AMERICA’S WETLAND RESOURCE CENTERS OPEN ALONG BIRDING TRAIL, FURTHER EXTEND ECO-CULTURAL TOURISM BRAND -- 04/26/2005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AMERICA’S WETLAND RESOURCE CENTERS OPEN ALONG BIRDING TRAIL, FURTHER EXTEND ECO-CULTURAL TOURISM BRAND
NEW ORLEANS - Welcoming the world to experience "remarkable adventures," Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu officially opened the first America’s WETLAND Resource Center at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans.
"With the launch of these America’s WETLAND Resource Centers, we are calling attention to a global treasure that people must see and experience to believe – right here in Louisiana," said Landrieu.
The Resource Centers, which open today in 33 key points along the new “America’s WETLAND Birding Trail” on the “Louisiana Great Gulf Coast,” include state-of-the-art, interactive kiosks featuring touch screen technology that allows visitors to view maps, videos, vibrant graphics and a wealth of information about Louisiana’s disappearing wetlands and the 12 loops of the Birding Trail. At each kiosk location, trained staff members will be trained to assist visitors and answer questions about the kiosks, which house Birding Trial guides and newly-released brochures designed to show residents and visitors alike how they can explore, experience, enjoy and be educated about the value and wonder of Louisiana’s disappearing wetlands.
America’s WETLAND Resource Centers are a key component of the “A Place Called America’s WETLAND” (APCAW) initiative, a cooperative venture between: Louisiana's Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism; the America's WETLAND Campaign to Save Coastal Louisiana (AW); Shell Oil Company; and local leaders. APCAW helps promote communities, attractions, events and activities around a new brand of experiential and adventure travel called "eco-cultural" tourism.
The “America's WETLAND Birding Trail” is the final leg of birding trails in states bordering the Gulf of Mexico, linking Texas and Mississippi. Traveling along the trail visitors will explore some of Louisiana 's most productive natural places and be exposed to some of the best birding in the country. In addition to exceptional birds and other wildlife, America's WETLAND Birding Trail also exposes visitors to some of the state's unique history and culture. Printed guides for the America’s WETLAND Birding Trail can only be found at America’s WETLAND Resource Centers.
"This Birding Trail is significant for Louisiana's economy and for attracting conservation-minded tourists who will respect the importance of protecting this vast and valuable habitat," said Landrieu.
"A Place Called America's WETLAND" and the “America’s WETLAND Birding Trial” are two lasting legacies of the America's WETLAND campaign, with the goal of giving the world a new sense of awareness about the physical and cultural riches found in Louisiana and attracting attention to the area as a prime site for "eco-cultural" tourism.
"The abundant cultural and natural assets in the State of Louisiana offer a unique brand of eco-cultural tourism," says Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu. "In opening these America’s WETLAND Resource Centers with the America's WETLAND campaign, I believe eco-cultural tourism can support our mission of promoting diversity, creativity and the unique and unparalleled assets found in Louisiana."
Shell Oil Company, America's WETLAND "World Sponsor", is the official sponsor for "A Place Called America's WETLAND," making possible interactive computerized kiosks, signage, billboards, videos and brochures as well as America's WETLAND Birding Trail guides and maps in print and on the Internet. Shell revealed today that their retailers throughout the southern region will distribute special birding trail and resource center maps.
"Louisiana's biologically diverse and rich coastal wetland is one of our country's most precious natural resources. Shell employees live and work there. Shell has major assets there. But erosion has taken a severe toll on Louisiana's wetlands. That is why Shell is proud to be part of the national effort, the America's WETLAND campaign, to help bring Louisiana's unique ecosystem to the public's attention," says Mary Margaret Hamilton, Social Investment Manager at Shell Oil Company.
"America's WETLAND is a vast region of world ecological significance and national economic and energy security. But perhaps most importantly, an area rich in cultural diversity and abundant natural resources," said Laurie Conkerton, Vice President of Development at the Audubon Nature Institute. "We are proud to be an America’s WETLAND Resource Center. Residents and visitors alike will gain a new understanding of what coastal Louisiana has to offer."
Announced by the State of Louisiana in August 2002, the America's WETLAND campaign is raising public awareness and gaining support for efforts to save coastal Louisiana. The initiative is supported by a growing cadre of world, national and state conservation and environmental organizations and has drawn private support from businesses that see wetlands protection as a key to economic growth.
To find out more about the America's WETLAND: Campaign to Save Coastal Louisiana, visit www.americaswetland.com.