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The Conservation Club shares the importance of preservation in the community through volunteer work

Kallie Bourgeois
NSU’s Conservation Club shares the importance of protecting the local environment through preservation.

People tend to admire the breathtaking views and wildlife that inhabit the surrounding area, even though the environment is in desperate need of preservation due to the lack of action in the community. However, through volunteer work, a group of like-minded individuals formed the Conservation Club at Northwestern State University of Louisiana. The organization is determined to protect natural resources and the environment for future enjoyment.

The president of the club, Blake Inabnet, a senior with a major in biology with a concentration in natural science and a minor in wildlife management, shared that the goal of the club is to spread awareness of conservation throughout the community.

“Our members volunteer at a variety of locations. We have a few at the Natchitoches Fish Hatchery,” Inabnet said. “We’ve volunteered at Briarwood Nature Preserve before, and another club member and I have been volunteering at the Natchitoches alligator park; we have had, and hopefully will have, more volunteer opportunities cleaning Grady Erwin Nature Area.”

Since taking on the role of club president, Inabnet has shared his love for conservation and the importance it plays in fostering a clean environment.

“This semester I have been fortunate enough to begin work on collaborations with other groups for upcoming events,” Inabnet said. “My days are often busy with classes and volunteer work, but in between the two, I talk with our other officers and members to coordinate future events for the club.”

With more volunteer opportunities and projects planned for the club in the near future, he shared his excitement to create more memories through conservation work. One of the club’s projects in the works is the creation of a pollinator habitat on and around campus to beautify the land, promote the wellbeing of pollinator species and increase the native biodiversity.

“My favorite memory of the club is a tough choice, but our Briarwood cleanup is a standout to me,” Inabnet said. “We got to clean up their pitcher-plant bog and, hopefully, that will not be the last volunteer opportunity at that location.”
The club provides members with opportunities that are applicable to their field of study.
Christopher Acker, vice president of the club and a junior with a major in biology with a concentration in wildlife management, agrees with this.

“This club provides quite a few resources and opportunities to do service, conserve, bring awareness and get students out to volunteer for conservation jobs,” Acker said. “This puts the students’ names out and provides a great success for NSU.”
Acker stressed the importance behind why NSU and the Natchitoches community should care about conservation, especially wildlife.

“One reason is the recreational and harvesting of fish and other game species (these are species that people hunt for sport or food),” Acker said. “Fish and deer are not only historically important, but also the community has fun and harvests for consumption.”

He added that agriculture is very important to preserve in the community.

“The vegetables and fruits that a lot of people eat, and animals eat too,” Acker said. “Pollinators are very important to maintain the agriculture in Natchitoches and other culturally important plants such as the magnolia tree.”

Olivia Habetz, a senior with a major in hospitality, management and tourism and a minor in wildlife management, is the event coordinator for the club. She admires the work the club has put into preserving the nature and wildlife in the area.

“This club gives me an outlet to try new things and discover why we need conservation efforts in our region,” Habetz said.

Habetz explained that, as a member of the club, there are various duties that are fulfilled.

“We volunteer in different areas and activities while educating other members and students on campus why conservation is important,” Habetz said. “We clean up areas around campus, pass out reusable water bottles, help with tree sales and more.”

Secretary and treasurer for the club, Hailey McGovern, is a senior with a major in biology with a concentration in natural science. With this, she is in charge of updating the club members on the status of events.

“I am responsible for handling all things financial such as club fees, and, more recently, the Conservation Club T-Shirt Fundraiser,” McGovern said. “I also keep record of all of the club’s major decisions and plans for future activities or events.”

McGovern explained the club has broadened her knowledge on the importance of soil and plant conservation for the health of the environment. She has a passion for conservation and is pursuing a career as a zoo endocrinologist, which advances the current conservation efforts for endangered wildlife species.

“Through various volunteer events, such as the Grady Erwin clean-up days, the annual tree sale hosted by the Natural Resource Conservation Service and the STEM Day’s soil conservation talk, I am able to actively take part in and observe the profound effects of conservation efforts on our local communities,” McGovern said.

Within the club, McGovern has loved sharing her passion with students that have similar interests, while helping improve our environment at the same time.

“I loved it when we took a trip to Briarwood as part of their annual Tom Sawyer Day to help restore their famous Bay Garden, one of the oldest Louisiana iris gardens, and to clean-up various other exhibits showcasing rare plant species,” McGovern said.

Much like Inabnet, McGovern has created many lasting memories because she joined the Conservation Club.

If interested in gaining more information or joining the conservation club, the meeting times are posted on Instagram.

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About the Contributor
Kallie Bourgeois
Kallie Bourgeois, Current Sauce - Reporter
Kallie Bourgeois is a freshman communication major, with a minor in sociology at NSU. This is her second semester as a reporter for The Current Sauce. She has had a love for storytelling since high school, where she spent a year as her school’s Editor for their newspaper. Kallie looks forward to continuing her passion for journalism by delivering stories of exciting events happening on campus and in the Natchitoches area.  

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