Back from the Gulf Coast, Students Reflect on Experience Volunteering to Help Restore Wetlands

Release Date: February 3, 2012 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Back from a weeklong service learning trip to Louisiana, three University at Buffalo undergraduates took time to reflect on their experiences on the Gulf Coast.

David Dodge, Gabrielle Kawalick and Ian Bick were among 17 students who took part in an "alternative winter break" this January, volunteering in wetland restoration activities. The group worked with indigenous plants at a local farm and hauled hundreds of recycled Christmas trees out to waterways around Houma, La. (The trees help reinforce wetlands, capturing sediments.)

Videos of each of the three students discussing their trip are available on YouTube:

For the students, the expedition "was all about making connections" between the bayou and Buffalo, said Jim Simon, associate environmental educator with UB's Office of Sustainability. As Simon pointed out, much of the seafood we eat comes from Gulf waters, and many New York birds visit southern wetlands during yearly migrations.

"Knowing that impact, I think the students are going to be thinking more about how they can apply these lessons on sustainability, leadership and diversity to UB," Simon said.

He and Jodi Stelley-Ceroky, an educational programming coordinator with UB's Intercultural and Diversity Center, accompanied the students on the trip that ran from Jan. 7 to Jan. 14. Terri Budek, community engagement coordinator of the Center for Student Leadership and Community Engagement, organized the experience.

Media Contact Information

Charlotte Hsu is a former staff writer in University Communications. To contact UB's media relations staff, email or visit our list of current university media contacts.