Pre-College Programs
Brown Environmental Leadership Laboratory

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Brown Environmental Leadership Lab: New Orleans & Louisiana Gulf Coast

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Course DatesWeeksMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRN
April 12, 2015 - April 17, 20151M,T,W,TH,F,SA 8:30A-9POpenJayce G, Robin Rose, Lauren Watka30002

Course Description

In partnership with The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Brown offers this rigorous academic program for pre-college students with interests in science, leadership, and cultural studies. Together, we will educate students about conservation, restoration, and protection efforts in Louisiana.

Almost a hundred years ago, for the purposes of navigation and flood control, citizens and the government began to levee the Mississippi River, preventing overtopping and the deposition of valuable sediments replenishing the delta. In the mid-century, oil and gas exploration cut canals through the marsh exposing freshwater marshes to the salty waters of the Gulf while oil and gas extraction increased rates of subsidence (land loss). Climate change has caused sea levels to rise, virtually swallowing marshes and making tropical storms more severe. Undoing the past and righting the future in the face of both natural and man-made disasters means bold action must be taken.

The Mississippi River Delta ecosystem provides at least $12-47 billion in benefits to people annually. For $50 billion over the next fifty years, we could restore this vital system, but Louisiana must still prepare for a changing future. It cannot be restored to any point in the past however, and coastal Louisiana must prepare for a changing future. Diverting water from the river back into the marsh will mean transitions for fisheries, vegetation, and humans. Hardening of structures and floodproofing homes are necessary but not enough. Not every community will receive structural protection; some will move while others will adapt to annual flooding. Resources for this effort are limited and decision-makers face difficult choices.

In this course, students will:
- Explore Science and Sustainability
- Develop Leadership Skills
- Discover History and Culture
- Conduct Field Work