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Service Learning with Earthwatch: Loons and the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Program Number: 20967RJ
Start and End Dates:
1/11/2013 - 1/19/2013;
Duration: 8 nights
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Price starting at: $2,398.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Service Learning; Science & Nature; Natural History
Meals: 21; 7 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 7 Dinners    

It was one of the worst ecological disasters in history. In 2010, more than 205 million gallons of crude oil were released into the Gulf of Mexico during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill — an event that continues to impact the species that call this region home. In a group of just eight volunteers, help scientists as they study the effects of the oil spill on the Common Loon, a seabird that spends up to six months of the year in the Gulf before returning to parts of the northern U.S. and Canada. Through field research and laboratory testing, gain insight into the diets, habitats and movements of the Common Loon, and consider how the oil spill has impacted their immune systems and mortality rates.




Highlights

• Assist in the night capture of Common Loons and aid scientists in measuring, banding and data collection.
• Receive training in lab work that is essential to maintaining proper data and research.
• Enjoy two days and nights to explore New Orleans, including a field trip to the Louisiana State Museum’s “Living With Hurricanes” exhibit.



Activity Particulars

Walking 1-2 miles per day; significant use of motorboats in field work.



Single room upgrades are available during your stay in New Orleans.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival New Orleans, 2 nights; coach to Port Sulphur, 6 nights; coach to New Orleans, departure.




New Orleans

The Crescent City is among the United States' most unique and colorful cities, owing in part to the various heritages and cultures that influenced its growth over the past 300 years, including Cajun, Creole and French, a rich blend apparent in everything from the city’s architecture and cuisine, to its dialects and corner cafés.



Accommodations
New Orleans: comfortable hotel. Port Sulphur: field house, single and double rooms, shared baths.
Meals and Lodgings
   Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown
  New Orleans, Louisiana 2 nights
   Port Sulpher Field Station
  Port Sulpher, Louisiana 6 nights
 Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The first sounds of jazz were heard in the dance halls on the very blocks surrounding the hotel. Magnificent jazz murals commemorating this historic neighborhood including a 150-foot clarinet mural...New Orleans newest landmark! The hotel, in the heart of downtown, is 6 blocks from the French Quarter. True Southern hospitality will make you feel right at home while still close to all the action. There is a complimentary shuttle bus to New Orleans' most popular attractions, including the French Quarter. Multi-lingual staff.
  Contact info: 330 Loyola Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70112 USA
phone: 504-581-1600
web: www.holidayinnneworleans.com
  Room amenities: Iron/Ironing Board, Coffee Maker, Hairdryer.
  Facility amenities: Outdoor Pool, High-speed Internet Access, Health/Fitness Center On-Site, ATM/Cash Machine, Concierge Services, Dry Cleaning Pickup/Laundry, Ice Machine, Newsstand, Porter/Bellman, Room Service, Safety Deposit Box available at Front Desk.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: $129 plus tax Call the hotel to make individual reservations. 504-267-5833 Mon-Fri 9-5 CT Ask for Trudy Guidroz. Do not speak to national reservations. The following dates require a 2 night minimum stay:Feb10 and 11, March 16 and 17, March 23 and 24. April 27 and 28, May 4 and 5($149 per night) May 11 and 12($149 per nt), Oct 12 and 13 ($149). Oct 26 and 27
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Port Sulpher Field Station
Type: Field Station
  Contact info: 27335 Hwy 23
Port Sulpher, LA 70083 USA
phone: 197-845-0122 x1
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: 4 bathrooms to be shared by all


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Hotel check in: Sunday 3:30 pm. If you arrive earlier you can check in if your room is available. Bellmen will store your luggage until your room is ready. Registration:3:45 pm. Orientation: 4:15-6:00pm. Dinner: 6:00 pm. You will be staying at Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown that night.
  End of Program:
Breakfast is 7:00-8:30 am. Lecture: 8:30-11am. Take away lunch provided: 11am (or you may eat with group in hotel). Hotel checkout: Noon. Bellmen will store luggage if you are leaving later. You will be staying at Port Sulpher Field Station the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
425 Parking Spaces. Regular Daily Parking Fee: $15.00 plus tax - special negotiated daily rate for Road Scholar $8 plus tax. Covered, indoor garage attached to hotel. Garage is a self-park and lock facility. Bus and RV parking also available for a fee.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  New Orleans, Louisiana
  Nearest highway: Interstate 10
  Nearest airport:  Louis Armstrong International Airport-(MSY)
  From End of Program
  Location:  Port Sulpher, Louisiana
Travel Details
 

Louis Armstrong Airport (Moisant Field-MSY)

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
New Orleans Airport Shuttle
phone: 866-596-2699 xTollFree

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$20 per person one way
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

20 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

15 miles

   

Shuttle will be outside of the baggage pickup area. Shuttle may make stops at several hotels before arriving at your hotel.

 

Louis Armstrong Airport (Moisant Field-MSY)

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
multiple taxis

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$30(approximately) for one or two people
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

20 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

15 Miles

   

It is cheaper to take Taxi for 1-2 persons. $30 for 2 plus extra for 3rd and 4th person.

 

Union Passenger Terminal New Orleans

 

From Train Station

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
multiple taxis

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$10(approximately)
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

5-10 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

1 mile

 
Driving Directions
  Holiday Inn From East 1. Merge onto I-10 west. 2. Follow I-10 west and exit at Canal Street. 3. Turn right on Cleveland Street. 4. Go 7 blocks to the end of Cleveland Street. 5. Turn right on Elk Place. Holiday Inn is located 2 blocks on the left.
  Holiday Inn From West 1. Follow I-10 East 2. Merge onto U S90-W toward the Superdome(it will be on your left-looks like a space ship) 3. Take the Loyola Avenue exit-it will be on your right 4. Veer left as you exit-this will be Earhart Blvd. 5. From Earhart veer to the left onto Loyola Ave- go 3 blocks- you will be at Loyola and Poydras. 6. Cross Poydras and continue straight for 2 more blocks on Loyola-look for the giant clarinet on the side of the building-that will be the Holiday Inn. Turn right into the parking lot.
Elevation Note: Totally flat terrain

Equipment Requirements: No equipment
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival & Hotel Check-in, Program Registration & Orientation, Dinner & Introduction to New Orleans
(Friday, January 11)
   
 Afternoon: HOTEL CHECK-IN: Available from 4:00pm.

PROGRAM REGISTRATION: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar desk in the lobby to pick up your arrival packet containing your name tag, up-to-date schedule, and other important information.

Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible.

ORIENTATION: During the orientation session, you'll have an informative overview of the program plus an opportunity to meet the local staff and your fellow participants during an introductory get-acquainted session. We’ll review the updated schedule, cover responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. (If you arrive late, please pick up your packet at the hotel front desk.)

 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel. Variety of New Orleans special dishes from which to choose.
 Evening: PRESENTATION: New Orleans and Its Unique French Quarter. Your instructor is from New Orleans and loves her city. Learn and be entertained at the same time.

This new service learning program is a cooperative effort between Road Scholar and Earthwatch. During the service learning project portion of the program, you will be working with and assisting scientists in their research. It is a cooperative effort in many ways. For example, participants assist in meal preparation and clean-up at the Earthwatch field station.

   
Accommodations: Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: The Oil Spill & Its Aftermath, City Field Trip Including Katrina Museum, Preservation Hall
(Saturday, January 12)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at hotel. Spread of eggs, meats, oatmeal, grits, yogurts,fruit, cereals, pastries. The choice is yours.
 Morning: PRESENTATION: Oil Spill Clean Up First Responders. Meet a team member from one of the first groups of responders for the oil spill clean up, a long time resident who will tell you what the experience was really like.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant. New Orleans is known for its special southern dishes--you will have choices.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Get an overview of the city’s environment including Lake Pontchartrain, Bayou St. John, City Park with its magnificent oak trees, and the famous above-ground cemeteries. You’ll also see a neighborhood that still shows the effects of Hurricane Katrina and visit the Katrina Museum.
 Dinner: DINNER ON YOUR OWN: Choose from the multitude of options to savor the flavors of your choice (at your expense). The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. If you’re interested in one of the famous New Orleans restaurants, we advise that you make reservations well in advance.
 Evening: EXTRACURRICULAR: You’ll have a voucher to attend Preservation Hall in a building originally constructed in 1750. After numerous incarnations from private home to tavern to art gallery, Preservation Hall opened its doors in 1961 as a shrine and sanctuary to protect and honor New Orleans Jazz. Patrons flock to hear New Orleans jazz played by veterans in their 70's and 80's and younger musicians learning and embracing this music that animates your spirit.
   
Accommodations: Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3: Transfer to Port Sulphur, Begin Service Project
(Sunday, January 13)

Note: Field trips in Gulf



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet.
 Morning: TRANSFER: A van from Earthwatch will pick up the group and drive to Port Sulpher to begin work on the service project, "Loons and the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill." The trip should be approximately an hour-and-a-half depending on traffic.
 Lunch: Arrive at the Earthwatch field station and have lunch -- typically sandwiches (cold-cuts), fruit, and vegetables. During the project, participants assist in meal preparation and clean-up.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Under the guidance of Earthwatch scientists, you’ll take the boat out and spend time on the water, helping to gather data on habitat use, daily and seasonal movements and behavior of loons. At the end of the afternoon, we return to dock and drive back to the field station.
 Dinner: Join in helping to prepare the evening meal and eat together. Dinners may include pasta, rice, tortillas, seafood, meat, vegetables, fruit (depending on seasonal availability).
 Evening: VARIABLE: Evening activities range from night capture of loons and related research to presentations and discussions, entering data, and free time for relaxation.
   
Accommodations: Port Sulpher Field Station
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Service Learning Project: Loons and the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill
(Monday, January 14)

Note: late evening captures



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast typically includes choices such as oatmeal, cereal, eggs, pancakes, toast, fruit.
 Morning: SERVICE PROJECT: Go over the capture protocol for the evening, go over data sheets, assign specific duties to individuals and ensure that everyone is comfortable with the evening's capture protocol.
 Lunch: Typically sandwiches (cold-cuts), fruit, vegetables.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Spend several hours on the water looking for loons and gathering data on behavior and habitat use. Or, we will try to get radio signals by driving along the point and getting out on the levees. At the end of the field trip, we'll return to the field station.
 Dinner: Early Dinner. Join in helping to prepare the evening meal and eat together. Dinners may include pasta, rice, tortillas, seafood, meat, vegetables, fruit (depending on seasonal availability).
 Evening: FIELD TRIP: First team goes out in the boat and assists in capture, which can take anywhere from one to one-and-a-half hours. After we catch one bird, the first team will return and the second team will head out on the boat. As long as the weather is cooperative and capture conditions are good, we will keep going until midnight.
   
Accommodations: Port Sulpher Field Station
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Service Learning Project: Loons and the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill
(Tuesday, January 15)

Note: enter data



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast typically includes choices such as oatmeal, cereal, eggs, pancakes, toast, fruit.
 Morning: SERVICE PROJECT: Go over the capture protocol for the evening, go over data sheets, assign specific duties to individuals and ensure that everyone is comfortable with the evening's capture protocol.
 Lunch: Typically sandwiches (cold-cuts), fruit, vegetables.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Spend several hours on the water looking for loons and gathering data on behavior and habitat use. Or, we will try to get radio signals by driving along the point and getting out on the levees. At the end of the field trip, we'll return to the field station.
 Dinner: Early Dinner. Join in helping to prepare the evening meal and eat together. Dinners may include pasta, rice, tortillas, seafood, meat, vegetables, fruit (depending on seasonal availability).
 Evening: Depart Field station. First team of volunteers goes out in the boat and assists in capture, which can take anywhere from one-to one and a half hours. After we catch one bird, the second team of volunteers will head back out on the boat. As long as weather is cooperative and capture conditions are good, we will keep going until midnight.
   
Accommodations: Port Sulpher Field Station
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Service Learning Project: Loons and the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill
(Wednesday, January 16)

Note: gather info on loon behavior



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast typically includes choices such as oatmeal, cereal, eggs, pancakes, toast, fruit.
 Lunch: Typically sandwiches (cold-cuts), fruit, vegetables.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Spend several hours on the water looking for loons and gathering data on behavior and habitat use. Or, we will try to get radio signals by driving along the point and getting out on the levees. At the end of the field trip, we'll return to the field station.
 Dinner: Early Dinner. Join in helping to prepare the evening meal and eat together. Dinners may include pasta, rice, tortillas, seafood, meat, vegetables, fruit (depending on seasonal availability).
 Evening: Depart Field station. First team of volunteers goes out in the boat and assists in capture, which can take anywhere from one-to one and a half hours. After we catch one bird, the second team of volunteers will head back out on the boat. As long as weather is cooperative and capture conditions are good, we will keep going until midnight.
   
Accommodations: Port Sulpher Field Station
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Service Learning Project: Loons and the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill
(Thursday, January 17)

Note: 6 hours on water



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast typically includes choices such as oatmeal, cereal, eggs, pancakes, toast, fruit. We'll also pack lunches for later.
 Morning: DAY PREP: go over the day's objectives, pack lunch.

FIELD TRIP: Depart for one of two boat launches. Teams will take a boat out and spend 6-8 hours on the water, where we will gather data on habitat use, daily and seasonal movements and behavior.

 Lunch: We'll have the lunches we prepared this morning.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP continues.
 Dinner: Dinners may include pasta, rice, tortillas, seafood, meat, vegetables, fruit (depending on seasonal availability).
 Evening: VARIABLE: Evening activities range from night capture of loons and related research to presentations and discussions, entering data, and free time for relaxation.
   
Accommodations: Port Sulpher Field Station
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Service Learning Project: Loons and the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill
(Friday, January 18)

Note: study loons



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast typically includes choices such as oatmeal, cereal, eggs, pancakes, toast, fruit. We'll also pack lunches for later.
 Morning: DAY PREP: We'll go over the day's objectives.

FIELD TRIP: Depart for one of two boat launches. Teams will take a boat out and spend 6-8 hours on the water, where we will gather data on habitat use, daily and seasonal movements and behavior.

 Lunch: We'll have the lunches we prepared this morning.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP continues.
 Dinner: Dinners may include pasta, rice, tortillas, seafood, meat, vegetables, fruit (depending on seasonal availability).
 Evening: VARIABLE: Evening activities range from night capture of loons and related research to presentations and discussions, entering data, and free time for relaxation.
   
Accommodations: Port Sulpher Field Station
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Free Time Opportunities
 
  New Orleans, Louisiana ATTRACTIONS AND EXCURSIONS
Aquarium of the Americas
Audubon Institute Insectarium
Audubon Zoo
Cafe du Monde
Free Ferry
Flea Market
French Market
Glassworks School
IMAX Theater
Mardi Gras World
Natchez Steamboat
St. Charles Streetcar
  HISTORIC HOMES
Beauregard-Keyes House
Faulkner House
Gallier House
Ursuline Convent
  MUSEUM AND EXHIBITS
Louisiana State Museum (closed on Monday)
Confederate Museum
New Orleans Museum of Art and Sculpture Garden
Musee Conti (Wax Museum)
St. Louis Cathedral
Voodoo Museum
World War II Museum
Ogden Museum of Southern Art
  NIGHTCLUBS AND MUSIC
Gazebo (daily jazz outdoors)
House of Blues
Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville
Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop
Maison Bourbon
Market Café (daily jazz outdoors)
Mid City Lanes Rock n Bowl
Mulate's (Cajun Dancing)
Palm Court Jazz Café
Pat O' Briens'
Patout's Cajun Corner
Preservation Hall
Tipitina's
Snug Harbor
Spotted Cat
  PERFORMING ARTS
Contemporary Arts Center
Le Petit Theatre
Mahalia Jackson Perfoming Arts Center
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

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