Brown Environmental Leadership Lab: New Orleans & Louisiana Gulf Coast
Ecology, Culture, and Sustainable Development for High School Students
April 18-25, 2014
For students currently in
grades 10, 11 & 12 with a minimum
age of 15 at the time of the program.
Residential: There is no commuter option for this program.
The application period for BELL: Hawai'i 2014 is now closed.
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This spring, Brown University offers outstanding high school students an opportunity to study wetland ecology, sustainable development and culture in the nation’s largest coastal wetlands laboratory: the Mississippi River Delta of southeastern Louisiana.
The Mississippi River Delta: A fragile ecological engine in the Gulf of Mexico
The Mississippi River Delta is an enormously productive ecosystem, critical to the healthy functioning of both human and natural systems. Amidst the Delta’s unique cultural heritage and distinct geography are thriving industries, including commercial fishing, energy exploration, and shipping.
Did you know?
- Louisiana’s Gulf Coast fisheries provide roughly 30% of US seafood.
- Over 75% of Louisiana’s commercially harvested fish and shellfish species are dependent on wetlands that provide valuable breeding, spawning, feeding and nursery grounds for many of these species.
- 4,000 oil rigs in the Gulf Coast produce 80% of the nation’s offshore oil and gas
- 20% of the nation’s waterborne commerce travels through the deep water ports of Louisiana.
- Every 2.5 miles of wetlands absorbs one foot of storm surge.
- 3 million acres of wetlands provide habitat for over 5 million migratory waterfowl annually.
- Before Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana had the highest nativity rate in the nation. Census data also showed that a majority of respondents had lived in the same house for five years or more, meaning that these populations were extremely tied to their home, the land, and their community.
- Louisiana is losing the equivalent of more than a football field every hour. The responsibility for the protection and conservation of this area belongs to all of us.
If this area is not protected and restored:
- gulf fisheries will collapse.
- 2 million people living on the Louisiana coast will face displacement, unemployment, and social disarticulation.
- a $1.2 billion dollar wildlife industry and 16,500 jobs will be threatened.
- annual flood damages will reach into the tens of billions of dollars each year.
- oil and gas infrastructure will lie bare to the brunt force of tropical storms until it is no longer feasible to maintain.
- oil and gas prices will increase and tens of thousands of jobs will be lost.
Travel from New Orleans to rural communities of the delta and explore how Louisiana can protect its wetlands, its economy, and the well-being of its citizens.