Nicholls Students Lead Coastal Field Trip

Nicholls students pose with students from Grand Isle Elementary School during a trip out to the surrounding barrier islands. (Dr. Gary LaFleur/Nicholls State University)

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University students gave local elementary school children a first-hand look at barrier island ecology with a tour of a Grand Isle last week.

The annual project was created by Jean Landry of The Nature Conservancy and Dr. Gary LaFleur Jr., associate professor of biological sciences and executive director of the Center for Bayou Studies.

“The opportunity for our Nicholls students to take on the role of educator is a valuable experience,” Dr. LaFleur said. “By giving them the responsibility of teaching the elementary students, our own undergraduates nurture a deeper understanding of the role that barrier islands play in the cohesiveness of coastal systems.”

Ten Nicholls students and faculty members took second and third graders on a hike where the students were able to tour the marsh, forest and beach, followed by encounters with rarely seen creatures, such as the ghost shrimp.

“There is a unique magic that exists at Grand Isle; it is inspiring. Scientists and artists have traveled to the coast for millenia,” LaFleur said. “There is an intangible mechanism that becomes available by ‘leaving campus’ that helps students and faculty regain clarity, focus and priorities of mission. It is a great example of an exercise that becomes a high-impact experience.”


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or

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