In 2006, cypress forests and their management became front-page news. Today’s debate is not about the value of the wood but the “woods” and the role they play in maintaining a buffer against tides and winds. According to a Times-Picayune Oct. 16, 2006 story, “extensive cypress logging has occurred in recent months around Lac Des Allemands in St. Charles Parish,” in spite of the concern being raised about continuing to do so. Overall, the cypress swamps area has dwindled from 2.2 million acres in the 1800s to the only 845,000 acres today because of clearing, cutting, and lack of re-growth.
For more than 40 years, environmentalist Milton Cambre of Norco has been a vigilant guardian of the wetlands. He has studied, explored, and offered solutions to wetland problems. His work has been acknowledged and honored at the local, state, and federal levels including being designated as one of President George H.W. Bush’s “Thousand Points of Lights.” In 2010, Mr. Cambre was recognized for his work at the Gathering of Elders at the twenty-first annual National Service Learning Conference. He was one of only five people from around the United States to be so honored. In recent years, he has been joined by Barry Guillot, a teacher at Harry Hurst Middle School and founder of Wetland Watchers, who along with his “Wetland Watcher” students has furthered the cause of wetlands preservation. The group is featured in the 2010 publication entitled Heroes of the Environment—True Stories About People who are Helping to Protect Our Environment.
This text is copyright © material by Marilyn Richoux, Joan Becnel and Suzanne Friloux, from St. Charles Parish, Louisiana: A Pictorial History, 2010.