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Louisiana’s Susan Testroet-Bergeron Wins Third-Place Gulf Guardian Award

11/30/2017
Contact Information: 
Joe Hubbard or Jennah Durant at 214-665-2200 or r6press@epa.gov

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced Susan Testroet-Bergeron will receive a Third Place 2017 Gulf Guardian Award in the Individual Category. She is recognized for curating educational exhibits of coastal residents’ personal experiences with their environment. 

Ben Scaggs, Director of Gulf of Mexico Program said, “Whether for individual recreational use or as an economic engine supporting a wide variety of jobs and industry, the Gulf of Mexico is a vibrant yet vulnerable ecosystem. Protecting this national resource requires innovative approaches and proactive measures. The Gulf Guardian award winners are paving the way for ‘out of the box’ thinking and replicable practices.”  

Susan Testroet-Bergeron began her career teaching science and math and has continued to promote environmental education to all ages. After the tragedies of Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf oil spill, Susan realized the best education of our culture, environment and fragile land comes from the people who live here. She worked to tell their stories by curating an exhibit for the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act called “I Remember,” which features oral histories, photographs and original art depicting individuals who work, live, and play in Louisiana's coastal wetlands. Susan pulled together an exhibit that features environmental portraits and landscape photographs by Lane Lefort and oil paintings by Marian Brister Martinez. She used their artistic talents to capture the culture and heritage of the communities in coastal Louisiana. In addition, the art show also includes QR codes that allow audiences to hear the stories of 11 coastal stewards in their own words, bringing the history of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast alive through the stories of many who have lived, worked and watched it change. The exhibit brings the real story of coastal Louisiana as it travels to museums, conferences, and other venues around the country. 

Susan Testroet-Bergeron accepted the position of Program Director of the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP) in January of 2015. Susan’s organizational and partnership skills have made her the perfect leader to implement BTNEP’s Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan. Her greatest contribution to the Gulf Coast has been her untiring fight for environmental education. As a classroom teacher for nine years, a consultant for the State of Louisiana, and an Education/Outreach Coordinator, Susan has always instilled the importance of empowering students and the public through education. She encourages all those around her and makes everyone feel like part of the team. Susan finds the best of every situation and brings out the best in people who work with her. She has educated hundreds of teachers who in turn educated thousands of students.    

The Gulf of Mexico Program initiated the Gulf Guardian awards in 2000 as a way to recognize and honor the businesses, community groups, individuals, and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. First, second and third place awards are given in seven categories: individual, business/industry, youth environmental education, civic/nonprofit organizations, cultural diversity/environmental justice, partnership and bi-national efforts. This year’s ceremony will be held on November 30, 2017, at the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort in Point Clear, Alabama.  

The Gulf of Mexico Program began in 1988 to protect, restore, and maintain the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem in economically sustainable ways. The Gulf of Mexico Program is underwritten by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is a non-regulatory, inclusive consortium of state and federal government agencies and representatives of the business and agricultural community, fishing industry, scientists, environmentalists, and community leaders from all five Gulf States. The Gulf Program seeks to improve the environmental health of the Gulf in concert with economic development.

For more about EPA’s Gulf of Mexico Program: https://www.epa.gov/gulfofmexico

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