Sankofa to open 40 acre wetland park in the lower 9th ward

NEW ORLEANS -- Now that spring has sprung, one way to soak in all of the warmth and nature is to visit a local park, am I right?

One park in the lower 9th ward is making a name for itself with its mission to improve conservation and relieve drainage infrastructure in the community.

I'm talking about the Sankofa Wetland Park where you can find a group of students working this week to help restore the land to its former glory.

"We've got some wonderful volunteers from Pace University in New York, and they are helping us plant some palms that are going to sort of be embracing the entrance to the park," Tricia Leblanc, director of the Sankofa Wetland Park and Nature Trail.

Located off of Florida Avenue, two acres have already been landscaped for Sankofa's project which will take 40 acres of land and transform it into a place for both people and wildlife to enjoy.

"We have a hidden treasure here. Some of my friends, and also my great grand kids, we come out here and we just have a good time. My great grandchildren observe the birds and the water and it's beautiful out here," Marlene Pete, the tour guide and community health ambassador.

Nearby are several greenhouses filled with trees and other vegetation that will soon be planted in the park.

"We want to create, first of all, a green infrastructure project that allows for storm water storage for the community that is adjacent to the park so that it alleviates storm water issues when there's heavy rains and storms. Then, in addition, we want to create a natural space for the community to come and enjoy and see the wildlife out here," says Tricia.

Sankofa is working with ecologists from Southeastern University and they've partnered with the National Park Service to help out on the park plan.

They are also looking for community input as they expand the park to 40 acres.

For more information, click here.

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