Resurrecting Louisiana's Bald Cypress Swamps

It's time we give back to the Earth instead of always taking what Mother Nature naively gave to us!

Photo of Brooke Bordelon
2 2

Written by

Additional categories (optional)

  • Education
  • Environment

Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth

2/1/02

Help us stay in touch!

Brooke Bordelon 985 956 0884 Zznique@yahoo.com 65114 WD Walker rd. Louisiana: Kentwood (70444)

Date You Started Your Project Started

9/18/2019

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Idea (hoping to get started in the future)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

This area is vital to many species of aquatic trees, grasses, wildlife as well as an important habitat in the path of migratory birds. There are no longer any living Cypress trees to replenish the desolate swamps left crippled after the MRGO devastated the area's fragile ecosystem. By distributing the seeds & sapplings of varying species of plants & trees we can reverse the devastation & help the area regrow a lush, healthy thriving Cypress swamp

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

We plan to solve this problem by educating the entire country. Through social media, tourism & any other media we can to get people informed and involved in actively making a positive impact on our environment. By starting a pay it forward campaign for our future generations who inherit this beautiful Earth, we can ensure they have a healthy, thriving ecosystem to support our vision. The destruction of the rainforests is very well known and its impact on our environment is very apparent. We hope to bring this equally important problem to the attention of the rest of the globe, they don't realize that this is what coastal erosion looks like. The Great Wall of St. Bernard that was erected to close off the destructive shipping lane and cut off the salt water from the Gulf of Mexico plays a major part in the return of these treasures. Trees, birds, aquatic plants and animals will return if we stay engaged and continue to reseed the areas on a regular basis. By repeatedly bringing people out educating, involving them & using tourism as a tool we can reverse the horrible devastation that man caused to our beautiful St. Bernard Parish and Southeast Louisiana. We will replant it!

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

Our once flourishing Cypress swamps have completely disappeared in St. Bernard Parish. Native Cypress and Spanish Oak trees which once were so abundant are gone. We hear the stories of how abundant they used to be in Lake Ponchatrain and in the swamps of St.Bernard. Even the bones of the trees have disappeared in my lifetime and I think if we don't wait too long, they may have a chance to make a comeback. It may take some time but if we begin now, maybe in our lifetime they will return. My hope is our children and grandchildren can have the opportunity to enjoy the comeback of the majestic trees that will replenish the devastated areas for the wildlife and people of the area and for Louisiana swamps to flourish among us once again. When we learned about TMobile's Change Maker Challange, we knew this was the opportunity we needed to make our ideas a step closer to reality! Thanks T Mobile

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

I am stepping up to make a change because that is what I have been called on to do. If someone does not step up and do something now, then when? I need to bring attention to this horrible loss of such a precious gift we were given. We must educate the people and replant the beautiful, diverse and necessary swamps. Who knows, we may even try to become a National Park just like the Everglades in Florida. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to make that change happen. Please choose my entry .

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

Imagine the fun, hospitality and excitement of a trip to New Orleans.Now imagine yourself riding in a Mardi Gras crew on a float throwing beads and doubloons to a cheering mob of folks screaming,"THROW ME SOMETHING MISTER". Invision the same concept, on a party barge (Mardi Gras Momboat) for a rebirth in the swamps of St.Bernard Parish reversing the devastation left behind in the wake of the MRGO.While being educated on the history of the area, each rider engages in a scenic tour of Bayou Bienvenue,The Great Wall of St. Bernard, Lake Ponchatrain and other lost tree areas and have a parade of sorts for the cheering, eager swamp. Participants throw cypress balls and other seeds of trees and grasses native to the area helping Mother Nature along to do what she so graciously did for thousands of years before man came along to destroy it. A positive environmental impact in an indelible swamp!

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

St. Bernard Parish and access to these areas are conveniently located less than 10 miles outside of New Orleans city limits. This makes for an easy side trip for a portion of the day when vacationing in New Orleans.It is a wonderful opportunity for people to see some of the beauty and nature in the area and be educated on the importance of this fragile habitat. We mix fun, education, empathy and the positive impact on the environment.That is a win, win for everyone. An adventure such as this will surely be told over and over as participants reflect on memories. Nothing like it exists, anywhere

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

We frequent the areas in St. Bernard Parish that are heavily impacted. We will keep photographing the marshes and areas we are dispersing the seeds in and keeping GPS coordinates as well. Our impact will be obvious. Any tress that grow will be a 100% increase. There are no trees left in the areas we will be touring . The trees that were planted in 2012 ,nearby, are thriving since the close of the MRGO. We can see the cat tails returning. Marsh grasses are bright green. If only the Bald Cypress were still around to regenerate themselves as nature intended, the trees would be returning as well. With positive reinforcement, determination and repetition it will be a success. It has to be, the future of Southeast Louisiana's Bald Cypress swamps and the fragile ecosystems they are a part of depend upon it.

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

We are working to get a party barge (swamp float) to make it all finally happen. We would like to partner with LSU Ag & some other wetland restoration organizations to get the Cypress balls (throws) & other native trees & grasses that can grow from seeds. Taking advantage of sites like Facebook, Instagram & Airbnb we can generate exposure and book our excursions on their experiences section. People, booking a place to stay on airbnb, will be able to view & book directly from their website. It's a great way to advertise . The bonus $1 million insurance coverage you are covered by when people book your experience thru them, makes it easier. With help from TMobile and The Change Maker Challange we can have some funding to help us go forward.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Accounting & Finance

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Native American or Alaska Native (for example: Navajo Nation, Blackfeet Tribe, Mayan, Aztec, Native Village of Barrow Inupial Traditional Government, Nome Eskimo Community) (10)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Low-income community
  • Other

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?

My mom Dominique Bordelon found it on Facebook. Thanks Ashoka and T Mobile for this opportunity to compete in your challange.

Complete this evaluation to see the results from the rest of the community

The community is currently evaluating this idea.

2 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Britton Masback
Team

This is such needed work and a really cool potential long term solution! I appreciate how you're thinking about not only the impact your project can have, but also the financial incentives to help it be a success. I can't wait to see this take off!

View all comments