Getting Down and Dirty

Emerging from the swamp, the volunteers from America's Wetland Conservation Corps look a lot like monsters.

"This is the dirtiest I've been in my life!" Says corps member Ashley Berry.

"I lost my boot in the mud planting a plant, it went in too far," Explains Jeremy Reed.

Luckily, he sacrificed his footware for a good cause. He and other volunteers planted oyster grass in the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge in Cameron Parish. The grass has roots that grow together and prevent the soil from washing away. In about a year, the grass will spread all over the rebuilt levees.

While the planters were getting down and dirty, America's Wetland Conservation Corps, the LSU AgCenter, and corporate sponsors announced a new partnership, bringing new funding to help the organization plan service projects and recruit volunteers like Four H Student Hillary Primeaux.

"I'm from the country jumping in canals, playing in the mud is fun," She says.

"I'm from Louisiana, so I have very big pride. This is my home. I think a lot of people have a big pride about it because it's so important to our state," Says America's Wetland Corps member Sara Granger.

A sentiment the volunteers out in the swamp definitely share.

"It's worth it, because you know you're helping save the wetlands of Louisiana that we're losing at an alarming rate, like football fields a day," Reed says, even if it means losing a shoe in the process.