Marathon Petroleum announced its support of students from the Fifth Ward Elementary School in Reserve, La., who are currently caring for 500 cypress tree seedlings in their school nursery. The trees will be transferred to nearby wetlands just west of New Orleans when they are ready. The seedlings were purchased by the Pontchartrain Conservancy with a $25,000 grant from Marathon Petroleum.
“We are excited to work with the students at Fifth Ward Elementary on this tree nursery to not only help restore the wetlands but to also teach them about the importance of wetlands for not just their area, but all of south Louisiana,” said Kristi Trail, executive director of the Pontchartrain Conservancy. “Pontchartrain Conservancy is thankful for our partnership with Marathon for their support with this project. Together, we can save our coast!”
In addition to the trees being grown at Fifth Ward, employees from Marathon’s Garyville refinery, one of Pontchartrain Conservancy’s swamp restoration program partners, have planted 600 cypress trees in the same wetlands that play a critical role in protecting Louisiana’s coast from hurricanes.
“Our partnership with the Pontchartrain Conservancy not only helps further local education related to coastal erosion mitigation work but will tangibly help restore wetlands impacted by Ida,” said Marathon Petroleum’s Vice President of Refining Michael Henschen. “We want to help protect our coastline and our community as we continue to recover together.”
In addition to this grant, Marathon has provided community investments totaling $2.4 million to support the rebuilding efforts in St. John the Baptist Parish and surrounding communities impacted by Hurricane Ida in 2021. Those local initiatives support youth education, environmental sustainability and workforce development.