Champions by Year
On October 31, 2011, at age 76, Milton Cambre launched the second phase of construction on Wetland Watchers Park, a 26-acre preserve on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. Initially developed in 1997 as a site for environmental and conservation education, “Milton’s Park” was in demand for available resources and as it continued to grow, it became clear that additional facilities were necessary. A second classroom with a viewing tower is now under construction, along with a fishing pier, canoe launch and additional boardwalk hiking paths. Once an eroding section of the Lake Pontchartrain shoreline, the revitalized area is now a premier outdoor laboratory where students learn by experiencing the wonders of our unique environment.
Wetland Watchers Park was created out of the LaBranche Wetlands, a 12,000-acre tract protected in no small part through Milton’s advocacy. A reluctant activist, Milton only fought for wetlands preservation because it simply made sense. Milton grew up on the banks of the Mississippi River, and he recognized our waterways as a vital source of life. Concerned over rapid urban expansion, Milton spread the word to local residents that coastal erosion and uncontrolled development could threaten their very livelihood. Local fisheries, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts understood Milton’s message, and St. Charles Parish soon became a model for balancing responsible growth and environmental protection.
Life experience has taught Milton Cambre that it’s not enough to simply appreciate things we hold dear; it’s our obligation to nurture and protect them as well. As St. Charles Parish constable since 1988, for him protection is second nature. But to protect and nurture the land, we must all recognize and embrace our individual responsibility. For each student that visits Wetland Watchers Park and learns something of their place in nature, Milton Cambre has sown another seed of hope for our future.
Milton Cambre… Peoples Health Champion