New Orleans- Environment [Day 3]
March 12 marked our first encounter with Louisiana’s “wilderness.” Since our trip’s focus revolves around the environment, we prepared for what lied ahead by smearing on sunscreen, putting on rain boots, and bathing in bug spray. We worked along with Common Ground Relief, a non-profit agency established in New Orleans following the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Through their solgan “solidarity not charity,” Common Ground is able to provide short and long term relief to the people and ecosystems affected by Katrina’s destruction. The organization led us to the Audubon Nature Institute and assigned us the task of hunting and removing a flourishing invasive species that manifested in the park post-Katrina. We now knew our enemy for the day: the bothersome Chinese Tallow tree. As our group treked through mud, weeds, and tall grasses, sometimes even dodging streams, capturing the beast was no easy job. Mosquitos proved to be a nuisance, and our interactions with other forest creatures were unavoidable. Eradicating the tallow was necessary because the trees literally suck the life out of everything in their reach. On-site for approximately six hours, we felt accomplished doing something so simple yet immensely important for an ecosystem. It doesn’t take much to make a change, and Monday truly demonstrated that making an impact can be achieved in many ways, both big and small.