News Release

NEW ORLEANS PELICANS, AUDUBON NATURE INSTITUTE ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP TO PRESERVE LOUISIANA’S COAST AND WETLANDS

February 28, 2014

NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Pelicans and the Audubon Nature Institute announced today that they are teaming up to preserve Louisiana’s coast and wetlands. The partnership will especially focus on educating students on the effects of coastal restoration on the Region, as well as inspiring them to take action to ensure the long-term health of the coast.

The first event that the two organizations are collaborating on is the team’s “Toast for the Coast” on March 15. The event will take place at the Audubon Aquarium of Americas with all proceeds supporting coastal restoration education and research. The evening will be an intimate party as guests will have the opportunity to enjoy time talking and mingling with Pelicans players with the Aquarium’s captivating exhibits as the background. The party will include hors d'oeuvres, cocktails and a silent auction. For more information, visit Pelicans.com.

This long-term partnership will feature several programs and activations. With a primary focus on education, the Pelicans will work with Audubon to execute an outreach program that visits schools and festivals with Audubon’s Wetlands Express and AquaVan to give students the opportunity to learn about coastal restoration in a fun and engaging manner. The organizations are also collaborating on a children’s book about the wetlands to be released at a later date.

“The Pelicans are proud to partner with Audubon Nature Institute on ensuring the health and future of our coastline,” said Pelicans President Dennis Lauscha. “When we announced the rebrand of the team and its new mascot, the Pelican, we knew that we would integrate increasing awareness and raising funds for the research and protection of the Gulf South coastline as a part of our community initiatives. The most important aspect of this partnership is educating our local youth on the importance of coastal restoration and actions they can take now, and in the future, to make sure our coast is thriving for generations to come. As we look ahead to the future of our City and Region, it is imperative that our younger generations understand the importance of the coastline.”

“This new partnership with the Pelicans is a significant and notable commitment to educate our children on the importance of preserving our unique Louisiana coast,” said Audubon Nature Institute President and CEO Ron Forman. “The Pelicans are more than a basketball team for our city. It’s clear they want to make a difference for the environment and for the future of our state. We’re proud to be part of this initiative.”

“Coastal erosion in Louisiana is a complex issue that will require thoughtful and innovative research for generations to come,’’ said David Niebuhr, the Audubon Nature Institute’s vice president for education. “Our children and our children’s children will inherit this problem and it is imperative that we use education to inspire a new generation of creative minds to help us come up with solutions that produce results and sustain our coastal communities.’’

At the Audubon Zoo, the Louisiana Swamp Exhibit Nursery soon will be home to the “Pelicans Nest,” which will feature enhanced signage and elements to highlight the Pelicans and the partnership. During Pelicans home games, the education will continue as coastal restoration messages will appear throughout the game.

Every hour, Louisiana loses an area of wetlands equivalent to 20 NBA basketball courts. Both the Pelicans and the Audubon Institute see that Coastal Louisiana is in jeopardy and believe that this cause is of the utmost importance for the economic future of the State and Region.

About Audubon Nature Institute
Audubon Nature Institute is a 501(c)3 not for profit that operates a family of museums and parks dedicated to nature. These New Orleans facilities include: Audubon Park, Audubon Zoo, Woldenberg Riverfront Park, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Entergy IMAX® Theatre, Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species, Audubon Wilderness Park, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium and Audubon Nature Institute Foundation. Ron Forman is President and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute.