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Press Release

U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
National Wetlands Research Center
700 Cajundome Blvd.
Lafayette, LA 70506

Contact: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Phone: 337-266-8655
Fax: 337-266-8541
For Release: October 8, 1999

USGS National Wetlands Research Center Celebrates Earth Science Week

The U.S. Geological Survey's National Wetlands Research Center will celebrate Earth Science Week, Oct. 10-16, with events ranging from readings about Clovis Crawfish to a teacher workshop on maps and aerial photography.

Earth Science Week was begun last year by the American Geological Institute to highlight the vital role geosciences play in human stewardship of the environment. Dr. Robert E. Stewart, Director of the USGS National Wetlands Research Center, said, "The USGS is responsible for giving communities, decision makers, and partners information on how earth and life sciences increase the understanding of critical environmental relationships. We will be doing that this week through activities that are aimed at reaching preschoolers to college students to teachers."

On Tuesday, Oct. 12 at 2 p.m. in the conference room Kylee Wilton will speak on "Mangrove transgression into saltmarshes in southeastern Australia." Wilton is with the Australian Department of Land and Water Conservation and is a doctoral candidate from the Australian Catholic University.

Also on Tuesday at 6 p.m., Mary Alice Fontenot, author of the well known Clovis Crawfish children's book series, will be reading about Clovis and his wetland pals. The series celebrates not only the wetlands of Acadiana but also the Cajun culture and language. A book signing will follow the readings to be held in the conference room of the center, located at 700 Cajundome Blvd., in Lafayette.

According to NWRC librarian Judy Buys, "The Clovis Crawfish series is not only beautiful and fun, but the books are also quite factual. Ms. Fontenot has worked with our library to get information for several of these books." The event is free but seating is limited. To reserve seats, call and leave a message with a name and number of attendees at 337 266 8550. Children must be accompanied by adults.

On Wednesday, Oct. 13, there will be 56 eighth graders touring the center and participating in a hands-on workshop on mapping, remote sensing and photo interpretation. They will be studying images and creating maps of their areas.

Also on Wednesday from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. , the center will conduct a "sampler" workshop for middle and high-school teachers on WETMAAP, a program on Wetland Education Through Maps and Aerial Photography. Larry Handley, center geographer, and Jean May-Brett, education specialist with Louisiana Public Broadcasting, will introduce the program to teachers of math, geography, science and Louisiana history. They will facilitate hands-on activities and will provide each teacher with a map and aerial photograph for their classrooms. Attendance is limited; for more information or to reserve a place, contact Susan Horton at 337 266 8655.

On Thursday at 6 p.m. the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, will conduct its Environmental Journalism Class at the center. Virginia Burkett, forest ecology branch chief at the center, will be guest lecturer and speak on biodiversity. Dr. Burkett is nationally known in the environmental field; before becoming a researcher she served as head of Louisiana's Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and was the first woman in the nation to hold such a state office.

On Friday, the Daspit Elementary School in New Iberia will visit the center to discuss the geology of Louisiana with center scientists and geographers. Of particular interest to these students will be learning more about their parish's salt domes, including Avery Island, home of the well known Tabasco sauce. After learning about coastal wetlands and their plants and animals, the students will tour the center's mapping and remote sensing laboratory, collection room of plant and animals species, constructed wetlands, and various other laboratories.

As the nation's largest water, earth and biological science and civilian mapping agency, the USGS works in cooperation with more than 2,000 organizations across the country to provide reliable, impartial scientific information to resource managers, planners and other customers. This information is gathered in every state by USGS scientists to minimize the loss of life and property from natural disasters, to contribute to the conservation and the sound economic and physical development of the nation's natural resources and to enhance the quality of life by monitoring water, biological, energy and mineral resources.

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