Top Stories

Office of Conservation and East Baton Rouge Parish Library to Promote Groundwater Awareness

Thursday, February 12, 2015
Mary Stein, assistant director, East Baton Rouge Parish Library and Matthew Reonas of DNR Office of Conservation unveil new ‘Water-Wise in BR’ traveling exhibit about groundwater.


Baton Rouge – The Louisiana Office of Conservation and East Baton Rouge Parish Library are joining together to promote groundwater awareness in the Baton Rouge area. To assist in Conservation’s continuing “Water-Wise in BR” public awareness campaign, the Library will host two traveling exhibits that emphasize the importance of the Southern Hills Aquifer System to local citizens, their lives, and livelihoods. The exhibits will move through the Library’s branches on a rotating basis. Adult education brochures, bookmarks, and children’s posters are available at each stop.


“The exhibits are a great way to raise the profile of this campaign,” said Mary Stein, assistant director of the library system. “Thousands of patrons pass through our doors every day, from every walk of life, every neighborhood, and every age group in the parish. We’re glad to be able to help educate our fellow citizens about what a valuable natural resource we have here below our feet.”


A recent local survey conducted for the Office of Conservation points to the need for more awareness. “85 percent of survey respondents acknowledged that they had never heard of the Southern Hills Aquifer System,” said Matthew Reonas, outreach and education coordinator with the office. “Less than half had an accurate sense of the amount of groundwater from this system consumed in homes and businesses in East Baton Rouge on a daily basis. In fact, for homes and businesses,” he explained, “groundwater supplies 100 percent of the demand. Add in industry, and Baton Rouge uses enough groundwater to fill up LSU’s Tiger Stadium—give or take a few million gallons—every other day.”


The “Water-Wise in BR” campaign was created as part of an aggressive public outreach and awareness effort mandated by Commissioner of Conservation James Welsh in 2012. The exhibit program with the Library and other campaign activities are supported by the Groundwater Awareness Campaign Fund, a field of interest fund managed by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. The effort has drawn the backing of area companies such as ExxonMobil Baton Rouge.


“The survey results highlight the need for more knowledge about groundwater availability and use in Baton Rouge,” said ExxonMobil Public and Government Affairs Manager Stephanie Cargile. “Learning opportunities on this critical subject align with ExxonMobil’s focus on education,” she said, “and the library system is an ideal avenue for reaching the many diverse sectors of the general public with a concise message.”


In addition to the traveling exhibits, the Library will host Office of Conservation teacher training workshops at the new Main Library on Goodwood Blvd. on consecutive Saturdays in March, on March 7 and 14. The workshops will provide hands-on demonstrations of math, science, and social studies components of the “Water-Wise in BR” curriculum. As with past workshops, registration will be through the Office of Conservation, and teachers that attend will receive classroom posters and promotional items. Stipends are offered, but space is limited. Upper elementary, middle, and high school teachers with an interest in cross-curriculum development, or simply in expanding their own knowledge about local water issues, are invited to register.


For more information and workshop registration, contact: Dr. Matthew Reonas, or call 225-342-1496.

News Archives »