Keeping you connected to Palmetto Island State Park!
I am very proud to present a summary of Friends of Palmetto Island’s 2016 accomplishments in support of Palmetto Island State Park.
Friends collectively volunteered over 8,485 hours in support of Palmetto Island State Park. As they have each year, 2 very dedicated volunteers continued the task of mowing ALL the grass in the park. We donated the majority of our time conducting programs for patrons and fundraising, but we also manned stations for 2 Youth Wetlands Field Day programs held at the park and got to visit with the Vermilion Parish Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Group pointing out all that the park had to offer.
In 2016, we attracted 96 members. We connected 2,258+ people to the park and its programs through Facebook and we maintained an e-mail list of over 969 addresses. We continue to publish our 6th edition of the “Palmetto Pals” monthly newsletter. Friends also launched our new website www.friendsofpalmetto.org in September and had 11,983 visitors to our site.
A considerable amount of our effort is spent promoting events held at Palmetto Island both online and in nearby communities. We spent over $31,064 on advertising, promoting, creating special events and free programs for the park’s patrons. We were also happy to promote over 20 non-friends programs held at the park, including those hosted by Latanier Cookers, LSU’s Wetland Outreach and the Louisiana Bird Observatory. All of these programs were open to the public, hopefully increased park attendance and added variety and diversity for visitors. In an effort to enhance the quiet time of the park’s patrons, Friends created a book sharing program. We installed donated book shelves in the campground bath houses and have kept them full of a variety of books and magazines for all ages to enjoy.
Friends hosted 5 free programs at the park, some of these events had small fundraising components, but our intention was to attract patrons to the park by creating an event for them to enjoy. We were excited to realize that most of the programs that Friends and Latanier Cookers hosted at Palmetto Island resulted in the campground being * sold out. Friends partnered with Vermilion Soil & Water Conservation District, LA Wildlife and Fisheries, LA Amphibian & Reptile Enthusiast and LA bird Observatory to host our 1st ‘Day of Conservation’. Over 50 people visited the conservation stations and learned more about how important Palmetto Island is to the plants and animals who call it home. We hosted our 3rd annual *Cracklin Cooking Demonstration & Tasting. 15 locals demonstrated their personal technics on cooking and allowed over 1,000 visitors to sample their cracklins, wings, sweet potatoes, beignets and more. The 6th annual *Halloween Celebration was a success attracting over 2,000 people to the campground to ‘tricked and treated’. Participants like created choreographed dances and the costumes were GREAT! By hosting our 6th annual Chamber Networking Luncheon at the park, we were able to visit with over 40 people from the local business community and show off the park’s amenities and share upcoming programs. 50 Friends & Latanier members and volunteers attended our end of the year appreciation social.
Throughout the year Friends is happy and proud to work closely with the LA Dutch Oven Society’s Latanier Cookers. Friends partnered with this group as they hosted 2 large events in 2016. (Latanier Cookers, the local chapter of the Louisiana Dutch Oven Society, was instrumental in attracting over 3000 guests to the gatherings held at Palmetto Island throughout 2016. This group hosted 12 ‘Dutch Oven Gatherings’ at Palmetto Island, at which 320 cooks volunteered over 1300 hours conducting these programs and put over 420 pots of food prepared in Dutch ovens on the table for patrons to sample.) In May, Latanier Cookers hosted the *LA Dutch Oven Society’s Annual State Gathering at Palmetto Island. Dutch Oven chapters from across the state gathered at the park for 4 days. The main event was held on Saturday and open to the public. This event attracted over 500 visitors to the gathering. Friends volunteered for many portions of this ‘long weekend’ and provided lunch and beverages for the Saturday portion of the event. In November, Friends volunteered and supplied the main meal of 5 pigs cooked in Cajun microwaves for Latanier’s 4th annual *‘Cochon de Liat’ Dutch Oven Gathering which attracted over 500 visitors.
In 2016, we successfully attracted over $46,938. Friends organized 3 onsite fundraisers. We served over 1000 plate lunches of BBQ Pork steaks. We hosted the 6th annual *Stir the Pot Seafood and Wild game Festival attracting approximately 1100 people to the one day event. 40 people packed into the meeting room to enjoy fun ‘Painting at the Park’ class. Friends traveled to Abbeville and promoted the park and sold sandwiches at the Abbeville Farmer’s Market. Throughout the year and at different events we sold park t-shirts and hats and collected memberships and donations. With the support of the camp hosts, Friends conducted the recycling program at the park from January until it was suspended in May, keeping 6103+ gallons of aluminum cans out of the local landfill. Please note that over 21,813+ gallons of aluminum were kept out of the local landfill since this program began in April 2013.
Friends was able to contribute in kind donations directly to Palmetto Island State Park that valued over $20,180. Please note the list below:
Friends was also successful in attracting outside in-kind donations valued at over $41,869. These donations enhanced the park and our programs. The 2 top valued donations were black topping a portion of the parking lot in the day use area courtesy of Glenn Lege Construction and Louisiana Iris for entrance circle donated by Bois d’arc Gardens.
We hope you find that our support in 2016 to be beneficial, because we’re excited to continue to contribute in 2017.
Shannon Neveaux, President
Friends of Palmetto Island State Park, Inc.