The Vermilion Parish 4-H A-Team project began in October 2013, with Virtual Vermilion students enrolled in the Environmental Science 4-H lab track learning about natural hazards and how to protect buildings from the effects of high water and strong winds. By the end of the school year, the group had been joined by several home-school 4-H members. Participants, who ranged from 7th to 12th grade, engaged in several hands-on learning activities as well as service-learning projects. The primary service-learning project was to identify and evaluate potential mitigation projects to be implemented in a local publicly owned facility and develop a project plan and funding application to parish decision makers and other interested audiences.
Classes included guest speakers from various fields associated with parish planning, conservation, emergency management and construction engineering. The students learned hands-on from field trips to government officials’ offices, sites that have undergone some type of retrofit protection, coastal restoration sites and more. Topics included: the basics of mitigation planning, building permitting, GIS mapping, storm surge, sea level rise, flood maps, flood insurance, proposal writing, and model building. Participants enjoyed learning by using the latest technology tools, interactive games, and photo and video journaling. The final class project was a fictional video story depicting a small rural area hit by strong wind and heavy rain. The cast of characters show their resilience by seeking out information on how to restore their property so it will experience less damage in future storms.
A terrible storm with high winds and heavy rain has hit the tiny little area along the “rugged dirt road”. The story begins as Dorothy awakes to find her home blown away. She is greeted by the Bayou Fairy, which tells her of the great Oz (aka Parish Courthouse). She travels down the dirt road to find Mr. S. Crow and sees the damage to his property. The two decide to go to Oz to seek help. They come upon two others in need of assistance; Tim, the Tin salesman and Lionel, the taxidermist. The new friends arrive at Oz to find the needed information and necessary permits to rebuild their homes and businesses safer and stronger. Off to the hardware store they go to find everything they need to begin their journey to a better future.
Vermilion Project Photo Gallery
Funding: The project was funded in part by the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) Statewide Hazard Mitigation Community Education and Outreach Project “Get a Gameplan”.
Acknowledgements: Vermilion Parish Government Offices, Sellers and Associates, Vermilion Parish School Superintendent, Lonnie Richard, Vermilion Parish School System, Vermilion Extension Faculty and Staff (Shannan Waits, Hilton Waits, Mark Shirley, Andrew Granger), Louisiana Wetlands and Black Bear Awareness Project, Jeff Graschel, NOAA, Stine’s Lumber (Abbeville), The LeBlanc family for allowing us to film on their property, Abbeville Fire Department, LSU AgCenter, LSU Sea Grant, LSU College of Engineering, LSU AgCenter videographer and animator – Randy LaBauve and Matt Faust, Special thanks to Linda Duhon, Becky Broussard, and Selina Perry.
Contact: Vermilion Parish 4-H agents Shannan and Hilton Waits at the Vermilion Parish LSU AgCenter office.