Hurst Middle students help restore the Louisiana Nature Center

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 8, 2008

Thirty-one Hurst Middle 7th grade students braved 48 degree temperatures and wet conditions to plant trees that will rejuvenate the area surrounding the Audubon Louisiana Nature Center. Celebrating Louisiana Arbor Day, the Hurst Wetland Watchers worked with the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, the Audubon Nature Institute, Entergy Corporation, and Restore America’s Estuaries as volunteers worked to plant over 1,000 trees in a five acre area during the Back to Nature event.

Prior to Hurricane Katrina, the Audubon Louisiana Nature Center was named one of the top five urban nature centers in the United States. The Nature Center suffered considerable damage from Hurricane Katrina which devastated its interpretive center, exhibits and the 86 acres of bottomland hardwoods and bald cypress-tupelo swamp.

The swamps were inundated with muddy saltwater for nearly a month and an estimated 75 percent of the forest was destroyed. The Nature Center has not reopened to the public since August 2005 and the resident and migrant wildlife that flourished in this area have not returned in large numbers.