THIBODAUX, La. — The Port of South Louisiana donated $18,000 to the Nicholls Farm for the fifth year in a row to advance research in coastal restoration.
“If we don’t start taking care of our coast, then when these students get to be my age there won’t be a Thibodaux or Nicholls State University,” said Paul Aucoin, executive director of the port.
The funds will be used to produce native coastal plant materials for restoration projects, support student coastal research projects and help with the maintenance and upkeep of the farm.
“Support from organizations like the Port of South Louisiana is absolutely critical for our native coastal plant materials program,” said Dr. Allyse Ferrara, distinguished service professor and Jerry Ledet Endowed Professor of Environmental Biology. “Without support from the Port, we would not have the ability to hire students to maintain the farm and produce plants for restoration projects, and we would lose an important source of supply funds for the farm. We very much appreciate the support we have received from the Port and look forward to continuing this valuable relationship.”
Plants used for Nicholls restoration projects are grown at the 277-acre Nicholls Farm, which is located three miles south of the main campus. The property serves as an environmental research and education center for Nicholls and other partners. Among the farm’s features are labs, classrooms, greenhouses, shade houses, storage barns and a 7.5-acre pond for wetland plant production.
Nicholls biology students and faculty have spearheaded coastal restoration efforts through the farm by growing and harvesting nearly 35,000 plants at the farm and replanting them along the coast.
The Nicholls Farm will play a key role in the University’s growing commitment to restoring coastal Louisiana. Public-private partnerships are helping the university rebuild a bridge that will expand faculty access to farmland which can be used to plant rare and native Louisiana plants. Additional plans include expanding research and educational capabilities at the Farm, and for the site to partner with the planned Nicholls Coastal Center for coastal research.
As America’s largest tonnage Port district, the Port of South Louisiana is the premier sea gateway for U.S. export and import traffic. Headquartered in LaPlace, the Port of South Louisiana stretches 54 miles along the Mississippi River and is the largest tonnage port district in the western hemisphere. The stretch of river contains 67 industries and supports 30,000 jobs.