The Arlene and Joseph Meraux Charitable Foundation has been awarded the Louisiana Association of Conservation Districts’ (LACD) Outstanding Non-Supervisor Award for 2016. The award was presented at the LACD’s annual meeting of the supervisors and employees of the state’s 44 conservation districts on Jan. 12 in Alexandria. The Foundation was nominated by the Crescent District of the LACD, and Meraux Foundation board member Chris Haines accepted the award on behalf of the Foundation.
“The Meraux Foundation is honored to receive this award, and we would like to thank the Louisiana Association of Conservation Districts,” said Haines. “We will share this award with our many partners and collaborators in St. Bernard and Southeast Louisiana who are working day-in and day-out to conserve this special place.”
The Meraux Foundation is a private, family-managed 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was established by Arlene Meraux to leverage her landholdings to benefit the entire St. Bernard Parish community. Today, the Meraux Foundation’s board of directors is guided by Arlene’s vision, which includes an emphasis on the environment.
In addition to the customary functions of foundations, the Meraux Foundation manages, maintains, and preserves extensive and diverse landholdings. Each type of land poses complex and often delicate challenges in its preservation, protection, and use, but we aim to maximize both short- and long-term benefits for the community and ecosystem.
One of the Meraux Foundation’s land uses has been to designate 130 acres of property, known as Docville Farm, as an educational learning center that hosts workshops and a number of community events throughout the year.
The Meraux Foundation has also created and implemented a whole suite of initiatives to promote the conservation of St. Bernard’s natural resources. Through these programs, tens of thousands of people, including many grade school children, have learned about the importance of natural resources conservation, especially as it pertains the unique South Louisiana ecosystem. And many area residents have been given a seat at the table to participate in the dialogue around how best to conserve our natural resources.
The Meraux Foundation’s mission is to improve St. Bernard Parish, and given we are on the front lines in the battle against coastal land loss, that means supporting programs and initiatives to conserve and restore our wetlands — while caring for the people who live and work there.