State Conference

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November 2020

Session Two

Thriving in the “New Normal”: How COVID has changed the face of litter and how we engage with volunteers.

Tuesday, November 109:00am to 10:30am CST

Perhaps you remember LSU Professor, Mark Benefield from KLB’s conference when he shared his research mapping plastic trash in the Gulf of Mexico. Benefield is back to discuss his most recent project. In May, he launched a global research project to map the amount and types of personal protective equipment (PPE) litter due to the COVID pandemic.

The health and safety of our volunteers has always been a priority, but never more so than now. Learn how two local groups pivoted to meet the ever changing logistical challenges of organizing community improvement projects during a pandemic.


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Mark BenfieldProfessor, Dept. of Oceanography and Coastal Science at LSU
Mark leads a team of researchers examining microplastic flux from the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico and its environmental impact on coastal food webs. Most recently, his work using a drone to map plastic trash on barrier islands was recognized by the National Geographic Society when his team was selected as a finalist in the data visualization part of the Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge.

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Aundi BrownCoordinator, Ouachita Green
Aundi leads the efforts of Ouachita Green, an organization made up of three Keep America Beautiful affiliates in Ouachita Parish, Monroe, and West Monroe. Aundi has spent the last 12 years diligently working in the recycling industry, and previously served on the board of the Louisiana Recycling Coalition. She has spent the last 2.5 years serving as President of Keep West Monroe Beautiful, and a board member for Ouachita Green. She has enjoyed working on many beautification efforts, America Recycles Day & Household Hazardous Waste events. She was also honored to serve on the team for the Blue Star Memorial Gardens Project in West Monroe.

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Katy DupreExecutive Director, Parish Proud
Katy is a Lafayette native who spent 10 years away working in New Orleans, Chicago, and Montana before returning home 2 years ago, moved by the desire to get involved in finding ways to improve the community she calls home. She has more than 10 years of experience working in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, most recently as the program director for the Lafayette Engagement and Research Network initiative at CGI. Her background includes a wide variety of work at the intersection of community organizing, government policy development, economic development, and data science.

2020 Virtual Conference