Over the last decade, the Gulf Coast has been battered by natural and man-made disasters. In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill caused significant damages to the environment and the economy of the region.
The Gulf Coast Restoration Initiative was created in order to repair and revitalize the Gulf of Mexico’s coastal ecosystems while raising awareness and preparing local youth for in-demand jobs in aquatic resource management.
Young people are trained to conduct assessments on site restoration, erosion and water species in order to find solutions to restore the environment and thus the economy in the area. Dozens of young people have brought awareness of the importance of protecting the environment to their community.
"This assignment took me close to my hometown and directly to an issue still affecting the region where I grew up. Watching the environmental, economic and human devastation that resulted from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, it was almost impossible to imagine how reparations would ever be made. I met and interviewed young people who would never before have considered themselves environmentalists, but through the training and the opportunities presented to them as a result, began to feel a connection to and a responsibility for their communities’ natural wealth."