide range of annual operating budgets, total visitorship numbers, and/or physical sizes.
          Proposed projects should be between two and five years in duration and have maximum total combined budget requests of $1,000,000 for all years of the project. The deadline for applications is midnight EDT on May 7, 2012.
          Two informational webinars with the program officers will occur on March 28, 2012 from 3:00 to 5:00 PM EDT and March 29, 2012, from 3:00 to 5:00 PM EDT
. By noon EDT on March 27, 2012, interested applicants should register by contacting oed.grants@noaa.gov and include in the Subject line of the email: "Register for Aquarium Professional Development FFO Webinar" and provide the interested party’s name, institution, telephone number, email address and preferred date in the body of the email. You will receive an email response from oed.grants@noaa.gov with the log-in information and date for the webinar.  Whenever possible, individuals from the same institution should try to join the webinar from the same computer/phone line. You can also visit our website for updates: http://www.oesd.noaa.gov/grants/elg.html

LEEC GRANTS applications deadline is tomorrow. Applications must be postmarked by March 30th!
Attached are the application forms for the Environmental Education Commission’s grant program which targets Louisiana and its citizens.
Educator Grants
     •  Based on sound scientific principles, have an environmental focus, and be designed to directly impact K-12 students
     •  Amount not to exceed $1,000 for 1 educator, $2,000 for 2 or more educators jointly
     •  Deadline: March 30, 2012
Formal/Non-Formal Educator/Professional Development Grants
     •   Based on sound scientific principles, have an environmental focus, and be designed to directly impact Pre-Service and/or In-Service Educators
     •   Amount not to exceed $2,500
     •   Deadline: March 30, 2012
University Research Grants
     •  Post-graduate research with a focus on environmental issues
     •  Amount not to exceed $1,000
     •  Deadline: March 30, 2012
The Vendor Location & W-9 forms are also attached for your convenience. For more information on these grants, visit our website at: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/eec or contact: Venise Ortego, Environmental Education Coordinator, Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries, 337-948-0255, vortego@wlf.la.gov


CONTESTS

Gr 5-8 Earth Day Photo Contest (Deadline May 11)
Our planet is changing quickly - and what better way to capture those seasonal changes than with a photograph. Spring is a dynamic season: gray and brown landscapes give way to green trees and colorful flowers, birds migrate to summer homes, and weather patterns change. During the week of Earth Day (April 22), middle school students across the country can be part of a unique photography and short essay contest, documenting changes in their local environment. The top three winners will receive $150, $100, and $75 Visa gift cards. For more information and complete rules, visit http://bit.ly/yV35bh. Earth Day Photo Contest http://tinyurl.com/73rwf3r

Make Waves with “Project Blue Planet” to Save the Oceans (Deadline: June 1)
Project Blue Planet is a nationwide contest organized by the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. In celebration of the Zoo’s seal and sea lion exhibit set to open later this year, they challenge elementary, middle and high school students to form eco-teams or class projects that can educate their classmates and inspire them to take action. A healthy planet starts in your school and schoolyard.
          Enter Project Blue Planet to earn your school a “Seal” of Approval. One lucky team from each age group will win a $1,500 cash prize to continue their green (and blue) efforts. Students can focus their projects on eliminating waste, reducing energy use, creating a healthier environment, or improving lifestyle choices. These categories are listed on the Zoo’s website, along with advice about actions that students could use in their project from members of the Zoo’s Green Team, which works to “green” the Zoo.
          Projects must be completed by June 1, 2012. Entries will be judged on their projects’ environmental impact, educational content and creativity. Along with the project, students will need to submit the following:
          • A description of how the project educates others.
          • Documentation of up to 10 photos and/or a link to a video (five minutes maximum).
          • A group photo of the team.
Visit the Zoo’s website for more details, ideas and registration forms. Project Blue Planet is sponsored by Whole Foods Market, Kiwi Magazine, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Officer Snook Water Pollution Program.


VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

Help Clean Bayou Lafourche – Saturday, March 31, 2012, 1 PM-4 PM
Help beautify the bayou and clean the body of water that provides the drinking water for our area.
Help us sweep the trash out of the Bayou!

Drinks, snacks, gloves, trash bags, trash pickers, towels, huggers, t-shirt, door prizes will be supplied. Please bring sunscreen, wear old clothes, wear old tennis shoes, proud south Louisiana attitude. The event is projected to clean up 106 miles of the bayou from Donaldsonville to Golden Meadow. The BTNEP is looking for volunteers to clean up from boats in the bayou or along the bayou side and around bridge areas. If you or your organization would like to volunteer please contact Alma Robichaux at the BTNEP at 985.855.8255 or 985.447.0868, or email atalma@btnep.org.

Volunteers Needed to Assist with a Cypress Marsh Restoration Project near Chalmette (April 2)
The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL) and the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation are looking for interested volunteers to participate in a cypress swamp restoration project near the Caernarvon Diversion in Plaquemines Parish, LA on Monday, April 2, 2012 from 9:00 a.m. to no later than 4:00 p.m. All volunteers must register with CRCL to attend the event! All planting equipment (gloves, shovels, etc.), lunch, and refreshments will be provided. Volunteers will be planting 250 three-gallon pots of cypress trees and wrapping the trees with protectors to shield them from predators. Volunteers will be transported to the planting site by boat. This is a strenuous and dirty activity, so physical fitness is required. If you would like to volunteer your boat for this event, please let them know.  It would be used to help transport volunteers and trees to the site. A flat bottom boat that can navigate shallow water is preferred. If you are interested, please email Hilary Collis at hilaryc@crcl.org for more information.


RESOURCES

Louisiana’s Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast Final Master Plan Released
On March 21, 2012 the CPRA unanimously approved the 2012 Coastal Master Plan for submission to the Louisiana Legislature. To view a PDF copy of the plan, please CLICK HERE (warning, large file size) http://www.coastalmasterplan.louisiana.gov/2012-master-plan/final-master-plan/. Please pardon our progress as we upload the plan to the online viewing software and while our Planning Team works to post the Master Plan appendices for downloading.

Juvenile Tarpon Nursery Locations Reporting
In accordance with the Southeastern Wildlife Conservation Group’s (SWCG - www.swcgroup.org) efforts in supporting the research and conservation efforts of the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT - www.tarbone.org) on Tarpon and the fishery they support, they are requesting reports of juvenile tarpon populations from all States. These reports will be noted and used in habitat analysis and research that can lead to habitat restorations and habitat protections. Without public reports of juvenile tarpon populations, some of these nurseries can be overlooked and could succumb to developments, pollution and disasters. Should you or someone you know have the knowledge of locations of juvenile tarpon, please email SWCG President Mark Langner at mark.langner@swcgroup.org with the following information:
          • City and State
          • GPS coordinates or specific description of location
          • How population was identified (i.e. cast net, rod and reel, word of mouth, etc. if known)
          • Size of fish in the population (length or weight if known)
Your input is greatly needed in helping the research and conservation of tarpon and the fishery they support.

The Tree of Life Web Project (ToL) is a collaborative effort of biologists and nature enthusiasts from around the world. On more than 10,000 World Wide Web pages, the project provides information about biodiversity, the characteristics of different groups of organisms, and their evolutionary history (phylogeny).
Explore the Tree of Life: Each page contains information about a particular group, e.g., salamanders, segmented worms, phlox flowers, tyrannosaurs, euglenids, Heliconius butterflies, club fungi, or the vampire squid. ToL pages are linked one to another hierarchically, in the form of the evolutionary tree of life. Starting with the root of all Life on Earth and moving out along diverging branches to individual species, the structure of the ToL project thus illustrates the genetic connections between all living things. http://www.tolweb.org/tree/

Animal Diversity Web
Animal diversity web has thousands of species accounts about individual animal species. These may include text, pictures of living animals, photographs and movies of specimens, and/or recordings of sounds. Descriptions of levels of organization, and resources for teachers included. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/about/overview.html


Find out about wetland outreach activities including symposiums, conferences, meetings, educational opportunities, volunteer opportunities, and related support material at the Louisiana Unified Coastal Community Calendar at http://lacoast.gov/calendar/



Venise Ortego, Environmental Education Coordinator, 337-948-0255, vortego@wlf.la.gov
Juliet Raffray, Environmental Education Assistant Coordinator, 225-765-0124, jraffray@wlf.la.gov
Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries – www.wlf.louisiana.gov/eec