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America's WETLAND Launches Art, Photo, and Essay Contest, Announces Line-Up of Community Involvement Activities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 15, 2008

CONTACT: Mary Lousteau, ml@mcopr.com or 202.387.8550 John Hill, talktojhill@aol.com or 504.756.0101

AMERICA'S WETLAND LAUNCHES ART, PHOTO, AND ESSAY CONTEST, ANNOUNCES LINE-UP OF COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT ACTIVITIES

NEW ORLEANS, LA. - The America's WETLAND Foundation today launched a three-month-long contest for Louisiana's schoolchildren designed to increase awareness of the importance of saving Louisiana's wetlands. The art, photo, and essay competition, entitled "Keep Your Eye of the Prize," will encourage students across the state to consider the value of the Louisiana's coastal wetlands to their own lives, their state, and their country.

The competition is being coordinated with schools and the LSU AgCenter, sponsor of the Youth Wetlands Week, March 31 to April 4. Louisiana students will learn lessons about Louisiana's wetlands and some will participate in wetland renewal projects at neighboring wetland sites. The 21 Americorps members of the America's WETLAND Conservation Corps will coordinate education and volunteer events statewide, and teachers will be encouraged to incorporate the wetlands into their curriculum.

"Students will be encouraged to respond to the lessons they learn during Youth Wetlands Week," said R. King Milling of New Orleans, chairman of the America's WETLAND Foundation. "Because the contest offers the opportunity to creatively express the impact of the wetlands on all of our lives, students can identify on a personal level with this urgent environmental threat."

The Keep Your Eye on the Prize competiton runs Feb. 15 through May 15. Students from grades 4-12, while learning about the critical importance of restoring Louisianas coast, will be encouraged to submit original artwork, photographs, or essays on the topic online. Nine winners will each receive $500 and the assistance of the America's WETLAND Conservation Corps to complete wetlands restoration event in their area.

Judges of the contest are noted wetlands photographer, Bevil Knapp; Derek Gordan, CEO of the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, and members of the Women of the Storm.

During Youth Wetlands Week, some 1,000 teachers will teach wetlands-related lessons to 55,000 young people. Curriculum tools include the following wetland facts: -Louisiana has lost 1,900 square miles of wetlands since 1930. -30 percent of all coastal marshes in the United States are in Louisiana. -2.7 miles of wetlands can reduce storm surge by a foot during hurricanes. -Wetlands provide habitat for wildlife, including millions of waterfowl in the coastal wetlands of Louisiana. "During Youth Wetlands Week, students will learn that our coastal wetlands are an essential resource. In Louisiana, students will recognize its their state that is disappearing at the rate of a football field every 38 minutes," said Dwight Landreneau, associate vice chancellor, LSU AgCenter. "But we all know the value of the wetlands reach far beyond Louisiana and we're hoping that soon we'll see a Youth Wetlands Week in every state in the nation."

Several schools have agreed to coordinate a restoration planting at wetlands near their schools. They will be assisted by 4-H agents across the state, along with members of America's WETLAND Conservation Corps. They will work with teachers in teaching the classroom lessons and will lead a variety of outdoor restoration projects.

Youth Wetlands Week is funded through a grant from the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (LDNR). Under the leadership of LDNR Secretary Scott Angelle, the education program has reaches into every parish in Louisiana and provides tools for teachers, volunteers, and wetland experts to help unlock the curiosity and imagination of Louisiana youth.

For more information on the Keep Your Eye on the Prize contest, or to enter the contest, please visit www.americaswetland.com/contest.

The America's WETLAND Conservation Corps (AWCC) is a partnership between the America's WETLAND Campaign and the LSU AgCenter. The AWCC is an AmeriCorps program, supported by a grant from the Louisiana Serve Commission in the Office of Lt. Governor Mitchell J. Landrieu, and a generous donations from America's WETLAND sponsors.

The America's WETLAND Campaign -- one of the largest, most comprehensive public education efforts in Louisiana's history -- was launched to raise public awareness of the impact of Louisiana's wetland loss on the region, nation, and world. Sponsored by the America's WETLAND Foundation, the initiative is supported by a growing coalition of world, national, and state conservation and environmental organizations and has drawn private support from businesses that see wetlands protection as a key to economic growth.

The America's WETLAND Foundation recently launched its Climate, Energy and the Coast (CEC) Project, advancing science, technology, best practices, and policy for a sustainable future. CEC initiatives include: raising the level of influence and recognition of the Gulf Coast region as critical to the nation's economic, environmental, and energy security and the need for economic and ecological sustainability of the Gulf Coast energy-producing states: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama; forging collaborations among the region's universities and building capacity in science and engineering through Centers for Excellence; influencing the way the Congress and the White House address our nations large scale ecosystem restoration efforts; and fostering collaboration among the worlds great deltas, including America's great Mississippi River delta, seeking sustainable solutions for common challenges.

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The America's WETLAND Foundation manages the largest, most comprehensive public education campaign in Louisiana's history, raising public awareness of the impact of Louisiana's wetland loss on the state, nation and world. The America's Energy Coast initiative works to sustain the environmental and economic assets of the Gulf Coast region. The initiative is supported by a growing coalition of world, national and state conservation and environmental organizations and has drawn private support from businesses that see wetlands protection as a key to economic growth. For more information, visit www.americaswetland.com or www.futureofthegulfcoast.org.

America's WETLAND Birding Trails Women of the Storm Future of the Gulf Coast The Big River Works Deltas 2013 America's Energy Coast America's Wetland Conservation Corps America's Energy Coast

America's WETLAND Foundation
365 Canal Place, Suite 1475 | New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 293-2610 or (866) 4WETLAND

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