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UNO documentary: Laura Thomas, park ranger at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Editor’s Note:  The following series “Something Fishy” is a week-long series curated by Rosalind Kidwell as part of the Digital Research Internship Program in partnership with ViaNolaVie. The DRI Program is a Newcomb Insitute technology initiative for undergraduate students combining technology skillsets, feminist leadership, and the digital humanities.

An integral part of life in South Louisiana is our extensive aquatic life. Fish permeate New Orleans culture, whether they’re from the Gulf or a nearby Bayou, whether they’re on or off our plates. This collection of articles for “Something Fishy,” explores the importance of these creatures in the nearby area. This is the second UNO short documentary included in this series, which examines The Bayou Lacombe Center and their wildlife first approach. This article was originally published on NolaVie on May 20, 2013.

Who: Laura Thomas, park ranger at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Film by: UNO student and filmmaker Brock Forrette

Editor’s Note: NolaVie partners with students of UNO professor László Zsolt Fülöppairing them with artists, non-profits, environmental groups, and cultural entities to facilitate a live curriculum that results in a short documentary. In this short doc, UNO film student Brock Forrette interviewed U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service park ranger Laura Thomas at the Bayou Lacombe Center to find out more about the refuges, what they do, and how volunteers can help.


There’s a vast landscape of natural beauty right outside our urban door: The eight National Wildlife Refuges in the Southeast Louisiana (SELA) Refuges Complex, all of them overseen by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The mission of these refuges is conservation, management and, where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats.

To that end, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is recruiting volunteers to assist with planting marsh grass on the Delta National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) June 6-8.

The 49,000 acre Delta NWR combines Mississippi River sediments with the warmth of the Gulf of Mexico, with the result that new land is being created. This process is aided by the creation of “crevasses,” man-made cuts in river banks and levees that allow silt-laden river water to spread into interior ponds and open water areas, dropping sediments and creating new marshlands. The refuge has served as a laboratory for testing this technique, one that holds great promise for coastal areas with active deltas.

Twenty volunteers will be needed to plant 7,000 plugs of Spartina alternifloria over a two-day period in this remote area. Volunteers will receive meals, lodging, and boat transportation to planting site.

The job will require physically exhausting, muddy, messy, work in extreme and remote conditions. But you will also be helping to restore Louisiana’s vanishing coast. If you’re interested, contact Supervisory Park Ranger, David Stoughton 985-882-2025,


The Film and Theatre Department of UNO and NolaVie present this series of short films produced by the students in Laszlo Fulop’s documentary class. Read Renee Peck’s column about the program here.


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