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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Mae's Beach, Cameron Coast, Louisiana, USA

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Mae's Beach, Cameron Coast, Louisiana, USA
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Registered: July 2010
City/Town/Province: Isle of Palms
Posts: 1
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My best friend Kaki decided to transfer from College of Charleston to Arizona State University and was in dire need of a companion to make the road trip west with her. During a time of such devastation due to the recent oil spill disaster, a drive through the Gulf States was not the most appealing way to spend the month of July between my Junior and Senior summers. Until, I figured out a way to create an eye-opening and satisfactory trip from an unfortunate accident. We would drive down the coast, through New Orleans to see the affects of the recent Hurricane Katrina. Although the storm ravished the Louisiana capital five years prior to our journey, we desired to see how much rebuilding remained. Driving through Lower Ninth was an epic experience in itself. The people gawked at us, with our cameras outreached from the Lexus window, mocking us and bringing to our attention that these people’s homes have been under surveillance since restoration began five years ago. Lower Ninth’s a tragic site and surely, a testament to the inadequacies of the government institutions that tried to reinstate destroyed homes. The bureaucratic roots were evident in the progress so far. Some houses in Lower Ninth have been restored but many haven’t. It was obvious that efforts had been made. The sad reality revealed itself to be that there were too many people in need. This does not excuse the five-year lagging period and the still, unfinished efforts but does alleviate the initial concerns that the relief effort was directed solely at the class that could be heard. Once we finished our drive through the Lower Ninth, we went off to Frenchmen street for some swing music to transition the mood from impacting to rhythmic. We had already set our alarms for four thirty am to begin our four and a half hour drive to Mae’s Beach to begin our day of beach cleaning.
The drive up to Mae’s Beach was an interesting one. We first drove past some hummers disguised in camouflage working along the coast to replace the original sand with newly packaged, clean sand. When we finally reached the beach, we were about an hour late due to traffic that we hit driving through Baton Rouge, so we were immediately handed trash bags and sent to join the other volunteers to clean the beaches. We picked up trash for hours. It was low tide, so the dead fish lay strewn across the shoreline too far from the wave break to be washed away into the depths of the ocean away, made invisible to the human eye and help efforts. For hours, Kaki and I filled countless trash bags with trash that ranged from rusted cans to oil stained bottles, leaving the filled bags on the beach for the four wheelers to collect as soon as the bags became to heavy. More trash had accumulated on the beach than I had previously expected, but the dead animals were even more shocking than the high levels of waste. The dead fish were a surprise, but the deceased wildlife. that we found near the dunes, served as a greater one. A sand shark lie dead, its denticles preserved by the sand. Wishing we had a brush, or at least some proper tools, Kaki and I began to survey our surroundings and try to deduce the cause of death. Whether it was the oil or natural causes, regardless, the shark was not the only deceased animal that could be found on Mae’s Beach. While we were playing archaeologist on our subject, we were called in for lunch. Even with our timeless efforts and hard work, the beach remained in an aggravated state. One day of cleaning with thirty volunteers made a difference but didn’t solve the problem.
Once everyone was disbanded for lunch, I continued to investigate the area, digging up the sand to discover the oil tainted level below the powdery finish. At around three, I could no longer handle the intense heat emitted from the Louisiana sun, so I admitted defeat and headed in to join the other volunteers. The volunteers ranged from Louisiana residents to incarcerated felons, so I avoided asking my fellow volunteers any questions. Instead, I approached the proctor, who was handing out the free t-shirts for our efforts, to ask her a few questions. (A side note: although we went directly through BP in organizing a project that we could offer our assistance in the relief efforts, we were not handed BP shirts for a job well done. Instead, I was handed a yellow and red shell shirt with the shell logo stamped on the front to advertise the other oil companies efforts to keep their product afloat. )Gwyn wouldn’t let me videotape her answering the questions due to political nature because she represents Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, a non-profit based in Baton Rouge. She said that the area south of New Orleans was hit the worst. Some tar balls wash up on Mae’s Beach, but the area has been basically oil free. They organize beach cleans because once the oil hits any trash that has previously washed up on the beach adds to the contamination. She continued to say that the federal government did not preventative measures. Now, they are sucking oil off the surface, but the equipment and organization required to do such an act should have been put into effect immediately. BP’s oilrig was the Mecca of the entire off drilling project. I asked her whether she supported offshore drilling. She responded by noting that although BP’s spill was quite a disaster, the jobs that off shore drilling creates and the jobs that the jobs for off shore drilling create are a vital source of income in an already recessed economy. She also mentioned that most of the pictures that were leaked are the worst-case scenarios. “The bottom of the boot hurts most” is a direct quote.
· Date: July 29, 2010 · Views: 3560 · File size: 20.7kb, 1544.1kb · : 1536 x 2048 ·
Hours Volunteered: 16
Volunteers: 2
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 25 & 21 to 55
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