Volunteers spend the weekend planting Live Oaks in Grand Chenier - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Volunteers spend weekend planting live oaks in Grand Chenier

CAMERON PARISH, LA (KPLC) -

"Acorns of Hope" is a non-profit organization, working to repopulate live oak trees in Grand Chenier.

Chenier, meaning "place of the oaks," has lost hundreds of the trees due to hurricanes and other factors.

Each year, the group brings in volunteers from across the country to help plant live oaks.

Braving gusty winds and wet weather, volunteers from across the country rallied behind Acorns of Hope founder, Bob Thibodeaux, this weekend.

"We believe that the finest live oaks in the world are here in Grand Chenier, Louisiana," said Thibodeaux.

Mike Shelton came from Missouri to help.

"Soil erosion up and down the coastline is getting significant. A lot of trees have died, big mature trees. So, it looks like it's time to start putting in some replacements," he said.

Locals are also supporting the cause.

"Well, I was born and raised in Grand Chenier. And we have Acorns of Hope that are willing to come down and spend their time to help reestablish the oak trees that have been destroyed, so I'm just happy to be here," said volunteer Paul Canik.

Volunteers are slowly but surely trying to repopulate the live oak trees in Grand Chenier that have perished from hurricanes and other factors.

Since Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, Thibodeaux has been collecting acorns from the area.

"We've laid out two acres on my property that we call the Acorns of Hope tree nursery. We take the acorns from here, plant them over there, and then as they grow over the years we'll bring them back to Grand Chenier," explained Thibodeaux.

Their goal this weekend is to plant between three and four dozen live oak trees.

Thibodeaux said they plan to start a nursery here, but for now they're planting live oaks along Highway 82 on anyone's property that's willing to let them.

It's a slow process that takes years. Fortunately, Thibodeaux has a long-term plan.

"We plan on planting these trees for the next five to 10 years," said Thibodeaux.

One tree at a time, hoping, "that we can get Grand Chenier to look like it used to," said Canik.

Thibodeaux said live oak trees are a coastal species that helps prevent soil erosion and can also reduce wind speeds up to 70 percent.

For more information on Acorns of Hope, click here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/41636335932/

Copyright KPLC 2013. All rights reserved.

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