Bayou Rebirth, founded in 2007, is a local Louisiana organization that is working throughout Southeast Louisiana and New Orleans to restore this regions wetlands and promote environmental sustainability. They have four main programs, the Wetlands Restoration Program, Wetlands Education Program, Rain Garden Program and the Neighborhood Nurseries Program. Currently, the Rain Gardens Program and Wetland Educational Program are active in the Lower Ninth Ward.
Its mission is: “In an effort to increase public awareness of coastal land loss and the need for urban resilience to climate change impacts, Bayou Rebirth seeks to bring together, educate, and empower residents of and visitors to South Louisiana through hands-on wetlands restoration and stewardship projects.” (See Mission, Bayou Rebirth, August 20th 2013, “http://www.bayourebirth.org/about-us/mission/“)
The Rain Garden Program
This project began in 2010 in partnership with Groundwork New Orleans and Common Ground Relief. Bayou Rebirth helped to install two rain gardens, the first at the Common Ground Relief headquarters in the Lower Ninth Ward, in April 2010, and another (in January 2011) at the Global Green Holy Cross Project, also located in the Lower Ninth Ward. A rain garden is a shallow landscaped depression created by excavating existing soil and replacing some of it with porous material, like sand and gravel. The area is then planted with a variety of freshwater wetland plants native to Louisiana. These rain gardens are not only beautiful, they help absorb storm water runoff and help alleviate flooding, as well as add native freshwater plants into the environment. The Bayou Rebirth Annual Report site lays out this information. Global Green, is expanding its programs beyond Energy Wise to add Water Wise, a program that will link residents interested in water projects to firms and organizations involved with water infrastructure needs. Water Wise will provide resources that make it easy for home and business owners to install water saving and management measures, addressing water conservation inside the home or business as well as storm water management. Bayou Rebirth is assisting with this program by continuing to offer its rain garden and water management landscaping services, according to the news portion of the Bayou Rebirth website.
The Wetlands Education Program
This program began in seven schools in 2009 and eight in 2010. These programs have since continued, and Bayou Rebirth is working with Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School in the Lower Ninth on this project. According to the Bayou Rebirth publications website, their educators help students build wetland plant ponds at their schools where they propagated grasses. They travel to local parks to learn to test water quality and assess habitat by looking for wildlife; they also plant grasses which grew all semester at wetland sites.
Mapping Non-Profit Influence: The Case of the Lower Ninth Ward
Bayou Rebirth is one of many organizations that have worked to restore the Lower Ninth Ward after Hurricane Katrina. As part of a larger study of the impact and networks of of non-profits in 2013, I saw that this organization excels in the following areas:
1. Provision of Collective Goods
Bayou Rebirth provides collective goods by educating young people about wetland restoration and working on restoration projects that effect everyone in this community. By redeveloping the wetlands of Southeast Louisiana, all residents and visitors of this area will be better protected from dangerous weather and enjoy the benefits of a more sustainable environment.
2. Opportunities to Volunteer
Bayou Rebirth utilizes volunteers from all over the country for a variety of projects. These projects include nursery maintenance and propagation, invasive species removal, as well as other activities that aim at growing out plant material and using it to restore coastal salt marshes, swamps and bottomland hardwood forests. Periodically, Bayou Rebirth also seeks volunteers to install rain gardens. However, groups that volunteer will be subject to a fee for their projects which includes materials and project set up.
Participation in Information Sharing
When we analyze Bayou Rebirth based on its extent of participation in information sharing activities, we see they are active in 3 ways:
The Wetlands Education Program is a large component of Bayou Rebirth and its mission. Bayou Rebirth also engages in education through its education of volunteers.
Bayou Rebirth has connections with 5 other organizations in this study (Common Ground, GroundWork NOLA, Make It Right, Global Green USA, and CSED) engaging in various activities such as volunteer coordination and receiving funds/sponsoring projects together. As an organization that works throughout Southeast Louisiana, they also have partnerships with many other organizations in New Orleans.
3. Awareness Raising
The four programs of Bayou Rebirth raise awareness and ultimately get people involved in making wetland restoration a priority. They are helping to create a public and community more conscious of the environment and what needs to be done to protect it.