Dr. Melissa Baustian –Dr.Baustian is a coastal ecologist at The Water Institute of the Gulf. Baustian is an excellent researcher with more than 10 years of experience and 20+ publications to her credit. She also serves as Deputy Director for the RESTORE Act Center of Excellence for Louisiana where she helps administer a competitive coastal research grants program. Baustian works closely with aspiring scientists of all ages including high school students in STEM programs throughout the Baton Rouge area.
Dr. Gary LaFleur – Dr. LaFleur has been a professor at Nicholls State University for the past 20 years and currently serves as Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Along with many years studying our unique coastal ecosystem and culture, he founded the Center for Bayou Studies, an academic operation at Nicholls that nurtures collaborations between diverse areas of teaching and scholarship together with community cultural partners. LaFleur is a unique combination of scholar, teacher and advocate. He is able to focus beyond the science to the people and their culture that are affected by it.
Capt. Ryan Lambert—Mr. Lambert founded Cajun Fishing Adventures Lodge near Buras in 1980. Since then he has seen our coastal land loss crisis firsthand. Lambert charters free tours for journalists and state legislators to bring awareness to our vanishing wetlands. He facilitated a collaborative effort with Ducks Unlimited, Inc., the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and National Wildlife Federation securing $1 million in North American Wetlands Conservation Act funding for a restoration project in the Bay Denesse area. The project will be constructed in 2019 and will enhance more than 2,500 acres of private and public land.
Guthrie Perry—Mr. Perry is a retired biologist for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. He has been instrumental in marsh management programs and education initiatives for more than 50 years especially in his beloved Cameron Parish. Perry has authored and co-authored more than 100 publications, and he has been honored with multiple awards, including the 1985 Governor’s Award, the 2009 Charles F. Dunbar, Jr. and was named the 2015 Louisiana Fur and Wildlife Festival King.
Louisiana Endangered Cemeteries— Jessica Schexnayder/Mary Manhein
Louisiana Endangered Cemeteries is a project founded by Jessica Schexnayder and Mary Manhein that maps cemeteries that will eventually be lost to coastal erosion, subsidence, storm surge, and sea level rise. Since 2011, 138 threatened cemeteries have been documented with GPS coordinates and more than 11,000 photographs. Their recently released book, “Fragile Ground,” connects geography and culture and acts as a window to these historical sites.
Megan Terrell— Ms. Terrell is an environmental attorney, and legal advisor to Governor John Bel Edwards. She advised in the development, review and implementation of policies for the Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. Terrell was the lead in-house counsel coordinating Louisiana’s legal response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Along with her professional work, Terrell has assisted the Citizen Science Monitoring Project doing bird surveys with the Audubon Society and LSU graduate students.