Help us celebrate 25 years of coastal stewardship.... VIRTUALLY!
Restoring and protecting the natural treasure of Louisiana’s coast is a duty embraced by many people with diverse backgrounds. They are volunteers, students, researchers, sportsmen, governmental and business leaders, and sometimes simply coastal residents who care enough about the future of our state to take action.
Every year the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana is proud to honor individuals and organizations demonstrating extraordinary commitment to the coast with CRCL Coastal Stewardship Awards. These awards are CRCL’s highest form of recognition for those who go above and beyond for our coast, and we need your help to discover worthy candidates for the honors.
CRCL’s Coastal Stewardship Awards recognizes individuals and groups that have made significant contributions to the conservation and restoration of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands.
Unfortunately, we were unable to honor our 2020 award winners in person, but we still wanted to highlight the work they have done for our coast.
2020 marked the 15-year anniversary of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and also the 10-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. CRCL recognized the individuals, groups, or organizations who during the immediate early stages of these disasters worked to aid, assist, and/or foster the recovery and resiliency of the Louisiana coast and communities that were impacted. View it virtually here.
2020 Coastal Stewardship Award Winners
Lifetime Achievement in Coastal Stewardship
Bob Marshall is a New Orleans journalist who has brought international attention to coastal land loss in Louisiana. He has written for publications including The States-Item, The Times-Picayune, The Advocate and The Lens, and he has collaborated with National Public Radio, the Center for Investigative Reporting and ProPublica. He was part of teams at The Times-Picayune that won Pulitzer Prizes for a series on declining fisheries around the world and for reporting on Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Marshall was elected to the Outdoors Writers Association of America’s Circle of Chief, its highest award for conservation writing, and he was an inaugural inductee into the Loyola University School of Communications Hall of Fame. In his spare time, Marshall gives tours for Louisiana Lost Lands Environmental Tours, whose mission is to educate people on the importance of Louisiana’s wetlands.
Youth Coastal Stewardship Award
Mervin Smith, a student at New Harmony High School is a regular volunteer for CRCL’s many volunteer restoration activities and helps by planting native trees to combat subsidence and rising sea-level. Throughout 2019, Marvin was integral at recruiting his high school peers for volunteer events throughout Louisiana and participated in the Gulf Equity Water Corps to help raise awareness of sea-level rise. He took his findings and new understandings of coastal issues by presenting them at his school and at the HBCU Climate Change Conference.
Hurricane Katrina Award
Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré supported Department of Defense planning and response for Hurricanes Floyd, Lilli, Isidore, Isabel, Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne. In 2005, he commanded Joint Task Force-Katrina, leading the Department of Defense response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. He was widely credited for his leadership in New Orleans in the Katrina aftermath. Honoré has won numerous military decorations and awards and has received a number of honorary doctorates from colleges and universities. Honoré now leads GreenARMY, an alliance of civic, community and environmental groups pushing for social, political and environmental change in Louisiana.
Hurricane Rita Award
The Terrebonne Readiness Assistance Coalition, represented by the Rev. Joe Arnold, is the longest continuously operating community-based disaster recovery/preparedness nonprofit in the nation. Since just after Hurricane Andrew, TRAC has been helping families in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes and in Grand Isle, providing assistance in rebuilding following crises or disasters; helping people navigate the recovery process and implement recovery plans; strengthening planning efforts and enhancing preparation for future disasters; and empowering people to engage in community activities.
Deepwater Horizon Award
Karolien Debusschere is the deputy oil spill coordinator at the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office. She has served in this role for 20 years. She manages a small staff that works to connect all programs related to oil spills in the state. She coordinates work with state and federal agencies, including the Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority, the Department of Wildlife & Fisheries, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Natural Resources, the Coast Guard and EPA; with representatives of the oil and gas industry; and the public. Her leadership was crucial during the Deepwater Horizon disaster. She is a former Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana board member.
Volunteer of the Year Award
Casey McMann and his 2019/2020 class of high school students assisted in several CRCL volunteer restoration events throughout Louisiana’s coast. Casey has won several awards for his efforts in the classroom as a biology and physics teacher at Belle Chasse High School and continues to show the passion and leadership necessary to guide Louisiana’s future coastal stewards.
Friends of CRCL Award
The Sirens of New Orleans are a philanthropy-minded dance and marching Carnival krewe that has made coastal restoration efforts one of its main beneficiaries this year.
Coastal Stewardship Award
( to be awarded in 2021 - check back for details)
Laurie Cormier is the program coordinator and coastal zone manager for the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury’s Division of Planning and Development Grant Department. Cormier serves the parish as an assistant planner and mitigation specialist, is the administrator of the Parish’s Local Coastal Zone Management Program, and is one of the two western Louisiana representatives on the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. Cormier also serves as the administrative coordinator for the Chenier Plain Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority. The CPCRPA is the levee board with members from Calcasieu, Cameron and Vermilion Parishes. Ms. Cormier helped to set up the Chenier Plain Alliance, an enormous coastal eco-region sprawling from southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas. She is co-chair of the environmental affairs committee for the SWLA Economic Development Alliance and was instrumental in the development of the Louisiana Southwest Informational Floodplain Team, the newest Louisiana Community Rating System user group, which serves as a forum for sharing ideas, best practices and developing tools for managing floodplain/coastal development.
The Meraux Charitable Foundation, represented on the evening by Chris Haines, has been a significant supporter of coastal restoration for over a decade, providing innovation, enthusiasm and generosity. The Meraux Charitable Foundation has a long record of investment and support of coastal initiatives. The foundation originates and supports new ideas, connects coastal stakeholders with decision-makers and NGOs, consistently and constructively participates in restoration processes as a key stakeholder, and provides an extraordinary physical space for dozens of coastal meetings and events every year.
Jacob Neu grew up fishing, crabbing and shrimping along the Louisiana coast. He works at Sellers and Associates, an engineering consulting firm, on various types of municipal infrastructure projects, structural engineering projects, and projects related to preserving the recreational use of Louisiana’s coastal areas.
John Nyman is a professor in LSU’s School of Renewable Natural Resources who has published more than 80 journal articles addressing wetlands. From west of Calcasieu Lake to the mouth of the Mississippi River, he has worked with and learned from graduate students, hunters and fishers, landowners, and employees of NGOs, and state and federal agencies.
Natalie Snider is the senior director of the Environmental Defense Fund’s coastal resilience program. She works to ensure sound science is used to plan, design, implement, and adaptively manage projects and policies, with a focus on system dynamics to meet the challenges of climate change to our coastal ecosystems and communities. Snider also serves on the executive committee of Restore the Mississippi River Delta, a coalition of local and national conservation organizations working to restore Louisiana’s vanishing coast.
Amy Wold is the director of communications at The Water Institute of the Gulf. She is responsible for working with research teams to provide quality reports and deliverables to clients and translate technical science issues for policymakers, industry representatives, and the public. Prior to that she was a newspaper reporter covering science, environmental, and coastal issues both on the West Coast and in Louisiana. She wrote award-winning stories in Washington state on estuary environments and fishery resources. After coming to Louisiana, she covered coastal restoration, flooding protection, and the increasing amount of research on Louisiana’s coastal land loss problem. She worked at The Advocate newspaper as an environmental reporter for more than a decade. In that time, Amy got the chance to cover some of Louisiana’s major news events, including Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
For a list of previous winners of Coastal Stewardship Awards, click here.
The 26th Annual Stewardship Awards offers unique sponsorship opportunities. We take great pride in creating a memorable event for our coastal champions, and we want you to be a part of it. Our sponsorship prospectus is here. Contact CRCL for more information, firstname.lastname@example.org or 225.767.4181.