July/August 2011



Pink lichen flourishes at the Outdoor Classroom

Summer is in full swing, and we hope yours has been fun and festive so far! Many non-human passengers are also enjoying the sunny days and have been spotted all over the Outdoor Classroom. The woods and trails seem much quieter without so many students about, and we’re looking forward to their return in a few months!

Speaking of festivity, here at T.R.E.E. we’re busy getting ready for our first annual banquet! Read on below for more information on what’s sure to be an evening of great food and fun while celebrating students and environmental education in the Greater New Orleans area. You can always find more updates on our website, or follow us on Facebook for up-to-the-minute news and announcements! Enjoy the rest of summer, and see you in the fall! — Firefly

Save the Date for TREE’s 25th Anniversary Fundraiser Banquet
T.R.E.E. is celebrating 25 years of serving students, schools and the community.

We want to give you the opportunity to help us plant for the next 25 years.

Please join us as we celebrate on this very special night.

Thursday, August 25th
7:00pm – 11:00pm
Cost: $35 per person

The New Orleans Board of Trade
316 Board of Trade Place
(faces Magazine St.)
New Orleans, LA 70130

Please RSVP by August 1st
(504) 525-9020


Moonlight Paddle

Last fall, T.R.E.E. hosted the second annual Moonlight Paddle led by Byron Almquist of [Canoe and Trail Adventures](http://canoeandtrail.com/). Friends of T.R.E.E. both old and new were treated to a wonderful cruise down the bayou while Byron pointed out interesting sights and shared stories along the way. The paddlers arrived at the mouth of the bayou to find a fantastic dinner laid out for them on the shoreline and enjoyed a delicious meal watching the sun set over Lake Pontchartrain. Once dinner was finished, Byron led the group back and pointed out constellations in the night sky.

Special thanks for making such a wonderful evening possible go to Dennis Mischler, Martin Wine Cellar and St. James Cheese Company for their generous donations, and of course to Byron Almquist for leading the paddle.


Dibert Seedlings Reunion

Memories flooded back as Carla Briggs began to talk about her Sunship Earth experience. “It helped me to appreciate the Earth, and learn just how to care for what we have on Earth, and those basic skills of loving the Earth and paying attention, and just our appreciation for life in general, for the simple things. And it was just a great experience. I felt special as a child that I got to experience it.”

Last November some of the first participants of Sunship Earth (1985-1995) reunited at John Dibert Elementary School. Both past students and crew leaders gathered to enjoy shared memories of the Outdoor Classroom. Climbing inside a giant leaf and singing in the dining hall together seemed to be the most frequently recalled memories. The group burst into singing “All Earth’s Critters,” and then laughed in amazement at how much they remembered. (Read more link goes here)

“It was fun, and that reminds me to just stop and remember there was a point in my life where I just had fun.” said Carla Briggs. “That was a long time ago….eons ago.” said Amy Royer, another past participant who still remembers the campfires and songs vividly from her experience at Sunship Earth 20 years ago. “I tell my husband all the time we need to have bonfires in the backyard so that we can roast marshmallows and put them on green apple halves that have peanut butter on them.” said Amy.

This T.R.E.E. version of s’mores is still eaten at Sunship Earth programs today, though some other things have changed.

Students’ crews were represented by different endangered species in 1985. The Seedlings were delighted to find that both the Gray Wolves and the Peregrine Falcons are now endangered species “success stories.” These crews have been replaced by current endangered species. “I learned so much about endangered species I went on from elementary school to be a junior zookeeper at the zoo.” Carla Briggs recalled.

Today Carla still uses concepts learned at Sunship Earth. “I’ve got to know why it does what it does, not just that it does it. I see from a child learning those basic things, knowing where our food comes from and the source of energy, has helped me to develop my [catering] business in the long run, so that’s my today connection.” she said.

Amy said her experience had a long term affect on her also. “I think I noticed [conservation] because I was taught it, otherwise it would just be something that someone was talking about.” she commented. “When you’re educated about something, you notice it more.”


Gabby Constant and Amy Royer, best friends since 1991 when they experienced Sunship Earth as 5th graders. 18 years later, they sit side by side recollecting their time in the Outdoor Classroom. "I want my kids to go." says Amy. "I wanna go back." Gabby replies wistfully. Then they look at each other and laugh.

Bison, Firefly, and some of the "Seedlings" connect with other seedlings on Facebook by clicking the picture above!


Student Spotlight: Seve Loudon

Although he is entering his senior year of high school, Seve Loudon still carries with him the lessons and habits he learned as a student at Earthkeepers™, Sunship Earth™, and Sunship III™. Seve recently volunteered to help T.R.E.E. with a special project, and spent some time reminiscing with us about completing his Sunship III Quest and the impact T.R.E.E.’s programs have had on his life. Seve spoke fondly of finding his own “magic spot” in the branches of a camellia tree in his own backyard. He also spoke about interviewing an Environmental Science professor about Louisiana ecosystems and efforts to clean up the Mississippi River. Although he has earned his Quest Medallion, Seve also told us about some of his recent efforts to educate others about environmental issues:

“I still kind of think that I haven’t finished my Quest, just because part of my Quest is to go out and to tell other people, to share what I have done, so I still think that I’m on my Quest. Last April I had the most extraordinary opportunity to go and speak with other members of T.R.E.E. at the Tulane Environmental Law Summit.”

Seve also hopes to volunteer with T.R.E.E. during the upcoming school year. We are happy to highlight his accomplishments as a role model to other students in the Greater New Orleans area.



Funny Orange Mushroom

Oh little mushroom,

What a strange color you have

Wish I was orange

— 5th grade student

Earth is our friend.

Flowers blooming in the night.

Robins whistling in the wind.
Stars twinkling in the sky.

We find the world within.

— 5th grade student



The kids were able to be kids and have magic put back into their lives especially after Katrina.

Virginia Pluta (teacher)




Personal Info

Donation Total: $25.00


Lost TreasuresLost Treasures
a full academic year program taught weekly in the classroom for third grade and on into fourth grade
Earth KeepersEarthkeepers
a three-day Outdoor Classroom program for fourth grade
Sunship EarthSunship Earth
a five-day/four-night Outdoor Classroom residential program for fifth grade
Sunship 3Sunship III
a three-day/two-night Outdoor Classroom residential program for seventh grade