Recently, The Port of South Louisiana once again displayed their support of Nicholls State University and their efforts towards coastal restoration by way of an $18,000 donation. The fund will reportedly be used to produce native coastal plant materials for restoration projects, to support student coastal research projects, and to help with all that is involved with actively maintaining and upkeep the Nicholls Farm.
Nicholls Farm is an educational research center located on a 277-acre farm three miles south of Nicholls’ campus. In addition to serving as an environmental research center, the property also serves as an education center for Nicholls and other partners. Labs, classrooms, greenhouses, shade houses, storage barns, and a 7.5 acre-pond for wetland plant production are all housed at the farm.
Coastal restoration efforts are spearheaded by Nicholls biology students and faculty, and together they have grown, harvested, and planted over 35,000 plants in coastal habitats in recent years.
Dr. Allyse Ferrara, a distinguished service professor and Jerry Ledet Endowed Professor of Environmental Biologysaid of the donations to the farm, “Support from organizations like the Port of South Louisiana is absolutely critical for our native coastal plant materials program. Without support from the Port, we would not have the ability to hire students to maintain the farm and produce plants for restoration projects, and we would lose an important source of supply funds for the farm. We very much appreciate the support we have received from the Port and look forward to continuing this valuable relationship.”
The Nicolls Farm will continue to play an important, key role in the University’s growing commitment to restoring coastal Louisiana. The university is helped in these efforts by public-private partnerships. One such effort is to rebuild a bridge that will expand faculty access to farmland which can be used to plant rare and native Louisiana plants; additionally there are plans to expand research as well as educational capabilities at the farm. There are also plans for the site to partner with the planned Nicholls Coastal Center for conducting coastal research.
These donations are greatly needed and thus appreciated, as they show support for the restoration to one of the most vital aspects of Southern Louisiana’s culture and environmental landscape. The Port of South Louisiana is the premier sea gateway for U.S. export and import traffic, and it stands within American’s largest tonnage Port district.
The Port of South Louisiana has its headquarters located in LaPlace, Louisiana, and it stretches 54 miles along theMississippi River, making it the largest tonnage port in the entire Western Hemisphere. This single stretch of river contains 67 industries, thus supporting over 30,000 jobs.
With these statistics, the need for coastal restoration cannot be understated, so it is imperative that institutions take direction from Nicholls State University’s Nicholls Farm in order to rebuild the Louisiana Coast. Thus, with donations annually coming in from The Port of South Louisiana, strides are appreciated made in these efforts.
Paul Sucoin, the executive director of the Port commented on such importance by saying, “it’s important for everyone to get involved in coastal protection and coastal restoration. Our future depends on it, and this contribution is our small way of contributing to that effort. I we don’t do this, we will lose our coast. We will lose Thibodaux. We will lose Louisiana,” Aucoin said. “We are not in the business of coastal restoration. So we help by contributing to programs like Nicholls State University that are.”
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