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New nonprofit aims to advance and support Poverty Point Historic Site

Kate Archer Kent

Representatives from UNESCO will make site visits this summer to Poverty Point, an archeological site in northeast Louisiana where mammoth earthen mounds were erected some 3,000 years ago. Poverty Point was nominated this year to become a World Heritage Site. That’s one reason why a new nonprofit organization has formed to support its preservation and promote its scientific merit. Gary Stringer, professor emeritus of geology at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, will serve as the first president of the recently-incorporated Advocates for Poverty Point.

“There are only a limited number of archeological sites in the United States -- you can count them on one hand. To be in that group would be tremendous. We want to make sure that people recognize that and we support the work and the preservation of Poverty Point," Stringer said.

In the United States, there are only 21 World Heritage Sites. None is in Louisiana. The committee will reveal next summer whether Poverty Point makes the list. This was the only site nominated by the U.S. this year. Stringer thinks that singular backing will work in favor of Poverty Point.

“Our case is very strong. The preservation of the site, how secure the site it is -- all these types of regulations and parameters that all go into World Heritage Sites -- Poverty Point has them," Stringer said.

The Advocates for Poverty Point is holding its first fundraiser on June 19 called "Rounds for Mounds" at Black Bear Golf Course in Delhi. Stringer said the Office of State Parks has helped the new nonprofit organize the charity event. His organization is also launching a wide reaching membership drive. He said people the world over care about Poverty Point -- it's not just a local attraction. That's precisely what he hopes the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization decides.