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Year of the Gulf

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The Gulf of Mexico Alliance has recognized 2020 as the “Year to Embrace the Gulf” and acknowledge the Gulf of Mexico’s importance to the nation. The Gulf of Mexico is bordered by five Gulf Coast states: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas; and the Gulf region contributes to the nation’s economy, security, energy, environment, heritage, beauty, diversity, and resilience.

The Gulf of Mexico’s watershed covers more than half of the continental United States, and the Mississippi River drains more than one-third of the nation. This watershed is characterized with diverse flora and fauna, provides food, shelter and habitat to marine and estuarine organisms, shorebirds, waterfowl and wildlife, and the Gulf Coast supports our nation’s seafood industry through commercial fishing. The Gulf also provides recreational adventures, such as sailing, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding and fishing.

The TECHE Project is proud to be a part of this important initiative. The Bayou Teche Paddle Trail runs 135 miles through four parishes and connects with the Gulf of Mexico through the Lower Atchafalaya River. It has a total of 13 established access points that provide access to paddle trips as short as 7 miles or as long as its 135 miles. Each town along the Teche offers its own personality and experiences that include architecture, agriculture, foodways, music and arts.

Likewise, the Gulf Coast region is one of the most culturally diverse regions in the nation with millions of residents tracing their heritage to Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America, and the Gulf Coast embraces a variety of traditions and invokes a strong sense of place. It also plays a vital role in our nation’s defense and aerospace exploration; moreover, it is crucial to oil, gas and energy production, as well as import and export trade.

Gulf Coast tourism generates hundreds of billions of dollars each year, and if the Gulf area were a country, our economy would rank among the top 10 worldwide. By increasing awareness of the Gulf of Mexico’s many treasures and limitless value, we ensure a sustainable future.

Please help us in embracing the Gulf—and Bayou Teche—throughout 2020!

2019 Annual Report of The TECHE Project

Each year, in conjunction with our Annual Membership Banquet, we issue an Annual Report summarizing our efforts for the previous year. Click the link below to download our 2019 Annual Report.

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Unveiling of Loreauville Bayou Teche National Water Trail Information Kiosk

The TECHE Project, Iberia Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Village of Loreauville will unveil the information kiosk for Loreauville and the Bayou Teche National Water Trail at a special 1 p.m. public ceremony on Tuesday, January 28, at the Loreauville trailhead, 119 Bridge St., Loreauville, La.

Information kiosks will be placed at each of the 16 trailheads along Bayou Teche, the Lower Atchafalaya and Atchafalaya rivers from Port Barre to Berwick. These kiosks will orient water and land trail users to the Bayou Teche and the Lower Atchafalaya and Atchafalaya rivers and present special stories of the 16 trail communities.

This event will also recognize the financial support provided by the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area and the Atchafalaya Trace Commission through the awarding of a $46,000 grant to supplement the sponsorships already provided by families, local governments and businesses for the information kiosks.

In 2015, The TECHE Project received the exceptional designation of “National Water Trail” from the U.S. Department of the Interior National Parks Service program. This recognition is one of 21 such designations in the United States and the only one in Louisiana.

The Iberia Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau is currently the primary sponsor for the Loreauville Bayou Teche information kiosk, and the Village of Loreauville, along with all water users, will maintain the floating dock and the kiosk.

Installing the floating docks with federal and state funding and the information kiosks with local sponsorships in the 16 bayou and river towns is a major part of The TECHE Project’s “TECHE Renaissance” initiative comprised of programs to increase the recreational use of the waterways and to enrich boaters’ enjoyment.

“This is the eighth of 16 kiosks to be installed on the 135-mile water trail,” says Conni Castille, executive director of The TECHE Project. “It serves as a model for other water trail towns of what is coming to their community very soon.”

Each information kiosk measures 4 feet wide by 5 1/2 feet tall and holds two panels: an orientation panel and a community panel. The orientation panel depicts a waterway-long map, safety tips and an inset map of each trail town. The community panel presents stories about the locality, the waterway, wildlife and native plants and helpful advice for exploring Bayou Teche and the Atchafalaya corridor.

You’re Invited to our Membership Banquet Jan. 25

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Wood Duck Management Workshop Jan. 18

Kramer-WoodDuckBoxesThe beautiful wood duck is a common and enjoyable sight along Louisiana’s bayous, however, they weren’t always so common. Only a few decades ago, wood duck numbers were down due to a lack of nesting habitat. Artificial nesting boxes have enabled the wood duck to become commonplace and have ensured their viability for all to enjoy. The best part of this success story is that anyone can help continue the wood duck’s legacy. It’s really not that hard to raise wood ducks yourself. All you need is water, brood cover and a proper nesting box. If you’d like to learn about how you can raise wood ducks and help ensure that the wood duck population stays commonplace in Louisiana’s waterways, come join The TECHE Project at their annual Wood Duck Management Workshop.

This year’s workshop will take place at the Shadows-on-the-Teche Visitor Center (across the street from the plantation home) in New Iberia from 9:30 a.m.-noon on Saturday, January 18. The workshop is held just in time to get your wood duck nest boxes installed for the spring nesting season, and the New Iberia location is optimal as there is ample habitat in the area for wood duck nesting. The workshop will start with a general ecology discussion of wood ducks by Patti Holland, TECHE Project council member and retired biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Council Member Brent Miller and his daughter Adeline will discuss their firsthand experience and guidance from many years of rearing wood ducks on the banks of Bayou Teche. Also, TECHE Project Wood Duck Program participant Scott Albarado will share his technical knowledge on how to set up cameras that film wood duck nesting inside the box and the chicks fledging on jump day.

Wood duck boxes will be available for purchase at the workshop. Those who live on Bayou Teche can join our group of more than 50 participants from mile 1 to mile 132 that are doing their part to raise wood duck numbers on Bayou Teche. Last year alone, we reared more than 350 wood duck chicks on the bayou! Participants in our Bayou Teche Wood Duck Program also get a free Bayou Teche Paddle Trail Sign for their wood duck box displaying the mileage of their spot on the bayou. According to Holland, “This workshop is a great opportunity for those living near Bayou Teche to be part of the ecological improvement of the watershed, while at the same time enjoying the fruits of their labor as they watch young birds emerge from their boxes.”

Bayou Teche property owners are the target audience, but anyone who is interested in raising wood ducks will benefit from this workshop. Attendance is free for TECHE Project members and $5 for others. Those who would like to help support The TECHE Project and all of the great things happening on the bayou can also choose to apply the admission fee to the purchase of a TECHE Project membership and become part of the Bayou Teche Renaissance. Together, we are doing great things on the bayou!

Support Us for Giving Tuesday & Through the Holiday Season

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For many families and their traditions, the Bayou Teche is important this time of year. Please consider supporting our efforts and making a positive difference for the good of Louisiana’s most historic and culturally significant waterway by making a donation for GIVING TUESDAY ON DEC. 3. Your tax-deductible contribution can be in any amount you choose or you can become a member of The TECHE Project.

We work with your support to increase the use and stewardship of the Bayou Teche. As with our first 10 years in operation, The TECHE Project succeeds with the charitable support and memberships of individuals, families, businesses and organizations of the 135-mile waterway corridor and beyond. With your support, we are installing more floating docks and 16 new information kiosks; providing educational programs; collecting over 50 tons of trash to date; and engaging visitors and residents with our treasured natural, recreational, historic, scenic and cultural resource.

Your donations and memberships help us to continue these projects, which are vital to the use and health of the Bayou Teche. Just click the “Support” tab at the top of the page to see our different levels for giving and membership options.

In addition, the Bayou Teche Information Kiosks planned for Loreauville, Jeanerette, Charenton, Baldwin, Centerville and Berwick still offer opportunities for full sponsorships ($7,500) or co-sponsorships ($2,500). Please contact David Dahlquist at 515 326-1593 or ddahlquist@outlook.com for more information about this once-in-a-decade opportunity.

Happy Holidays to you and your family, and thanks for your continued support of The TECHE Project!

TECHE Project Gets an Administrator!

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It is with much enthusiasm I, on the behalf of The TECHE Project, introduce you to your new Administrator, Erin Z. Bass. You will have the pleasure of meeting Erin in person at our Annual Membership Banquet in Breaux Bridge on January 25th 2020. But until then, here’s a little about her.

Erin is a native of Crowley and has lived in Lafayette for close to 20 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Louisiana State University and has spent the past 18 years working as a writer and editor. Her career experience spans from newspapers and magazines to marketing and public relations. Her newspaper experience includes The Times of Acadiana, Independent Weekly and The Current. She also serves on the board of directors for Festival International de Louisiana.

Erin is no stranger to the Bayou Teche. She got married along the bayou in Arnaudville and has family living along the bayou in New Iberia. She has covered the Teche through her work with Discover Iberia magazine and the Louisiana Tour Guide.

As Administrator of The TECHE Project, Erin will utilize her communication, marketing and public relations skills to handle membership, the Annual Report and Annual Banquet, in addition to day to day administrative duties. As the paddle trail infrastructure (floating docks, kiosks) continues to hit the water in each Trail Town, making the whole trail easier to access, we anticipate Erin’s background and expertise becoming a critical asset to promoting the trail to attract more paddlers.

Thanks again for your continued support of our National Water Trail. See you at the banquet where we celebrate you and your contribution to the Bayou Teche and Lower Atchafalaya River.

See you on the water,

Conni Castille
Executive Director

Another Trail Feather Update

Looks like weather is going to be FABULOUS!!  Low 80’s, slight north wind and SUNNY!  Perfect for Paddling the Teche!  No bike ride, but everything else goes as planned.  So, plan to come out to Parc des Ponts for a fun-filled day on beautiful Bayou Teche!!

COME SHAKE YOUR TRAIL FEATHER

 

https://www.katc.com/community/gma/spirit-of-acadiana-8th-annual-shake-your-trail-feather-festival

Trail Feather Festival Update

The morning bike ride has been cancelled, so please do not come early for that aspect our our festival.  The Paddle to the Party and the Fstival Main Event activities are on!!  For the paddle, don’t forget that we have a shuttle leaving from the boat launch at 9 am for $5 cash.  Drop off your boats and extra paddlers at Poches, go park at the festival and ride the bus back.  It’s that easy!

The weather forecast is all over the place, but at this point, we are hopeful that everything will go as planned.  If we have to, we’ll adjust the time of the paddle parade to avoid rain.  Also, please know that we have a covered option for the festival under the courtyard and in the gymnasium at the St. Bernard School.  SOOO, the party will go on rain or shine.  Please know that your attendance and support in a rain event is all that more appreciated as this festival is our primary fundraiser, and our non-profit work to build the Bayou Teche National Paddle Trail depends on proceeds from this festival.  Besides, we have great music (Stop the Clock, Steve Riley and Mamou Playboys and Horace Trahan and the Ossun Express), fun kids activities, 2 kayaks to raffle, cool exhibits, talks and artwork, and delicious food that you won’t want to miss.  So, come Shake Your Trail Feathers with us no matter what the weather brings!!