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

Spring Break 2011 Becomes Community Service

Students heading to New Orleans - to work

The video associated with this story has been removed. Contact web@esf.edu if you need further information.

Video footage is from the 2010 Spring Break trip.

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.

However, 45 ESF students and two alumni will spend only one day touring New Orleans over spring break and devote the rest of the week to helping victims of Hurricane Katrina build and repair homes in Chalmette, Louisiana. They will also plant trees and help clean up a couple of neighborhoods.

A total of 77 people will make the trip starting Saturday March 12th. In addition to ESF, the contingent includes representatives of Syracuse University, SUNY Oswego and OCM BOCES. The trip is organized through Operation Southern Comfort, a volunteer group that has been helping the Katrina victims for several years. This will be Operation Southern Comfort's 33rdtrip to the New Orleans area.

Last year, 26 ESF students made the trip. They 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.