e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

Spring Break 2010

Students turn vacation into community service

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It is a longstanding tradition for college students on spring break to head for the Sunbelt to relax on a beach in Florida or South Padre Island or even enjoy the music and food in a place like New Orleans.

Twenty-six ESF students went to New Orleans over spring break but they only spent a day or so touring The Big Easy. The rest of the week they worked building and repairing homes devastated by Hurricane Katrina in St. Bernard Parish. They also planted trees and helped clean up a couple of neighborhoods.

A total of 32 students made the trip, with students from Syracuse University, SUNY New Paltz, George Washington University, Nazareth College and Onondaga Community College rounding out the group. It was organized through Operation Southern Comfort, a volunteer group that has been helping the Katrina victims for several years. This was Operation Southern Comfort's 27th trip to New Orleans.

The students worked at 10 sites putting up siding, walls and doors, painting, cleaning, and installing floors. Working with a retired forestry professor from Louisiana State University, Dr. Rich Goyer, the students potted 1,400 trees, planted 15 trees and started new trees with acorns. The trees are grown in the pots for about a year so the root system is well developed and then they are transplanted to the levees where they will help mitigate damage from future storms.

Overall, the students worked a total of 1,520 hours.