News Release

2018 Project Front Yard Award Winners Announced
Posted: 10/9/2018 4:00 PM
 

IBERIABANK’s downtown Lafayette headquarters was the setting for the fifth annual Project Front Yard (PFY) Awards on Thursday evening, October 4.

Commemorating the five-year anniversary of its launch in 2014, the PFY awards highlight individuals and organizations working to improve the face of the community. As a part of their ongoing commitment to PFY’s mission, IBERIABANK partnered once again to celebrate honorees at the event. The awards are given annually to recognize individuals and organizations that beautify and clean up Lafayette’s physical landscape or inspire others to do the same through eco-education.

“I’m so proud of how far Project Front Yard has come in these first five years, and I’m even more proud of this year’s award recipients. They are the real heroes putting in the work today to make our community a better place tomorrow,” stated Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux.


The 2018 PFY honorees are:

  • Best Overall PFY Effort – Krewe of Rio – In 2018, this local Mardi Gras Krewe sought to reduce the normal waste and litter generated during their parade. Working in coordination with Project Front Yard, LCG’s Public Works Department and the Lafayette Police Department, the Krewe of Rio worked for more than three months planning and developing an initiative to do just that. On February 3, Krewe members and 25 Project Front Yard volunteers strategically staged and organized each float prior to the parade kickoff in order to recycle more than 4,600 pounds of cardboard and 400 pounds of plastic film. Additionally, the Krewe members collected 5,300 pounds of Mardi Gras beads which were donated to and repurposed by LARC. These efforts alone redirected approximately 85% of waste normally found at the start of the parade away from the landfill and into the recycling stream. The overall waste reduction and recycling work decreased the parade debris, which would have otherwise been landfill-bound, by about 24%. 

  • Best in Cleanliness – Ascension Episcopal School - For the past three years, this group of high school students has hosted quarterly volunteer events with Project Front Yard, such as litter cleanups to tree mulching projects. Committing almost 250 individual volunteers and more than 9,000 hours of volunteer service, AES’s volunteer contributions equate to a value of approximately $225,000 back to the community.

  • Best in Beautification – The Urban Naturalist – Marcus Descant - This business owner has developed and expanded his landscaping services, all while staying true to the mission of "healthier landscapes for families, communities, and ecosystems within the urban setting." His work, rooted in sustainability, is accomplished by sourcing regionally available products and employing local people. Descant also maintains a strong and appealing social media presence, which offers his followers interesting, sustainability-focused information such as free 
    educational events, and a multitude of planting social events.

  • Best in Education – 2017 & 2018 CGI Summer Interns - Building upon Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux’s efforts to introduce more smart city initiatives in 2017, local and regional college students created Gnome Nation, a web-based, community service and engagement portal that empowers citizens to lead litter removal efforts. The portal is Louisiana’s first beautification and litter cleanup application to bring concepts like gamification to the forefront of volunteer activation, and encourages everyday citizens to take an active role in community beautification. In 2018, a second group of student interns created the United Way Warehouse Application (now available in the App Store) which informs the community of needed disaster cleanup and recovery supplies in real time. This app aims to prevent wasted time, resources and materials and reduces the potential for excess materials that end up in landfills.
     
  • New Award Category – Mayor’s Citizen Action Award – UL Lafayette The Big Event Committee - Created in 2013 by the Student Leadership Council, this group wanted to see UL Lafayette students give back to the surrounding communities. For the past five years, The Big Event has engaged more than 12,000 UL students in volunteer service projects. In 2014, United Way of Acadiana coordinated with PFY and UL Lafayette The Big Event to launch the inaugural project. The partnership continues to be a success. To-date having recruited more than 12,000 volunteers working more than 48,000 hours, UL’s The Big Event has invested more than $1 million into the community.

During its five-year history PFY has recognized more than 20 individuals and organizations for projects ranging from Trash Bash and Debris Drop to Fix–it Cafe and Camp EcoSTEAM.

According to IBERIABANK Acadiana President Jerry Vascocu, “Project Front Yard and those who have driven it have been tremendous in improving Lafayette's appearance and environment. IBERIABANK has been a proud sponsor of this effort since it began, and it was a privilege to host the awards ceremony and highlight this year's winners. It is our hope that this program continues to grow and advance our landscape."

The idea of Project Front Yard continues to gain momentum beyond Lafayette Parish and has come to be recognized regionally as an initiative that showcases the collective beautification efforts of many. Since its inception, PFY has been adopted in Acadia, Iberia, St. Martin, Vermilion and St. Mary Parishes and the City of Scott, and has been recognized by Keep Louisiana Beautiful, the Louisiana Municipal Association and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.

Launched as a community beautification and cleanliness initiative of the Lafayette Mayor-President’s office, through the years PFY has played both a lead and support role in organizing thousands of volunteers, facilitating dozens of beautification projects and eliminating tens of thousands of pounds of litter through cleanup events both on land and on waterways.

Visit www.projectfrontyard.com to view photos from the 2018 PFY Awards and visit https://gnomenation.lafayettela.gov/ to join PFY Awards projects and learn how to get involved.

Taking the lead from more than 40 action items in Lafayette’s Comprehensive Plan, PFY’s mission is to build awareness and stimulate improvement of the face of the community. Initiatives under PFY include revitalization of gateways, improved streetscapes, litter removal and prevention, public art, river cleanup, and education.