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From storm drain to the Gulf: Science teacher canoes Louisiana's waterways

Jon Soul.jpg

A Shreveport science teacher will spend spring break canoeing 150 miles -- from Simmesport, La., to the Atchafalaya Bay -- to raise awareness about the state’s waterways. This is the third leg of a nearly 400-mile journey that began in a Shreveport storm drain one year ago. Jon Soul has created the Bayou to Bay educational program to help young people become more appreciative of the watersheds around them.

"The first two trips, I just was in awe so much of the time of what’s downstream of us, and knew that I was going to want to bring this back to share that we’ve got to know that it is so beautiful downstream," Soul said.

The canoe is outfitted with three GoPro cameras that have logged every paddle of Soul's journey. In the end, he’ll have all the footage to create a time-lapsed video that will show in a matter of minutes how water and uninvited litter travel from Shreveport storm drains to the Gulf of Mexico. Soul said his expeditions have been marred by all the trash he's seen along the waterways.

“Now, knowing where that is going, and having been there, it keeps me motivated in both a good sense, and it puts a pit in my stomach," he said.

Soul’s Bayou to Bay project will be highlighted in a send-off party Saturday, March 23, at Betty Virginia Park in Shreveport from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Presenters will have stations devoted to protecting and enjoying local waterways. Soul will drop-in Sunday, March 24, at Simmesport, which is near the end of the Red River and the beginning of the Atchafalaya River. He said the paddle could take about six days.